Rocky Road Travel is a Berlin-based travel company that provides a gateway to some of the world’s least visited and misunderstood countries.

We specialise in trips to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Socotra, Mauritania, North Korea & Pakistan amongst others.

We are here to disrupt the status quo of typical travel experiences, break down cultural barriers, and challenge your perspective on the world.

Team Socotra!

To open the curtain and shed light on some of the world’s most stigmatized places. Places that are often described as dangerous and inaccessible, we will go beyond the rhetoric and show you the true side to these countries.

We do so by promoting a sustainable way of travelling. We have a climate positive workforce & only work with small local partners in each country. We are aiming to offset all carbon emissions to make our tours climate positive. See our partnership with Ecologi for more info.

We also support non-profits such as Women for Women International by pledging a percentage of our sales towards their life changing programs in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. 

Our tours are small groups that start and finish in the same country and are always run by both local and foreign English-speaking guides.

Our dates are chosen with specific events in mind so that you’re sure to be in the country during the best time of the year.

We only offer destinations that we have personally conducted research trips. All tours are tried and tested.

All itineraries are designed with safety as a priority as well as an emphasis on genuine local interaction. Every tour is a guaranteed departure.

Be bold, be adventurous. Don’t just see the world, experience it.

Shane Horan, founder of Rocky Road Travel receiving the pin of North Korean leaders
Shane Horan in Pyongyang, North Korea
Shane DMZ

Shane Horan

Tour Leader & Founder
Irish born Shane has over 10 years experience in the travel industry and has specialized in lesser visited destinations for half of that time. He holds a MA in International Relations with a focus on so-called "rogue states". He has led tours into North Korea over 30 times gaining incredible access to the country over that time. He is also a widely published photographer and blogger. 

Balin Zrar

Tour Manager - Kurdistan
Meet Balin, our man on the ground in Kurdistan. Born and raised in Erbil, Balin grew up with a deep love and appreciation for the region's natural beauty, fascinating history, and diverse cultural traditions. For over a decade, Balin has been leading groups of travellers on unforgettable tours throughout Kurdistan. Today, he is one of the most respected and sought-after tour guides in the region, having guided the New York Times, BBC and many other major media outlets. He's well known for his engaging personality, extensive knowledge, and unwavering commitment to providing clients with unforgettable experiences.
Lana O’Sullivan

Lana O'Sullivan

Tour Leader & Content Creator
Lana is a freelance writer and tour leader based in Berlin, Germany. She and founder Shane became good friends after working together in China while leading many tours to North Korea together. These days, Lana can be found writing for several publications, trying to improve her Arabic, as well as leading tours to some of the world's more unusual destinations with Rocky Road Travel. Catch her in Iraq, Syria and Socotra!

Katie MacLeod

Tour Leader
Katie is a backpacker turned digital nomad with a passion for outdoor adventures and international travel. Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Katie quit the security of her 9-to-5 job in London to embrace a nomadic lifestyle, freelancing from many different countries across the globe. From the smaller adventures in her self-converted van to more significant international journeys to faraway destinations, becoming a tour leader was a natural progression since she joined our group trip to Iraqi Kurdistan in 2021.

Samed Abbad

Tour Manager - Socotra
Samed is a unique tour guide hailing from stunning Socotra Island. He also doubles as the island's air traffic controller so you can be sure he'll meet you as soon as you land! His expertise in aviation has also given him a unique perspective on the island's geography and landscapes, making him an exceptional guide. As a tour manager, Samed is passionate about sharing the natural beauty and culture of his beloved Socotra Island with travelers from all over the world. His deep knowledge of the island's history, flora and fauna, and local customs, combined with his infectious personality, make him a valuable asset and highly sought-after guide.
Matty Dyas

Matty Dyas

Tour Leader
Originally from St Helens in the North West of England, Matty Dyas has lived all over the world with stints in Thailand, Haiti, Spain and Slovakia. In 2019 he decided to make the most of his love of travel and become a Tour Leader. From those early days taking groups to places like Transnistria and Chernobyl, Matty realised that nothing makes him happier than helping people get a glimpse of often overlooked and misunderstood destinations which has ultimately led him to being a leader with Rocky Road Travel. Although dubbed the 4th best Tour Leader in the world by Wanderlust magazine back in 2021, he doesn't let those kind of titles define him and rarely brings it up in conversation.
Bjorn in Pakistan

Jørn Bjørn Augestad

Tour Leader
Jørn Bjørn Augestad, also known as Bjorn or Vagabjorn online, is the youngest Norwegian to have visited every UN country in the World, and has been leading tours for Rocky Road Travel since 2022. In addition to being a tour leader, Bjorn is also a 2x published author, 2x TEDx speaker and has spent the majority of his last twelve years on the road. He boasts about being able to eat two litres of ice cream in twenty minutes and always packs a hammock in his backpack. At the ripe old age of 33, you could easily believe he is the Scandinavian version of Benjamin Button.

