Botanical journey
"Exploration of the island of Socotra"
Socotra Island - Yemen

Reference number : SV200301

Destination : Socotra Island (Yemen)
Departure place : Paris (France)
Duration : 18 days 

The Indian "dvipa sukhatara" ("the island of happiness"), the Greek Dioscoride, located at less than 250 km from the Horn of Africa and some thousand kilometers from Aden, the old capital of South Yemen. The island has the shape of a stretched crescent and has a length of 130 km and a width of 40 km. Mountainous, it culminates at 1,500 meters above sea level, and is exposed to two monsoons. The island doesn't have safe anchorage places and is often difficult to reach.

Its position places Socotra on the Arabian dhows routes, from the South Arabic coasts to East Africa and South India ; positioned at such a crossroads, it was subject to varied cultural influences, from India as well as from Africa.

The island population, whose cos
mopolitan character had already struck the ancient travellers, cou
nts ca. twenty thousands inhabitants : Arabs, Indians, Somalis, ...


Age-old refuge of the world strangest plants, on the 850 plants species listed on Socotra, nearly a third are unique. Many of these endemic species are the remains of old floras which have disappeared on the African continent, a long time ago. Due to this singular vegetation, the island of Socotra is the tenth richest island in the world with regard to the endemic plants species, according to the World Conservation Center.



Detailed journey

Day 1 : Paris - Sana'a
Take off in the evening with Yemen Airways.
CDG1 Airport. - Night flight - 
Day 2 : Sana'a
Landing in Sana'a in the early morning. Transfer to the capital.
Visit of Sana
'a, discovery of its unique architectural style, and its picturesque Bazaars.
Visit of the National Museum which exposes a beautiful collection of art and archaeology.
Overnight at the hotel in Sana'
Day 3 : Sana'a - Taiz - Aden
Departure in the morning to Taiz, the city of the south. Crossing of the mountainous area of green Yemen. Fields of "qat" and coffee cultures alternate with the mountainous landscapes of South Arabia. Crossing of several villages with their typically local architecture, which give a good idea of the art to build in Yemen.
Arrival at Ta
iz in the afternoon. Stop in the Taiz Bazaars, before carrying on our route to Aden. Arrival in the late afternoon. (transportation will be done in a 4WD Toyota - 4 passengers per car).
Overnight at the hotel in
Aden .
Day 4 : Aden - Socotra (domestic flight)
Departure on domestic flight : Aden-Socotra : 11am - 1.45 pm

The Island of Socotra is located more than 1,000 km south-east of Aden and 250 km off Guardafui Cape in Somalia. The island (3,580 sq. km) only had 15,000 inhabitants at the beginning of 1990, living from fishing and pearls searching. Because of the dryness, agriculture is limited to dates and condiments productions.
Isolated for a long time, the lack of substructures (few dhows and the landing strip is very recent), as well as the few interest expressed by the land authorities, maintained this isolation. Today, and more recently, a airline regular service of Yemenia has been establishes between mainland and island.
However, the interest for the island is obvious, historically, ethnologically and ecologically, the flora is exceptional, one discovers there, tropical plants and trees with surprising proportions and forms.
The infrastructures are modest, except a "small funduk" (kind of inn with few comfort), in Hadiboh, the capital city, everywhere else, we can only rely on our camping gear (imported tents and gear from France).
Overnight at Hadiboh in "funduk".

Day 5 : The big island - Hadiboh - Ras Habek
Exploration of the settings which contain an exceptional flora, and amazing landscapes, dominating an emerald sea. Discovery of the specific island forest : the adenium obesum sokotranum, "the desert rose", flourishes here, Dracaena, as well as Aloe, can be seen amongst the rocks. 
Return to
Hadiboh - Overnight in the "funduk".
Day 6, 7 & 8 : Hadiboh - Ras Hawlaf - Hammadiroh - Ras Badressa
3 days exploration to the east side of the island.
Some fishermen villages reflect the austere way of life of the island inhabitants. These inhabitants still speak the "Mahri", language coming from South Arabia related to the language of Sheba, and live from sea products. The waters around Socotra contains some of richest fish stocks in the Indian Ocean. Today, several Japanese ships get supplies in Socotra, which makes it possible to the inhabitants to improve their living condition.
3 bivouac overnights, under tent. 
Day 9 & 10 : Ras Momi - Wadi Mayahan - Hadiboh
Inland expedition in the middle of the island. Some oasis villages, but especially the "boswalia" (incense tree) stand out the way.
Overnight at
Hadiboh in "funduk".
Day 11 : Hadiboh - Jebel Haggieh - Dexam
The Jebel Haggieh dominates the island, and culminates at 1,500 meters above sea level. The cliffs are wooded and at the top, we discover the renowned dorstenia gigas "the Socotra fig tree", an amazing tree which grows on the rock faces.
Possibility to ascent the Rughid Mount
We go along the granitic coast with splendid vegetable setting, then junction towards the central table-lands, to reach tops with amazing points of view.
Around 1,000 meters above sea level, we will discover Dracaena Cinnabari (the tree of the dragon), Aloe, Caralluma, still the Adenium Obesum, and many other endemic species.
Overnight in camp-site in altitude.

