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Yemen's drangon blood island:

One of the world's most remote, magnificent and unique islands, offering the opportunity to experience strange landscapes and a fascinating culture in their natural habitat.

Over the centuries explorers and seafarers returned from the Indian Ocean isles with bizarre tales – of trees yielding dragon’s blood and cucumbers, forest of frankincense, and towering pinnacles in the mist.


Now a fuller picture has emerged of Soqotra: the semi-desert island, portraying a rich and unique flora and fauna with over a third of plants found nowhere else in the world, a diverse landscape of plateau, plain and mountain, all safeguarded by a people living sustainably in a challenging environment.

Soqotra lies in the Indian Ocean between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa being located some 240km east of Cap Guardafui (Somalia) and some 380km south of Ras Fartak (mainland Yemen). 

It is one of the most bothanically diverse island groups in the world. That is why it has been nicknamed “the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”. But the landscape is also unique. It has the sand dunes of Namibia, the blue waters of the Caribbean, and the spiky mountains of Lesotho… all found on one island! The culture, people, myths and legends of Soqotra add to the island’s unique and magical appeal.

Location: Off mainland Yemen, during 8 days

As we arrived on the weekly flight from Abu Dhabi, eager to explore Socotra's otherworldly beauty, we were warmly welcomed by the locals in the small capital town, Hadibou. Our journey began with at drive into the interior of the island on the vast Diksam Plateau and the Haggeher mountains, the highest mountain chain on the island. Here, we encounter the Dracaena Cinnabari, known as the Dragon's Blood tree and visit local villages.

We then head back to the northern coast, driving east and passing small villages, pristine beaches, and peculiar plant life. We camp around Arher for a few days, where we witness dramatic sand dunes rising against sheer rock faces. We enjoy the unspoiled beach, climb the massive dunes, and camp under the starry sky. While in Arther, we hike to Homhil, a protected nature park area with many Dragon's Blood trees and a stunning natural pool, surrounded by unique flora, offers a mesmerizing view of the turquoise ocean. We also embark on several other small hikes to the mountain ridges, providing a bird's-eye view of Socotra's shorelines, and we visit fishermen villages around Ras Errisel for a glimpse into local life.

Next, passing through the inland village of Hulaf, we move inland again to Wadi Kalissan, a hidden wonder known for its turquoise pools and waterfalls. After a hike, we enjoy swimming, diving, and climbing in this captivating natural playground. Again back on the northern coast, we explore the rich coral reefs of the Dihamri marine protected area, snorkeling among vibrant underwater flora and fauna. We also explore Qariyah lagoon and Qariyah village.

Again, we then move inland, this time along a different 4x4 track, past Delisha village and Sirhin village, to the Firmihin forest and the wast Wadi Dirhur. We explore both the top and bottom of this wadi. Afterwards, we descend to the southern coast where we reach the Nomak plain and base ourselves in a camp in Aomak. From here we explore caves, white sand dune seas, sandy beaches and small Socotri villages.

Finally, we head west towards the astonishing Detwah lagoon with its magical landscape and diverse marine life and the village of Qalansiya. We hike to the highest peak, do several boat trips to offshore cliffs and remote beaches and villages. In this remote and pristine part of Socotra, we enjoy swimming and feasting on fresh seafood, cherishing the last sunset on the endless sandbank.

Our journey through Socotra's ethereal landscapes, from stunning sand dunes to turquoise pools, captivating forests, and pristine beaches, was nothing short of extraordinary. The memories we've made and the experiences we've shared on this remote island will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Farewell, Socotra, until we meet again!


For more exotic adventures in the Indian Ocean islands check our travels to Mozambique's islands, La Réunion, the Seychelles, and the Maldives. Or if you more of the mainland Arabian Peninsula or nearby Somalia, check our our pages on the Persian Gulf region, Saudi Arabia or Somalia. 



Selected pics from our 4x4 jeep adventures across this island:

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