Hussein Rasheed

Tour Manager - Iraq
Growing up in Babylon, Iraq, Hussein developed a deep appreciation for the rich cultural heritage and fascinating history of his homeland. Despite his relative newness to the tour guiding world, Hussein is already making waves with his fun-loving spirit and infectious energy. If you're looking for a tour guide who truly loves what he does and is passionate about sharing his country with others, Hussein is the perfect choice.

Rohullah Bahonar

Tour Manager - Afghanistan
Meet Rohullah, our eyes and ears on the ground in Afghanistan. With a deep love for his homeland, Rohullah is dedicated to providing visitors with unforgettable experiences while maintaining a cool and calm presence - an essential trait for today's Afghanistan. From ancient sites to vibrant cities, he offers an authentic and insightful exploration of Afghanistan's rich history and diverse culture. See it for yourself with Rohullah as your guide.

Khalid Osman

Tour Manager - Somalia
Khalid's love for his native Somaliland is evident in every aspect of his work. From exploring ancient archaeological sites to sipping traditional tea with foreigners & locals alike, Khalid is always eager to share the wonders of this unique breakaway region with visitors from around the world. As a seasoned guide, he knows how to craft the perfect itinerary to showcase the best of Somalia. His deep understanding of the region's history, culture, and natural beauty makes him an invaluable resource for travellers looking to explore this unspoiled corner of the world.
Rocky Road Travel
Based on 159 reviews
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Cymbie LumbaoCymbie Lumbao
12:48 04 Jan 24
Just recently finished a tour of Iraq. Ahmed and his team took very good care of us. We saw so many sites for such a short period of time. Highly recommend Rocky Road we felt safe and well taken care of.
Fred DahmFred Dahm
12:40 04 Jan 24
Our tour exceeded our expectations! Ahmed and his team were great, highly recommend Rocky Road!
Marco ChanMarco Chan
03:47 16 Dec 23
Went with two other friends on an eight-day tour of Socotra, with Matty as our guide, and Samed as the lead local partner. Highly recommend and would love to consider Rocky Road for a future trip. From start to end, Shane, the owner/founder, and his team were responsive to our questions via email and WhatsApp, even fixing a minor visa hiccup of our own (accidental) making. We left on the trip well informed on the itinerary and packing. On the ground, Matty was skilled in balancing creating a warm group experience with giving everyone the space to move at their own pace/mood. He provided an unassuming but notable social "glue" that made our group of eight gel. Samed did a great job of providing local context and knowledge, and led a team of cooks and drivers who were hospitable and diligent. There was no point on the trip when I was left wanting of anything. The team paid attention to details, down to re-arranging plans on the fly to find overnight spots away from other groups (not always easy on a small island of limited infrastrucuture), as well as some very sweet birthday celebrations for travelers. Thanks for leading us through a spectacular and awe-inspiring corner of the planet!
Just visited Socotra with Rocky Road Travel. It's been such an unique and exceptional experience; not only because of the captivating landscape but the tour guides and crew in general.There was nothing to worry about as it was perfectly organized, to the point we almost felt like we had the entire island to ourselves.
Adam HeffezAdam Heffez
13:57 07 Dec 23
The Rocky Road and the local Socotran team made my trip one of, if not the most, memorable experiences I've ever had. Not only is Socotra full of beauty you would never think you would encounter on this Earth, but Rocky Road delivered an unforgettable experience in all regards. The logistics were seamless from end to end, the itinerary was thoughtfully designed to avoid crowds and maximize our experience, and the local staff (from drivers to cooks to assistants) were attentive beyond expectation and even became friends. The trip leader not only ensured we got the most out of our experience but also thoughtfully created a community among us. As for Socotra itself, it's indescribably beautiful, intriguingly varied, and very safe. This was my first time trying Rocky Road, and I will undoubtedly be a repeat customer for one, if not several, of their other unique adventures.
Farhad YusufaliFarhad Yusufali
23:31 05 Dec 23
Had one of the most magical weeks of my life in Socotra thanks to Rocky Road Travel! They were super accommodating and did absolutely everything they could to make sure I had a blast.
Tanja RothTanja Roth
16:14 05 Dec 23
The Socotra tour with Rocky Road Travel exceeded my expectations, providing a seamless experience from start to finish. All helpful information has been shared in advance and during the trip at any time requested. Flawless organization, knowledgeable local guides, and attention to detail made the trip truly exceptional. Highly recommended for an adventurous and enriching travel experience. Future tours with Rocky Road definitely made it on my bucket list 🙂
