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Hiking and trekking

You really haven’t seen Socotra  if you haven’t experienced all the landscapes of the island, from beaches to canyons, natural pools and mountains. They all are so accessible and often effortless to hike  not requiring training or practice.

Paths should be carefully chosen as some tracks may be more difficult, or many involve high altitudes trekking and climbing: it is generally advisable to be accompanied by a local guide. On Socotra there are no marked walking trails: guides from local villages are hired to lead you on paths visible only to them. The fees for such guiding services go to the guide’s village to support the whole community. Most of the services provided by local villagers are based on the benefit sharing principle.

Socotra island offers breathtaking trekking routes especially in  the  mountain region of Tinnera, Skand, Higgher, Dixsam plateau and Firmhin. For more adventure skilled people climbing is also possible in the areas of Mushnik, Hagghier and Arher. You can choose different routes depending on your strength. Socotra Dream Tours offers guided treks crossing the island trough canyons and mountains: they last from 3 to 5days or longer. If you are not such a kind of walker, you can go for easy one/two hours hikes to Homhil, Momi, Hoq cave, Ayhaft canyon and many other beautiful spots.

Just to have a rough idea of possilbe routes, some exemples are listed:

  • Skand peak and return to ecocampsite (6 hours) difficult
  • Skand ecocampsite – wadi Ayhaft (whole day) difficult
  • Hadibo – wadi Ayhaft (3 hours) easy
  • Deneghen – south (5 days) with camels difficult
  • Amak – Deneghen (5 days) ) with camels difficult
  • Deneghen – Momi (5 days) with camels easy,
  • Deneghen – Skand – Firmhin – Dirhor Canyon (3 days) with camels difficult, big differences in altitude
  • Hoq cave (3 hours incl. visit to the cave) easy
  • wadi Shifa – Homhil (1 hour) easy
  • Klison – Matyaf (4 hours) medium

If you prefer not to walk on your own feet, you can hire camels so, called “ships of the desert” (see “Camel riding“). The camel will carry your luggage so that you can fully enjoy beautiful landscapes and views.

TREKKING DIFFICULTY LEVELS: the maximum elevation reached on the island is less than 2,000 metres

Low level: this refers to hikes where the ascents and descents are gentle and involve five hours or less of walking in any given day. Virtually anyone can handle these hikes.

Moderate level: this involves ascents and descents that are relatively steep (ascents or descents of around 600 metres in a single day’s walking), and the trails reach a maximum altitude of 1,600 metres. These hikes can involve up to 7 hours of walking in a single day, and anyone of moderate fitness – people who are used to aerobic exercises, and aren’t obese – can handle these treks.

Hard level: these treks  involve steep ascents or descents, or walking on particularly tough terrains (scrambling on boulders or jagged karst rocks, crossing rivers, and so on) – and  7 hour or more of walking in a single day. Prior trekking experience – and/or exercises – is needed to tackle these treks. Karst rock mountains and caves are suitable also for climbing, but you need to bring your safety equippment since here we do not use any.