Can I travel to Socotra?
The Yemeni island of Socotra has been described as the “most alien-looking place on earth”. It’s certainly not an unwarranted description. From its crystal-clear waters and its unusual flora/fauna – including the spectacular dragon’s blood trees – a trip to Socotra is quite simply like nothing else on earth. But given that it belongs to the troubled (and nigh-impossible-to-visit) Arabian Peninsula country of Yemen, can you actually travel to Socotra?
How do I get a visa for Socotra?
Getting a visa for Yemen is extremely difficult. Fortunately, it’s not quite the same deal for Socotra. You simply need the following:
- A scan of your passport photo page;
- A scan of a passport-style photo of yourself;
- A round-trip ticket to and from Socotra (we will take care of this)
- The 100-euro visa fee.
You don’t need to send your passport anywhere. Your visa application will be processed by our local Socotri partner, who will send us a copy for you to print out and bring along. Once you present the necessary documents upon arrival in Socotra, your passport will be stamped and you’ll be good to go!
How do I get there?
The only way to get to Socotra at present is by flying in with Yemenia Airlines from Cairo. Unfortunately, these tickets cannot be booked online. Luckily, we can have our contacts in Cairo buy these tickets for us!
What should I wear?
Though Socotra is quite laid-back for a place with a predominantly Islamic culture, it is still largely Muslim & conservative. One-piece swimsuits for ladies and long swimming shorts for men are recommended. Women should carry scarves with them just in case it’s necessary to cover up. Socotra is hot all year-round. Light-coloured, breathable clothing is recommended, as are hats, sunglasses and sunblock. Your tour will inevitably involve hiking, so bring sturdy shoes/boots and a water canteen.
What currency to they use?
Socotra uses its parent country’s currency: the Yemeni rial. 250 rial is equivalent to 1 US dollar. Meals and drinking water are included on tours to the Yemeni island. Aside from snacks and soft drinks, you’re unlikely to be spending too much. The aforementioned snacks and soft drinks will set you back $1-2 a pop.
Can I use the internet?
Basically, no. There is extremely limited WiFi on the island, so you can expect to be out of contact for most of your time there. There will be one or two opportunities to check in with friends and family – but don’t expect to be able to do anything more flashy than send a text message.
Is it safe to visit Socotra?
Extremely safe! The conflict in mainland Yemen hasn’t spilled over to the island, and there is virtually no danger at all. Though standard vigilance should be exercised with regards to one’s belongings (as with anywhere) it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be the victim of even petty theft.