Alexia MalierAlexia Malier
15:45 05 Dec 23
I had a really nice tour with Lana and our local guide Rafat in Socotra Island ! It was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed my trip there and I strongly recommend it.Alexia (France)
Caroline FletcherCaroline Fletcher
13:45 01 Dec 23
Excellent trip to Socotra. Top marks to tour leader Matty Dyas who took care and interest in every member of group and to the local crew of "I love Socotra " for their care, great driving on non existing roads and most of all amazing food throughout!A wonderful experience on a beautiful island. Much surpassed my expectations - Well done to Shane and Rocky Road !
I did the Mauritania tour and everything was great. I had an amazing experience and met lovely people.
Dario CastaldoDario Castaldo
15:37 13 Nov 23
Sascha MarethSascha Mareth
13:38 13 Nov 23
Amazing well organized tour.I did the Mauritania package and was very happy with RockyRoad Travel. Communication upfront was very good - my tailored requests have been considered and fulfilled (with a fair pricing: had a.o. one additional night in the beginning, but split of at the end - and instead of extra charge this was simply balanced out - thx for that again) and with the local guides and general organization I felt very well.If time and destination matches, I definitely will come back to RockyRoad since my personal experience was really great with them.
Ingrida NIngrida N
14:49 27 Oct 23
I recently had the opportunity to visit Syria with Rocky Road Travel. Syria is known for its rich history and culture, warm and welcoming local people, and an abundance of tasty and diverse local cuisine. My journey through this beautiful country was unforgettable. Highly recommend!
Matjaž GeršičMatjaž Geršič
08:47 23 Oct 23
A great travel experience. I highly recommend choosing Rocky Road Travel for your travels in Syria. I will definitely travel with them again. The tour guide Katie was great, as was the local tour guide and driver. Everything went smoothly.
Kevin SenzigKevin Senzig
15:57 22 Oct 23
I visited Syria with Rocky Road this past week and had a great time. This was my first time traveling with a tour group and it was an amazing experience. Shane is very helpful in answering any questions I had about the tour before I left and he was even able to arrange a solo-excursion to Bosra for me. The tour guides were very knowledgeable about the various locations we visited and made sure that the group stayed together and involved. I look forward to the next trip with Rocky Road.
Teresa RuppTeresa Rupp
10:50 20 Oct 23
I recently went on the Basra to Erbil tour of Iraq with Rocky Road Travel. Coincidentally, our tour concluded the same week that fresh hostilities broke out in Israel and Palestine. Seeing how much the response to these events by world leaders, the media, and in general rhetoric has been strongly reminiscent of the world post 9/11 & through the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has underscored for me the importance of experiencing a place firsthand.There is probably no region other than the Middle East with a starker contrast between western perceptions & government actions, and the culture & history of the people who live there. Even though I have spent the better part of 15 years studying and traveling to the Middle East, I never would have expected to experience the incredibly rich mix of ancient Mesopotamian history, modern history, and vibrant & welcoming culture that we found in Iraq. RRT ran a great itinerary to showcase all of these things.Tour operators such as Rocky Road, that provide access to uncommon destinations and empower local guides to share their passion for their homelands, provide a valuable service that more people should take advantage of. I look forward to traveling again with RRT very soon.
10:11 19 Oct 23
Just finished my Syrian tour with Rocky Road; the timing wasn't the best with the problems in the middle east right now ! BUT I must say ,Shane , the owner was very supportive and I felt perfectly safe with his team , Ayoub the boss in Syria, Akel the local tour guide and Katie the " Aussie tour guide " ; I am not a big fan of tour groups , having travelled by myself to 100 countries but with Rocky Road the numbers are small and easy to manage; I was so impressed that I booked another tour with them , to IRAQ in February !!!!Thanks Shane , keep up the good work !Hansfrom Cairns, Australia
Had a wonderful trip with Rocky Road last week! A whole lot of places to see, history to learn and people to meet. Wish the trip was longer, but every trip have to end at one point :)Thank you to Katie (international leader), Akel (local guide) and the group for a good and safe trip!!
Michel L.Michel L.
15:41 18 Oct 23
Excellent trip with a great group of likeminded people and great tourguides.
Irmante SungailaiteIrmante Sungailaite
08:18 11 Oct 23
