We are proud to announce this Horn of Africa-Middle East combo in collaboration with Young Pioneer Tours, from the Yemeni island of Socotra to Somaliland! Join us for a truly off the beaten track experience one of the planet’s least visited destinations –Somaliland and one of the most unique islands on the planet – Socotra.
We begin in the Yemeni island of Socotra. Suffering civil war, coups, revolutions, not to mention bombings in recent years, the country of Yemen is generally off the radar for tourists. Unless that is you know about the island of Socotra.
Located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean, Socotra is an ecological wonder of the world. Almost alien looking landforms sit above beautiful beaches, and the archipelago is home to a diverse and often unique flora and fauna.
Whether it’s coming to a new and hard to get to country, or exploring an ecological paradise, that you are interested in, Socotra is the place.
Next we head to the former British protectorate and self-declared republic of Somaliland. This de-facto state declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991; however, no international organization has recognized its sovereignty.
Still recovering from a brutal civil war, today the area is very safe and the local people are extremely welcoming and interested in foreign visitors. Somaliland is fundamentally different from the other countries in the region — and almost anywhere else on the planet. We’ll take you to smoke shisha with the locals, swim in untouched waters and visit ancient cave art!
**£2365 | £2650 with flights from Hargeisa to Salalah via Dubai between tours**
** All photos in this tour : Copyright © Young Pioneer Tours **
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Sunday 6th May
Own arrival in the Southern Omani city of Salalah; the starting point of our cruise to Socotra Island
Meeting at our central hotel at a time to be confirmed
Head out for our first look at this port city and then dinner of local Omani food, before heading to the Oasis Club for a few drinks.
Overnight in Salalah
Monday 7th May
After breakfast we head for the old town and check out the Haffa souq local market and the beach
Lunch at the Ba’albek café for Lebanese food
Free afternoon to explore the Sultanate’s second city and stock up on provisions for the boat ride
We board our very own YPT charter ship at 6pm for the overnight sailing to Socotra.
Dinner on board but pack your own drinks!
Tuesday 8th May
9am arrival at Socotra and transfer to Adeeb’s eco-lodge in Hadibo to check in, relax, recuperate and have lunch.
After lunch we head to Ayhaft Canyon National Park. Hike in the park and swim in the freshwater pools. The park is renowned for it’s vegetation and birdlife
Drive to Delisha beach. Go for another swim in either the sea or the freshwater lagoon
Climb the huge sand dune overlooking the beach and watch the sunset over Delisha
Dinner and overnight at the Adeeb’s Eco-lodge
Wednesday 9th May
After an early breakfast, drive to the northeast of Socotra and explore the Dihammri Marine Protected Area
Dihammri is famous for snorkelling and has the best coral reef in Socotra. We’ll spend the morning diving or for those less keen on the water checking out the beach (diving equipment available to hire)
Lunch on the beach
Drive to Terbak village
Hike up the hillside then explore Hoq Cave (4 hour hike). Hoq is over 3000 metres deep and is the site of many archaeological findings in Socotra that date back nearly 2000 years.
Drive to Ras Erisel, the eastern point of the island where the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meet. Known as a ship graveyard to the locals many wrecks are sunk in the ocean here.
Climb the Arher sand dune for a panorama of the area and to watch the sunset
Dinner and overnight camp at Arher campsite
Thursday 10th May
Set off after breakfast for a drive through the canyons of Defarhu Valley to the southern coast of Socotra.
Stop off in traditional villages for a look at rural life in Socotra
Drive to Hayf and Zahek villages which stand in the shadow of enormous sand dunes, before heading to Omak beach on the Indian Ocean
Swim, sunbathe or relax on the beach, or hike up to Digub Cave and explore it’s stalactites and stalagmites
Drive up to Dixam plateau (700 metres) to the Shebahon viewpoint for a spectacular view and a look at the Dragon’s Blood Tree – the quintessential example of endemic local fauna on Socotra
Dinner and overnight camping will be at the Wadi Dirhur campsite
Friday 11th May
Up bright and early to explore the western part of the island. Our first stop will be Qalansiya, a small traditional fishing town. From there we will hop on a boat and head to Shuaab
The boat ride is fun in and of itself, but we’ll try and spot spinner dolphins that regularly follow the boats!
Arrive in Shuaab and swim at the beach before we explore the mangrove swamp just behind it
Lunch in Shuaab
Get the boat back to Qalansiya and check out the Detwah lagoon, another place famed for its landscape and wildlife
Dinner and overnight camp at Detwah Lagoon Protected area
Saturday 12th May – Departure
After breakfast we have a free morning to enjoy the beach before we transfer to Socotra seaport and grab lunch.
