Swimming in Arher beach and trekking to Hoq caves in Socotra

23 and 24 February 2014

The trip to Socotra continues to the north-east coast of the island, along the shores of the Arabian Sea, where large sand dunes are formed by the action of strong summer monsoon winds. Arher beach and Ras Ersel offer the opportunity to swim and to have long hikes along the beach. Nearby, with a trek of few hours, you will discover a huge cave full of stalactites and stalagmites, not affected my mass tourism.

The trip to Socotra continues along the north-eastern coast of the island, on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

 

Zygophyllum album
In the immediate vicinity of the beaches, and often even on the sand, there are numerous succulent plants classified as Zygophyllum album (pictured left) and other low bushes, such as that on the right-picture.

 

Sea anemone
An anemone covers a rock remained exposed during the low tide.

 

Ras Ersal Ras Ersel
Ras Ersal beach The north-eastern corner of Socotra offers one of the most beautiful deserted beaches of the island: Ras Ersal, where visitors can either swim or have relaxing hikes along the endless stretch of sand.

 

The Ras Ersal beach in Socotra is home to many crabs building their nests in the sand.

 

Socotra Ras Ersel beach
Pictures of the immense Ras Ersel beach in Socotra, which is dominated by uninterrupted kilometers of fine sand.

 

Footprints on the sand
And on the immense beach ... only my footprints!

 

Arher Sand dune
The area of ​​Arher in Socotra offers, in addition to some beaches, huge dunes that are created by the violent monsoon winds blowing during much of the summer on the island and piling up the sand along the sides of these mountains.

 

Arher dunes
Dune Socotra
Pictures of sand dunes in Socotra along Arher beach.

 

Other pictures of Arher in Socotra and its sand dunes.
Arher in Socotra

 

A fairly easy trek, which lasts about an hour and a half, I discover the Hoq caves, which are located on the wall of the cliff in the distance.

 

Trek in Socotra
The path to the caves of Hoq in Socotra crosses landscapes dominated by many endemic plants and beautiful landscapes.

 

Hanging tree
The hanging tree.

 

Finally, I reach the entrance to Hoq caves.

 

Socotra Stalactites and stalagmites
Stalactites Hoq in Socotra
The Hoq cave is located on remote Socotra island and there are very few tourists getting so far, thus the cave is still in its very natural state, without the annoying colored lamps that often illuminate other caves affected by mass tourism. Here you will feel as an explorer, breaking the total darkness only with your personal flashlight.

 

Hoq Hoq caves
Hoq cave Stalactite
Stalagmite The trek inside Hoq lasts quite a while, as the cave is really huge, with stalactites and stalagmites everywhere.

 

Caves in Socotra
After about 20 minutes of walking in the total darkness broken only by my own torch, I reach a small lake whose waters reflec a large stalagmite. There weren't other tourists during my visit to Hoq caves, but I was accompained by two guides.

 

Absolute darkness
Turning off the flashlight, this is what you see in all directions: the absolute darkness that we probably have forgotten because of the strong light pollution of our planet.

 

Some macros formations that "grow" in the cave of Hoq in Socotra.

 

Then, I trek back to the place where the car is waiting.

 

Arher beach After the long trek to Hoq caves, a relaxing swim along a beautiful deserted beach is exactly what you may look for.
Beach in Socotra
Deserted beach

 

Arher in Socotra
A sand dune viewed from Arher beach in Socotra.

 

I take advantage of the drop in temperature at the approach of dusk, to climb a sand dune and have a beautiful view from the top of Arher and the surrounding sea.

 

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