Phenomenal travel company with ethical morals and mission! The itineraries for Syria, Iraq and Kurdistan are very informative, adventurous and positively impactful for both travellers and local communities. The guides are professional, insightful and inspiring, and the clientele attracted by RRT are very well travelled, responsible and curious people that are pure pleasure to be around with. Highly recommended!
Rebecca KingRebecca King
16:36 26 Sep 23
I have been on two Rocky Road adventures this year, Iraq and Syria. Both trips were absolutely amazing. They were very well organised with outstanding guides who were full of knowledge. I recommend Rocky Road 100% to anyone with a sense of adventure.
Julia Darabi FarJulia Darabi Far
12:47 03 Sep 23
I travelled to Syria with Rocky Road Travel in August 2023. I had an amazing time, made lovely new friends and visited a lot of fascinating places.During my time in Syria I absolutely fell in love with the culture, the warm-hearted people and the diversity of this country.Our accommodations were super stunning and the food was some of the best I ever had. A highlight was that we visited the Marmarita Carnival, which was really unique and very atmospheric.Our guides Bjørn and Bashar were super friendly, had a lot of knowledge and always made sure we had the best experience possible.They were also very flexible so that individual wishes could be fulfilled.The communication in advance was very pleasant and I always got a fast reply.I couldn’t imagine a better trip and I’m very very happy that I went with Rocky Road Travel. I’m sure I’ll be back on another trip with them. 🙂
Howard MoherHoward Moher
09:10 29 Aug 23
Fascinating, insightful, varied and informative tour with great bunch of explorers. Syrian’s were warm and welcoming and are blessed with a vast historical legacy covering thousands of years.
David SmythDavid Smyth
16:12 18 Jun 23
Fantastic communication from the start. Highly recommended if you want to travel safely to the lesser known parts of the world.
Apokryph HistoryApokryph History
18:17 10 Jun 23
Amazing experience with a top local guide. You’re able to see and experience different parts of Syria with its history, culture, food and day to day life in a beautiful country. I felt completely safe at all times and it was an unforgettable experience. Rock Road Travel was excellent.
Bill JonesBill Jones
16:28 03 Jun 23
annette bartlettannette bartlett
06:17 02 Jun 23
Just fantastic! Every place I’d long dreamed of seeing, every experience included. A wonderful, friendly and hospitable country with expert guiding from the Rocky Road team. Delicious food throughout with the best shawarma ever to be had in Damascus. Highly recommended to anyone with an adventurous spirit
13:39 31 May 23
Great tour company, knowledgeable guides, fun tour leaders. Enjoyed my first tour ever, happy to choose this company (^_^)
Jervenne OngJervenne Ong
14:33 30 May 23
I went on a 7 days Syria tour with RockyRoad. I dont do tours usually, but this is the kind of tours that is for travellers who dont like tours. I had my most amazing time in Syria, definitely super underrated and eye-opening as you will experience lots of things that the media dont show. The tour also included a comfortable minibus, some nights in a 5 star hotel in Damascus, and hammam. Our group got to experience helping out at an NGO, partying with locals in a Syrian winery, hitting some bars and had lots of delicious food! Our group was led by Lana and a local guide Bashar!As for the booking process, Shane was very quick to respond with our queries and visa was easily settled with them. Highly recommend hitting RockyRoadTravel up!
13:50 05 Apr 23
I went to Iraq with Rocky Road Travel in 2022, and again to Socotra in 2023. Both trips are amazing! I really enjoyed the history and culture in Iraq and the natural scenery in Socotra. Tbh, if Shane hadn’t told me about Socotra when we were in Iraq, I would miss such gem. The itinerary covers everything that I want to see and even offers more surprises. Highly recommended!
Hugo BernardHugo Bernard
05:44 28 Mar 23
I travelled with Rocky Road both in Syria and Iraq, and it was two incredible experiences!Every question was answered prior to the tour, and once it starts, you’re in for an action-packed adventure!The small size of the groups allows everyone to be integrated, and every need is taken care of.Local guides, drivers and accommodations are of great quality, and the itinerary is well-thought out.I absolutely loved my experience with Rocky Road and hope to go on another tour soon…
Russel LowRussel Low
06:16 27 Feb 23
I joined Rocky Road Travel (“RRT”) for the spring tour to Socotra 2023 and I am glad I did. Shane is super responsive from the outset and is able to answer all my questions based on his own experiences in Socotra. The advantage of using RRT over a local operator is the fact that they know what RRT type travellers are looking for and hence, they will work with a local team on the ground to meet those expectations. I have seen what local operators offer and it seems to cater to the more average tourist. The whole process prior to the trip and on the trip itself was seamless. The local team provided excellent support especially with the logistics and with the food to ensure a very comfortable experience. The food was excellent and very fresh. Iced water, canned drinks and copious amounts of tea were provided for throughout the 8 days. Socotra is exactly how you see it in photos, raw, untouched and beautiful. It’s people are exceptionally friendly especially the kids and the place feels very safe. I highly recommend a visit there with RRT. I look forward to future trips with them.
