Is Socotra safe to travel to?
Socotra is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. Located in the Arabian Sea, one third of it’s species are endemic to the island. This makes it “the most alien looking place in the world”. It’s also barely inhabited with just over 50,000 residents in 4,000 square km.
Untouched by mass tourism, with basically no tourist infrastructure the island is the definition of a remote natural paradise.
Even though the Socotra Archpelago lies several hundred kilometres off the coast it needs to be said that it is still part of Yemen. The mainland has been locked in an ongoing civil war for years now.
So the questions naturally arises, is Socotra Safe to visit?
Being part of Yemen has certainly not helped its cause. Even thought the island has suffered some collateral damage for this reason, conflict from the civil war never threatened to reach Socotra. The island is extremely safe and has even accepted some refugees from the mainland.
There has been some waves felt from the war however, these have not affected the security situation on the island. The United Arab Emirates now exudes most control over the island and have placed small military bases there. Let’s hope these remain small and that the Emiratis don’t attempt to exploit the island for their own gain.
Logistically Socotra has suffered from a lack of transport options to and from the island. Prior to the war Socotra enjoyed direct flights from Dubai as well as Sana’a & Al Mukalla on the mainland. These services were ended in 2015 and the island was left with an infrequent and unreliable sea connection that could take up to 4 days. Thankfully things are now much better.
How do I get there today?
Since late 2018 Yemenia Airways (Yemen’s national carrier) has been running a weekly flight to and from Socotra.
The Flight runs on Wednesday and flies to and from Cairo, Egypt with a stopover in Seiyun in mainland Yemen. Seiyun is secured by local and Saudi forces so it’s well protected. The flight usually fills up early with locals going to and from the mainland for business so it’s well advised to book about a month in advance. The same aircraft make the entire trip and passport control is carried out on Socotra Island.
In welcome new developments, Air Arabia have also started running a weekly Monday service direct to the island from Abu Dhabi.
Arguably the best time to visit is from October to April. It’s not too hot or wet, making it the perfect conditions for hiking & flourishing wildlife. For more information check out our Socotra Tours!