How is a trip to Socotra and how is a typical day as tourist?
In this travelogue from Socotra we learned lot of things offered by the island, dominated by deserted beaches and mountains where we can find endemic flowers not found in other parts of the world. But how is travelling in Socotra? How do you move around and where do you sleep? On this page you will find some useful information, including a note on the garbage that is threatening the unspoiled nature of Socotra.
The main roads in Socotra are all paved, making travel on the small island fast enough and comfortable. The roads that instead penetrate in protected areas or in the most rugged areas, are generally unpaved, but still safe for a Toyota 4x4.
The Toyota 4x4 during a picture stop under a Boswellia socotrana
. Since this trip to Socotra was organized on my specific request and I was the only one in the group, it was easy enough to stop all the time that I needed to take pictures or just to enjoy the plants and the landscape.
A very welcome picnic in the shade of a beautiful Dracena cinnabari
. During the day it was scheduled a breakfast in the morning, a lunch in mid-day and a dinner in the evening.
This lunch stop was instead made into a cool cave.
The dinner prepared with a field kitchen, fed just by wood.
This is instead a more elaborate lunch break, with a tasty and very welcome tomato sauce.
Another lunch break (left picture) and breakfast (right pictures) in Homhil.
It often happens that the local guides invite you to their home to enjoy a nice cup of tea or other specialties such as the delicious dates.
For my trip to Socotra I chose to stay mostly in tents, in order to have more freedom of movement and less time restrictions, without the need to have to search for a camping (or go back to Hadibo) each evening.
Depending on the location, you can sleep into more protected shelters (obviously if available), or in a tent outside, or for those who wish, it's also possible to sleep under the stars.
The most well-equipped campsites are available mainly in the vicinity of the capital Hadibo (this is located at the beach of Deleisha) and may be possibly included in the itinerary, maybe to take advantage of electricity or to enjoy some added comfort after several days in a tent.
Another well-equipped camping in the immediate vicinity of Hadibo.
If you prefer not to sleep in a tent or camping throughout the tour in Socotra, you may go back each night to the capital Hadibo and stay in an hotel, because the distances on the island are short. However, by doing so, you may lose the most intimate contact with the environment and you will waste some time in the car anyway. Moreover, the hotels in the dusty and chaotic Hadibo are quite far to be really nice and comfortable, making them usually sutiable just for the first and last day on the island.
The treks in Socotra are relatively easy and do not require special techniques. However, the paths do not undergo regular maintenance and sometimes they just does not exist. For this reason, you need good legs letting to move easily over rough ground or between large boulders.
In order to wash, the best option is to use the natural pools in various parts of the island. I do not know, at the time of writing this travelogue, if there are particular risks for the health and anyway, even any water used for showers at the shelters, comes from these pools without any particular treatment.
The bathroom at the shelter in Homhill, complete with a shower. In many other cases, the bathroom is just outside behind the bush.
How to recharge the batteries without the availability of electricity? Simple: before coming to Socotra I have purchased a small inverter manufactured by Reporter, to be connected to the cigarette lighter of the car.
The only thing I didn't like about Socotra is the too many garbage found in so many places. The problem seems to be caused by some people, including locals and tourists not accompanied by guides, who do not remove the waste after eating out, but also to the local administration that doesn't seem to provide real waste disposal service. I therefore appeal everybody to please keep Socotra a clean place, letting future generations to still enjoy this unspoilt place, easily one of the most beautiful island on the planet.