Aoife QuinnAoife Quinn
12:04 05 Jan 23
I've just returned from a trip to Syria with Rocky Road and honestly could not recommend this company more highly. Shane was great with communication when booking the trip and the tour itself was incredible.We stayed at hotels that had clearly been carefully selected in terms of location and authenticity, and every detail of the tour had been well thought out with comfort and security in mind. Syria itself is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but our guide Rami was professional, thoughtful and able to bring a lot of fun to the experience.If you're looking for an authentic travel experience that's a bit off the beaten track, but still want to feel safe and in good hands, this is 100% the company to use. Our tour ended 3 days ago and I'm already hoping to book my next one!
A lifetime experience, totally worth it. I would like to highlight Shane’s willingness and openness to speak several times before my trip to Syria. Everything went as agreed and planned. I highly recommend Rocky Road Travel and their local team, including guide and drivers. Many thanks!
Thiago BragaThiago Braga
14:48 12 Jun 22
Shane organized a 7 days private tour to Syria on May. Its impressive how everything was so well organized. The guide that was chosen was great and explained a lot about the history. Definitely worth the visit and recommend going with Rocky Road.
Kiana CiceroKiana Cicero
08:11 27 May 22
Shane and Rocky Road were amazing to work with! We booked two tours through them - Syria and Kurdistan and everything was better than we could have asked for.Shane was very responsive, helpful and professional while the local tour guides were amazing. They were knowledgeable, entertaining, and helpful the whole way through.Would definitely recommend Rocky Road for any of the off the beaten path tours as they took a lot of the stress away from travelling here!
Kok Shee MunKok Shee Mun
14:36 22 May 22
My husband and I just came back recently from a private tour in Socotra booked with Shane and it was 1 of the best trips we've undertaken! Being the outdoor enthusiasts that we are, Socotra was just amazing.Pre trip admin was a hassle free process and Shane was nothing but friendly, professional and prompt to respond to all our queries. The Socotra FAQ and packing list provided was also very helpful. We also appreciate that Rocky Rock strives to be eco-friendly and sustainable in it's practices.During the trip, we were very well taken care of by our wonderful crew. Our guide Adnan was especially knowledgeable, and he made our trip so much more enriching and insightful with his sharing about the island, people, culture, flora and fauna. His extensive network also meant that we had access to places that other tour groups didn't seem to have ie. chilling out with the locals at their hideouts, and spending a night at a local's home when wind was too strong to set up camp etc, while being warmly received by the hosts and sharing a community meal with them.The beauty of some of the wild pristine places on the island is just unparalleled, and made all the more special when we had the places to just ourselves most of the time! From stunning beaches with clear blue waters, to breathtaking vista of a valley filled with Dragon blood trees, and swimming in a pool in a canyon, seeing the resident pod of dolphins in action and snorkeling and seeing a wide variety of sea creatures just offshore, everyday in Socotra was an adventure.Will strongly recommend a trip to Socotra with Rocky Road for those up for a dose of sun, sand, sea and nature and with an adventurous spirit!
Vytautė SeinauskaitėVytautė Seinauskaitė
19:12 21 May 22
I had incredible tour in Iraq and Kurdistan with Rocky Road Travel.The guides were so autentical and genuise. Traveling with them opened so many doors to sites we otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.All tour people were so intresting. Now I have more friends.Shane made planning and booking the tour so easy.Already booked for my next trip.
Car CarCar Car
20:32 09 May 22
I spent 6 days in Syria in May 2022.I have visited incredible places, met nice people and eaten incredible food. ?Shane and Ayoub have organized everything perfectly and my guide, Shamel, was the real added-value of the tour, always kind and giving interesting insights.I strongly recommend Rocky Road Travel!
Kate MaherKate Maher
06:21 27 Apr 22
Travelled to Socotra with Rocky Road travel and had an amazing trip! Had to change flights and Shane was so accommodating. I had lots of questions before the trip and he answered them with ease, and always replied promptly. Highly recommend them for your next adventure! Already looking up other trips to do with Rocky Road!
