Socotra Archipelago

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Socotra Archipelago, photo by Rod Waddington
Socotra Archipelago (photo by Rod Waddington)
 

Socotra includes a main island and three smaller islands located in the Indian Ocean near the “horn” of Somalia, an offshore territory of Yemen.

The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a result of its remarkable biodiversity, with over a third of the local plant species found nowhere else.

The interior of the island is dominated by the beautiful and green Hagghier mountains and limestone plateau.

The marine life of Socotra is diverse and scenic, with 253 species of reef-building corals, 730 species of coastal fish and 300 species of crab, lobster and shrimp.

The Island is new to tourism and infrastructure remains basic, but has much to attract the outdoors-oriented and adventurous.

 

NOTE: The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Yemen because of the high security threat level posed by ongoing conflict and terrorist activities.  The level of instability and ongoing threats, including the threat of kidnapping, in Yemen is severe. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition initiated an air campaign in support of the exiled Yemeni government. While a nationwide cessation of hostilities has largely held since April 10, pockets of violence persist and the country remains deeply insecure.  Periodic armed conflict and shelling continues in certain areas across the country. There are reports of land mines being placed in areas vacated by withdrawing forces. The military conflict has also significantly damaged infrastructure, limiting the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care, and causing travel by internal roads to be dangerous. This instability often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water.

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Overall Atmosphere: Natural
A Natural Atmosphere includes a diverse range of destinations with outdoor-oriented features, including both water-based (beaches, rivers, lakes, etc) and land-based (mountains, forests, deserts, etc). It also includes specific outdoor activities, ranging from water adventuring (eg, kayaking, sailing) to land adventuring (eg, hiking, biking).

Natural Interests tend to be:
(a) outdoors-oriented, and therefore more dependent on weather conditions
(b) less easily accessible and more physically demanding than other destination categories.

In some cases (eg, rafting and climbing), this includes a significantly increased degree of adventure (or danger, depending on one's viewpoint).
Featuring mainly outdoors-oriented natural attractions.
 
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Highlighted Interests:

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Natural
Beaches
Socotra is filled with beaches located throughout its islands. Among the more popular are Shouab, Qalansia, Arher, Noget, and Amaq.

The most popular lodging is actually camping on the beaches. There are several campsites that allow tourists to barbeque on the beach with beautiful mountain views in the background.
Snorkeling
Socotra is home to substantial coral reefs. One of the best spots is Shouab beach, a half-day boat tour that takes visitors to white sand beaches with clear water. Among the hundreds of species of fish and marine life are barracudas, monkfish, dolphins, and rays.

Diving tours are also possible to arrange.
Hiking and Trekking
Among the most popular areas of hiking are Scant, Tinnera, Firmihin, Dersmotin regions. These can be done on one’s own or with guide. Hiking provides access to some of Socotra’s interesting backcountry features:

Hoq Cave. A volcanic cave known for its variety of crystal decorations.

Wadis and fresh water pools. These include Homhil and Wadi Dirhir.
Other Interests:
Natural
Unusual Local Feature
Diving
Ocean Wildlife
Scenic Waterways
Caves
Wildlife and Plants

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