Day 12 & 13 : Dexam - Qalansiyah

By leaving the limestone table-land and the dracaena forests, we use a trail which takes us to the west of the island, towards the village of Qalansiyah, its white sand beach and its lagoon. The place is remarkable and the bay is sheltered from the winds and the waves of the Ocean.
On the journey, we will still discover Adenium Obesum forests, but also Dendrosicyos Socotrana "the cucumber tree", the only tree of the cucurbitaceous specie. The Boswalia essence "the incence tree" and the myrrh tree "Commiphora" grow in this area.
Bivouac overnight on the beach.


Day 14 : Qalansiyah - Hadiboh

Back to Hadiboh during the day, and settling down in the "funduk".
Possibility to meet the persons in charge of the local office of the Department of Environment in Hadiboh.
Overnight at the "funduk" of Hadiboh.

Day 15 : Hadiboh - Sana'a (domestic flight : 2pm - 4.45pm)
Back to the capital by plane.
Arrival in the late afternoon. 
Overnight in hotels and "funduk".
Day 16 : Sana'a - Amran - Hajjah
Trip north of the capital, to discover the exceptional Yemenite architecture : perched villages at the top of steep peaks. The mountains sides are carved in thousands terraces, where "qat" and coffee-trees are grown. From Amran to Khohlan and Hajjah, only perched villages or citadels, with an amazing architecture.
Hotel overnight in Hajjah.
Day 17 : Hajjah - Sana'a and its surroundings
Back to Sana'a, the capital, passing through At-Tawilah, Thula and Wadi Dhar.
Possibility to visit again the bazaars and the old town of Sana'a for shopping or a last glance.
Dining in a typical downtown restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel. 
Day 18 : Sana'a - Paris
Take-off to Paris in the morning, with YEMENIA -
Arrival at Paris in the late afternoon.



Note : This journey is escorted by an experienced botanist, and assisted by a guide of our agency.

Notice : The above route is only given as an indication, it could be modified according to the requirements met on the spot.
e full journey price was calculated in March 2003 - on basis of air transportation tariffs and local services into force. Any modification of these data would involve modifications of the journey price.



Dates of the journey : from 17 October to 3 November 2003
Next departure : from Friday 19th to Monday 29th March 2004.

Number of participants

Min. 8, max. 12 persons + guide Paris-Paris

Price per person(basis 8 to 12 participants)
* 18 days package : 3,250 Euro (ca. 3,540 USD / 2,255 GBP / 4,995 CHF / 4,960 CAD)

* Exchange rates from 27/08/2003 

The journey
Paris - Sana'a: Scheduled flight with Yemen Airways : departure on Friday in the evening, arrival Saturday in the early morning - Return flight on Monday, day flight.
Domestic flights : from Aden to Socotra, return to Sana'a
2 days in the mountainous area of "Happy Arabia", in the north of Sana'a.
Camping gears and all support services provided by Sindbad.
Registration and booking policy :
The registration form must reach us as soon as possible with a check deposit of 30% of the full price.
The balance must be paid 30 days before departure.

Caution : Our prices are calculated on the basis of negotiated accommodation and air transportation tariffs, as on the exchange rates and the various taxes into force.
Significant modifications of these basis can involve a price review.



Package includes : Not included in the price :
  • International flights : Paris - Sana'a - Paris on a scheduled carrier, in economic class. 
  • Domestic flights : Aden/or Sana'a - Socotra - return ticket.
  • Lodging in hotels in the stages mentioned on the program (comfortable in Sana'a, Aden and Taiz), in modest "Funduk" with sometimes scant comfort everywhere else.
  • Supply of camping gear : tent igloo style 2 pax, camping mattress/or foam mattress (according to the baggage weight authorized for the domestic flights), kitchen utensils and various materials needed for such an adventure trip.
  • Full board during the stay : downtown restaurants or en route. During the expedition on Socotra, the meals will be cook by our local team, including fresh local products, but also imported products from France or products purchased in Sana'a.
  • Local and administrative permits to visit Socotra
  • Transportation on the spot : Transfers Sana'a - Aden - Sana'a, North tour with 4WD and local drivers.
  • All airport taxes for international and domestic flights.
  • Abandonment policy, repatriation and baggage insurances (If you have a personal insurance which covers you for these risks, please give us the insurance company details and insurance policy number). 
  • Yemen visa costs (if you want that we organize your visa for you, please add 45.76 € /per passport).
  • Beverages and personal expenses.



Journey offered by : Sindbab Voyages

Information & Booking :


50, rue Servan

75011 Paris


Tel.:+ 33 (0)1 43 38 19 94
Fax: + 33 (0)1 43 38 93 56

Website : 



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