Timo LiuTimo Liu
09:23 22 Apr 22
Great tour to Socotra! From Transit, food to tents everything was very well organized.Shane and the local guides were fun and professional.Over all very nice experience
Stefano BodelloStefano Bodello
09:14 22 Apr 22
Great once in a lifetime Socotra experience with Rocky Road Travel. Beautiful shore and sea excursion in the alien Socotra environment. The whole island is stunning and the organization is perfect, good food and fun with people from all over the world!Stefano
Simon WongSimon Wong
18:17 13 Apr 22
Went on a wonderful Iraq tour with Shane. Coordination & logistics are essential for travelling in this part of the world, Shane and his team definitely did a splendid job. The guides are resourceful, react to unexpected situations with ease, all with a smile & loads of energy. Highly recommended for your next adventure to wherever Shane & his team can bring you.
Nafeesa KhanNafeesa Khan
15:53 13 Apr 22
An epic Iraq tour not to be missed! Action packed, all inclusive, giving you the historical, cultural, religious and everyday life experience in Iraq. This trip created memories beyond my imagination! Well done Rocky Road Travel!
Clare MaraistClare Maraist
17:43 28 Mar 22
Just returned from one of the most wonderful adventures through Iraq with Rocky Road Travel. Shane and his team make sure to not only show you the historic sights but also fabulously interweave experiences with the locals. I’ve been around a lot but this easily made my top 3 and that has almost all to do with Rocky Road. Thanks, Shane!
Benjamin JustinBenjamin Justin
07:23 26 Mar 22
Never being a person for tours but gave rockyroad for Syria a go, I was super worried about doing a tour in case I got stuck with a group I didn’t like or if the tour was bad in generalBut from day one of the tour everyone in the group became great mates and the flexibility of the tour from the guides was unbelievable. I had always heard the stories of “you can’t walk around Syria alone” but with Rockyroad if you want free time to go walk anywhere you want you have it and any time a person on the tour asked to see something that wasn’t in the tour the guides did their best to make it happenAbsolutely would recommend Rockyroad anyone wanting to do a off the beaten trail country!
Hans EichstetterHans Eichstetter
14:40 25 Mar 22
I have been on the March Syria tour. The group was wonderful, the experiences intense and the tour guide very professional. Highly recommended, Hans
Michelle ZammitMichelle Zammit
17:13 17 Mar 22
Travelled to Socotra with Rocky Road and practically everything about the tour exceeded my expectations. Fantastic organisation in a destination which is difficult to reach, but so rewarding. Highly recommended.
Pissed Off PixiePissed Off Pixie
09:33 03 Mar 22
We've just returned from our trip to Socotra with Rocky Road Travel. Needless to say that travel during the covid restrictions has been rather 'testing' as we needed to time everything to actually get on our flights to the island. Shane was extremely prompt with responding to my huge number of queries especially since our flights were 'up in the air' due to cancellations and offered a variety of solutions for a variety of scenarios. He made everything feel smooth and easy despite things on the ground being just the opposite.Socotra is an amazingly beautiful place. Our itinerary was brilliant, we had fantastic guides, fabulous food and a unique experience! The entire Rocky Road Travel team enhanced the trip by making it all run super smoothly and we have had such fun being able to enjoy the experience with our lovely fellow travellers and now have memories for a lifetime!This was our first trip with Rocky Road Travel and we will definitely be travelling with them again soon!
Lance GoddardLance Goddard
03:50 24 Jan 22
Our family of four did the full Iraq tour in December 2021/January 2022. The trip was fantastic, and since it was low season - we had most of the historic sites to ourselves! Shane customized the tour for us (we booked it as a private tour) and the additions were perfect. The itinerary was extensive and we had very full days that took in many historic sites, important religious shrines, and a nice taste of Iraqi culture. The hotels were better than expected (most were 3-4 star establishments) and wifi was readily available at all of them. Our guides were very good, and the sites were awesome. Favourite places? Uruk, Babylon, Ur, Hatra, Mosul, Acre...too many to list. What a great opportunity to see Iraq in the early days of its tourism industry! If historic sites are your interest, you cannot select a better destination. Rocky Road Travel/Shane arranged everything and was highly responsive to all of my questions ahead of time. Highly recommended!
Katie MacleodKatie Macleod
20:10 18 Jan 22