Check out the visitor centre in Hadibo and grab provisions for the boat
Early evening sailing on our YPT charter boat and overnight on the boat
Sunday 13th May
Arrival in Salalah
Free afternoon for some much needed R&R at our hotel
Head out for an Indian in Salalah before heading back for drinks at the hotel
Overnight in Salalah
Monday 14th May
Check out and catch our 10am flight to Dubai
Transfer to our hotel in Dubai where you have free time to stock up on some supplies before heading for the Horn of Africa
We head back to the airport at 1.30am to catch our flight out to Hargeisa
Tuesday 15th May
Early morning arrival in Hargeisa where we are met at the airport by our guides who will transfer us to our hotel downtown
Get some much needed rest before meeting up that evening for our first Somali group dinner
Dinner at a newly opened and popular Syrian restaurant run by refugees from Damascus. We’ll have a chance to chat with them and hear how they find life in Somaliland.
After dinner you can walk around the bustling city center in Hargeisa, and have some chai with the friendly locals or do some shopping for t-shirts and flags for Independence Day.
Wednesday 16th May
Visit the two hills called Naaso Hablood (“Girl’s Breasts”) also known as Hargeisa’s landmark. On the way we visit the cemetery for British Soldiers who died here battling against the Italians during the Second World War. Hargeisa is the former capital of British Somaliland, while Italy controlled what is now Somalia.
We will have lunch at a Somali-Yemeni restaurant with some Somalilander intellectual icons who will give us the political, social, historical and cultural introduction of the country.
We will then take a walking tour around the city center of Hargeisa to get a sense of the people and the city. Here you will see street money exchangers and their “chunk” of bills, the central market, and the MiG Jet fighter War Memorial which stands for the atrocities committed by the dictator during the Civil War. The War Memorial is in the middle of the buzzing centrum and a great place for a coffee and chat with Somalilanders about politics and history.
Visit to the busy market in downtown Hargeisa for some evening shopping and people watching.
Dinner and a night out to hang around with Somalilander people.
Thursday 17th May
After breakfast a visit to the livestock market where you can purchase your own camel or goat! For those who can’t fit a camel in their luggage, this market will provide great photo opportunity and a chance to see how the locals do business.
Afternoon visit to Laas Geel, the most important rock art site in Africa. These caves contain some of the oldest cave paintings on the horn of Africa; the vibrant colors and well preserved paintings are estimated to be around ten thousand years old.
Make the 60km drive back to Hargeisa and spend the evening at your leisure.
Friday 18th May – Independence Day!
We’ll get up nice and early for a quick breakfast before hitting the streets to observe the military and civilians’ parades. Everyone will be dressed in the national colors on the street, and this is one of the only places on earth to take part in an independence day in an unrecognized country!
After lunch and a short break, we will visit ex-child-soldiers’ house, who now are successful investors and entrepreneurs. We will listen to their stories with some Somali tea and chaat, the local drug, and have a chance to ask them some questions about their experiences.
After sunset, we will hit the main drag of Harnett street for a huge party!
We will have traditional dinner accompanied by traditional music and dance – the night will finish very late with all of the celebrations taking place. Feel free to wear national costume!
Saturday 19th May
We will head to the most important port of Somaliland, Berbera. Upon our arrival, we will visit historical Ottoman Mosque and Ottoman houses.
Late lunch will be served at the Ottoman houses, and we will relax a bit (it will be VERY hot).
Short boat trip to see the ship wrecks in the Gulf of Aden.
We will relax and swim at untouched beach, where local youth and families come and enjoy their down time. (Due to local culture, ladies will need to cover their body while in water.)
Tour the historic town of Berbera in early evening, where you will find more Ottoman, Persian, and British architecture of historic interest. This will be a great chance for some amazing photographs.
We will have fresh seafood at the waterfront for dinner.
Sunday 20th May
After breakfast, we will have a short free time in Barbera.
We head to the Berbera Airport to see one of the longest runways in Africa. It was built by the USSR in the 70s and used by The USA as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle..
We’ll drive to the small town of Sheikh in the mountains, have tea, and walk around and enjoy the pleasant climate.
We’ll make the drive back to Hargeisa, followed by dinner and a night at the arcade and bowling center, sheesha lounge, and girls’ basketball and boys’ football matches.
Monday 21st May
End of Somaliland tour. Airport transfers provided
Continue on our Eritrea tour if you’re hungry for more!
Socotra Price inclusive of :
•Ferry between Salalah and Socotra retun
•Entry fees in the protected areas; Dihammri, Rosh, Homhil, Omak, Detwah Lagoon, Shuaab & Skand.
•Accommodation Fees: hotels, tourist resorts, eco-lodges, camping in protected areas.
•Camping equipment (like tent, pillow, mattress, sheets, mat, lights etc.)
•Cooking equipment and cook as well.
Socotra Price exclusive of :
•International flights to and from Salalah
•Visa fee (€50)
Somaliland Price inclusive of :
•All Transport (unless otherwise stated)
•Some local tours (unless otherwise stated)
Somaliland Price exclusive of :
•Visa Fees (Somaliland 100 USD, subject to change)
•Flight from Socotra – Somaliland (€300, subject to fluctuation)
•Local guide tips