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THE ROOF OF ARABIA: One of the oldest inhabited regions worldwide transports visitors back into the world of thousand and one nights. Close to nature and unspoiled natural beauty, Yemen this age-old center of civilization preserves a way of life that has hardly changed since the middle ages.



Socotra Island is the largest island of the Land of Sheba, approximately 120 Km long by 40 Km wide and a population of 55000 with their own district language and culture, they also speak the Arab language of Yemen. The coastal area is inhabited by fishermen majority of African origin, using African huts whereas the Wadis are inhabited by Nomads of Arab origin and the mountains region is inhabited by Nomads & Descendants of an old South Arabian tribe speaking the old Arabian dialect Socotri related to the Mahari dialect. Socotra is a member of a group of four outlying islands Abd Al-Kuri, Samha & Darsah. There are also interesting affinities with other groups of islands including Seychelles & some remote islands of the Atlantic Ocean.


Socotra is more closely linked with Africa than Arabia makes it a unique island of Hybrid Flavor, its separation from Africa is believed to have occurred approx. six million years ago, as a result, many animals & plants that live today on the island are endemic species. This island finds itself at a convergence of eras & culture due to its strategic location & valuable incense and trade throughout centuries has seen the influence of many African groups & European nations including Greek, Portuguese & British. The native Socotrans are simple, kind, and hospitable to visiting tourists.


Being virtually isolated from the rest of the world for a long period, Socotra remains one of the most fascinating places on earth. An island that provides unique opportunity & challenge has Arabia's greatest plant & animal diversity. Many animals & plants that live today on Socotra are found nowhere else on earth. The very high degree of endemism makes the island an important place in terms of global wildlife conservation.

It is believed that some of the plants & animals found on Socotra are in fact ancient relics of a much larger land mass which has been preserved here as a result of the fact that the Haghir Massif has not been totally submerged for at least 135 Million years. The absence on any indigenous mammals is reported to be further indication of the island's very ancient origins, possibly from time before mammals appeared on earth.


While the people help make Socotra a haven in a hostile world, the island is also a natural wonderland. From the aqua lagoon at Qalansiya to the snow-white dunes at Ras Momi, from the alpine meadows of the Haggier Mountains to the desolation of Nowgad, Socotra is a land of surprising contrasts. Rising to over 1700 meters, the Haggier Mountains loom over Hadibo, Socotra's administrative capital. The red granite of the peaks has been stained a ghostly gray by the lichens, which grow thickly above tree line. Perennial streams radiate from the misty heights, green ribbons of life teaming with endemic fish and freshwater crabs. Limestone plateaus fan east and west, providing alkaline soils for the iconic Dragon's Blood Tree. Bottle trees grow in such profusion that entire hillsides turn pink following winter rains. Cucumber trees, statuesque relative of the melon, provide fodder for starving animals during times of drought.


Socotra is home to more than 900 species of plants, some 305 of which are endemic to the island, and there are certainly many more plant species that have yet to be discovered. For example, Dr. Tony Miller of the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh recently collected the first known specimens of a tiny carnivorous plant, which grows on moist tree trunks in the higher reaches of the Haggier Mountains. .


One of the most famous Botanical curiosities of Socotra is the Dragon's tree, the tree is so named because any injury to the bark results in a deep red liquid excreting from the scar – compared in the past to the "Blood of Dragons"


Birds, insects and underwater life which is considered very poorly explored areas of this fascinating island has received relatively little attention from the scientific community. There may be also undiscovered species of insects on Socotra. Because of the persistent monsoon winds, many Socotran insects have evolved relatively small wings, an adaptation, which prevents them from being blown out to sea. Other arthropods include immense centipedes which can reach a length of more than 20 centimeters and give a nasty pinch, at least two species of freshwater crabs, and huge spiders which spin yellow webs across woodland gaps, harmless to humans, but intimidating nonetheless. At least 80% of Socotra's reptiles are endemic, and herpetologists believe that there are still several undiscovered species on the island.


About 145 species of birds have been recorded here, 8 of which can be found nowhere else including the Socotra Bunting, Socotra Starling, Socotra Sunbird, Socotra Sparrow, Socotra Warbler, and Socotra Cisticola. With new species being found every year, Ornithologists also believe that more detailed study of the ten endemic subspecies will lead to the splitting of some to full specific status. This most obvious bird to the visitor, however, is the ubiquitous Egyptian Vulture, known locally as Al Baladiya Socotri for its habit of cleaning up everything from kitchen waste to human feces. Outside of Hadibo, Socotra is a wonderfully clean place, thanks in large part to these active scavengers.

Few terrestrial mammals live on Socotra although there are some bats and a species of genet. The sea surrounding the island teams with whales and dolphins, however, Sperm Whales, Short-finned Pilot Whales, Spinner, and Bottle-nosed dolphins have all been spotted close to shore. Socotran waters also abound in fish, ranging from tiny bright-reef dwellers to great spotted Whale Sharks more than 15 meters long. Crystal clarity makes this a divers dream.

Its unique character with Arabia's greatest Biological diversity makes Socotra a potential candidate for designation as either a Natural World Heritage or a MAB Biosphere reserve, there is a need to undertake detailed Botanical & Zoological surveys throughout, but most urgent.


 A trip to Yemen is considered an experience of a way of life long since lost to the modern world, a dream destination of unusual record, a very rich mixture of archaeological, cultural, traditional arts, natural and historical heritage, a picture of a different age.


PROGRAM ONE: A Taste of Socotra (8 days)

Includes 5 days in Socotra, covering the highlights in the Island. Designed for more comfort using 4WD vehicles and overnights at the hotel. For detailed itinerary and avaiability contact us.

PROGRAM TWO: Socotra Island (12 days)

Includes 8 days in Socotra, covering the most interesting sites in the Island. Designed for more comfort using 4WD vehicles and overnights camping & at the hotel. For detailed itinerary and availability contact us.

PROGRAM THREE: Socotra Adventures (15 days)

Includes 12 days of unforgettable adventures in Socotra, covering most of the island. Designed for adventure lovers, 9 nights camping, camel trek & boat rides. For detailed itinerary and availability contact us.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Diving & Birdwatching


"A trip to Yemen............different age"

The modern visitor to Socotra is a pioneer, an adventurer setting out to discover an uncontaminated, long hidden world! It follows that he or she will find extreme natural beauty, but without many of the trappings of "civilization". Hotel accommodation, eating facilities and the road system are simple, and those requiring western comforts should beware – nothing truly rewarding in life comes without effort, and a little sacrifice!


Future Tours Industries - FTI

Al-Qiada Street

P.O.Box: 1203

Sana’a - Republic of Yemen

Tel.: (+967-1) 253216 / 225062

Fax: (+967-1) 282901 / 227196

E-Mail: info@ftiyemen.com