I'm so glad I chose Rocky Road to guide me through Iraqi Kurdistan! Shane's responses were spot-on; there were no stresses or concerns before the trip. Every part of the itinerary felt smooth and organised, from the airport pick-up to taking off. The best part?.. The local guide was a legend! I would not hesitate to recommend this trip, and any others that Rocky Road provide, to my friends, family and even strangers I haven't met yet. I hope to travel with them again! And as for Iraqi Kurdistan, what are you waiting for? It's beautiful out there!
Alex KostichAlex Kostich
18:58 05 Jan 22
I just returned from a 2-week trip throughout all of Iraq/Kurdistan (south and north, respectively) and I was so pleased with the entire nature of the tour, from guides to hotels to the variety of sights, ruins, shrines, restaurants, cafes, landscapes and museums we visited.I had heard great things about Rocky Road travel before, but had never used them for a trip of my own...but I am certainly intending to work with them again in planning future trips.Shane was always responsive and patient with my many questions and emails leading up to the trip, and answered them quickly with all the information I needed.An additional bonus was going from 3-star hotels to 4-star accommodations, a slight difference but one that can really impact your restful nights which are important (e.g. reliable power, consistent hot water in the showers, cleanliness, security). I would make sure to specify you would like the 4-star hotels if you're planning a trip to Iraq, it may not be a huge price increase and Shane will work with your budget to accommodate if possible.The guides in both Iraq and Kurdistan were terrific. Madhi and Balin were knowledgeable, patient, full of information and most importantly, well connected in making sure our journey ran smoothly and efficiently without incident (it helps to have well known guides when navigating the multiple checkpoints on the road, or having access to a museum which might be closed for a national holiday!).I am really pleased with the economy of the tour too--the overall quality and service (the experience altogether) seemed like a great 'bang for your buck' deal-and I have traveled extensively. Will definitely be going back to Rocky Road Travel and I appreciate their commitment to impactful travel too!
Carol McLeanCarol McLean
03:47 07 Dec 21
My Iraq trip was amazing, everything I hoped it would be and way more. It touched on the highlights, which for me where historical sites like Ur and Babylon. The Shanigar Cave was extraordinary. Kurdistan was a huge geographical surprise.As a solo female traveler I never felt unsafe, quite the opposite. I’ve never met kinder people. Iraqs were curious but respectful and genuinely happy to see a tourist. Security was everywhere with multiple checkpoints in both north and south Iraq but courteous and efficient.My guides were exceptional. The agenda was covered but they all added unexpected surprises, like a spontaneous picnic at the Euphrates.I would not have changed anything and can only encourage more people to visit.
Chip BeckChip Beck
00:50 17 Nov 21
Traveling with Rocky Road Travel was a blast doing their full Iraq tour! Shane is prompt and knowledgeable answering pre-trip questions and arranged amazing local guides. Traveling with them opened up so many doors to sites we otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. Already booked for my next trip!
Alison SherwenAlison Sherwen
19:54 16 Nov 21
I had an amazing week in Socotra with Rocky Road. Every day was a new adventure with a fun and diverse group of people. Highly recommend!!
Una CuffeUna Cuffe
20:35 13 Nov 21
I traveled to Iraq (southern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan) with Rocky Road Travel in Oct/Nov 2021. I had an amazing time and really felt it was one of those special once in a lifetime experiences.The trip booking process was easy and straight forward, with Shane available by email or WhatsApp. Payment was simple and all the necessary visa information etc was provided promptly.The local guides were incredible, warm and welcoming, knowledgeable and informative, and alot of fun. You never forget how someone makes you feel and the Iraqi and Kurdish people are what really make this a special experience. Their warm welcoming hospitality will make you want to return for more.The trip itinerary was well planned and covered alot of ground. There is a large variety of sites to see and experience and never too much of any one thing. It's a great mix.The accommodation was better than expected with clean modern hotels for the most part. The food is worth visiting for alone. Absolutely delicious ( I'm still dreaming of the chicken liver sandwich in Sulaymaniyah ?). The many tea houses we visited were beautiful and unique and always came just when we needed to rest and refresh.Overall I highly recommend Rocky Road Travel and will travel with them again. As for Iraq, it a beautiful and special place that will capture your heart.
Jeen LowJeen Low
10:33 05 Nov 21
I had an incredible time in Socotra with Rocky Road Travel. The guides were fantastic, great people, great conversations, and the fresh seafood was delicious- definitely the best camping food I have had! Shane made planning and booking the trip so easy. Our itinerary for the week went above and beyond my expectations, we were able to do and see everything, and more, while still having time to enjoy it all. I look forward to checking out their other tours!
Faye DiZarioFaye DiZario
11:29 29 Oct 21
If you like Popcorn and old coins, Socotra is the place. Everybody is happy to help with whatever weird request you have. Best peas for dinner I‘ve ever had. Tour leader is a bit sloppy with his sunglasses though and doesn’t really grasp the concept of time.Would highly recommend it all.
desmond knoxdesmond knox
12:38 10 Sep 21
Freewheeling grand tour of Southern Iraqi & Kurdistan. 27th Aug 8th September 2021.In a nutshell, if you want the best experience before it becomes more popular, a place in which you can still find, empty sights, together with amazing foods, ancient and modern history, remaining in tact. Iraqi has it covered. Its people make it special. You discover that only by going.Iraqi is a very relaxed and enjoyable must see location a discovery that is overlooked by the modern traveller, yet it was once a hot destination and you can see why after you arrive.Is Mesopotamia on your Radar. Do we come from a alien race? Have you a interest in a post conflict country, or ongoing one ? Does the name Saddam Hussain mean anything.Do you enjoy foods and not worried about the diet, be willing to try all that presents itself. How about a live visit to a wonderful Shia Mosques, followed by a motorised trip into the wildlife wet lands with the Mash Arabs. Eating bread & honey drinking tea as the sun rises.Had enough of the heat, how about heading North to the Mountains of the Kurd region. Here you find the ancient Yazidi religion together with Christianity still holding onto to its traditions.Mixing that up, you discovery cool lakes, with old and modern shopping experience. Dont overlook your local guide Balin who can complete the landscapes with his remarkable story matching it.Grand tour is possible just dont tell the others.
Aaron EverittAaron Everitt
12:13 21 Jun 21
I travelled with Rocky Road to Iraq in June 2021. The tour was fabulously organised, enjoyable and safe. All accommodation was comfortable and the itinerary was top notch. I’ve tried several independent travel companies and this ranks amongst the best.
Ginger HerrickGinger Herrick
21:55 13 Jun 21
Awesome tour of Southern Iraq with Rocky Road Travel! Great communication regarding the new visa on arrival. The itinerary was well planned including historic sites with knowledgeable local guides. I hope to do another trip with them soon.
Nasim FakhriNasim Fakhri
13:14 21 Apr 21
Great experience traveling throughout East Africa for 3 weeks. Shane was a great help in organizing this trip for me. Highly Recommend!
The best choice possible. Our trip to Somalia was great. Highly recommended!
michael dwanemichael dwane
17:06 05 Feb 21
Great service, everything worked out perfectly. I would definitely recommend for swift communication and helpful advice
Founder of Rocky Road Travel - Shane Horan. Pictured at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
North Korea
Rocky Road Travel begin their first trip to North Korea in June 2014. Shane Horan's visit took him inside the Northern line of the Demilitarized zone.
Performance at a school in Chongjin, visited on one of our North Hamgyong Tours
North Hamgyong
Regular trips to North Korea are followed up tours to the remote North Hamgyong province in the North East of the country. Rocky Road Travel become one of the first companies to offer regular tours of this lesser visited region.
Marsh Arab in Iraq
After having conducted multiple tours to Northern Iraqi Kurdistan since 2016, Rocky Road Travel conducted a highly successful research trip to Southern Iraq in March 2018. Regular tours to Baghdad & Beyond soon followed suit.
Meeting at the Yemen embassy in Oman to organise socotra tours
Rocky Road Travel founder Shane meets with officials at the embassy of Yemen in Muscat Oman. The green light is given to conduct tours to the incredible Island of Socotra.
Shane Horan, founder of Rocky Road Travel receiving the pin of North Korean leaders
Rocky Road Travel is given recognition for their efforts towards promoting North Korean tourism and engagement with the outside world. This grants Rocky Road unprecedented access and trust within the Korea International Travel Company.
Aleppo Coffee man
Rocky Road Travel become the first foreign tour operator to visit Syria after the reopening of its borders following Covid & security related closures. We quickly become the world's leading provider of Syrian tours with monthly group tours on offer from Lebanon and Jordan.
Riding the iron ore train in Mauritania
After a hugely successful research trip where we camped on Saharan sand dunes and took us far into the desert - we are now offering regular group and private tours to Mauritania. Every tour will off course take in the famed Iron ore train experience where you get to ride in the open top ore carriages overnight.
2014 - DMZ, Korea.
2015 - Chongjin, North Korea.
2018 - Baghdad, Iraq.
2018 - Embassy of Yemen, Oman.
2019 - Pyongyang, North Korea.
2021 - Damascus, Syria.
2022 - Nouadhibou, Mauritania