Ok so it seems travel to Socotra isn’t impossible. As the cheshire cat would say, “It is merely UNpossible.” A travel organization in Dubai called UAE Trekkers currently offers tour trips to the island and the next one is coming up in April.
Facebook event page for the upcoming April trip.
I was really curious how this trip could be possible considering the current conflict in Yemen and this dire-sounding news report. So I visited their Facebook page and sent them a message about it. Here is their reply:
We are currently in communications with the proper authorities to get permission to go. We will be chartering a ferry and not a plane since our last attempt was grounded due to airstrikes the night before our scheduled departure. We will update our post when we learn more.
“Yemen is in the middle of a full-on civil war. I’d tried and failed to get there five times. By chance I ended up meeting the grandson of the King of Socotra, who bribed Yemeni officials and I ended up hitching there on a cement cargo ship.”
But his journey had some trials. In his blog, he mentions trying to get to Socotra with a travel group from the UAE and failing. I wonder if it is UAE Trekkers?
After my 3rd flight, I land in Salalah, Oman with the rest of the guys from Dubai. I chat to the immigration official in the airport who asks why I’ve come to Oman. “To go to Socotra buddy”. “NO! No Socotra. Flight cancelled”. Hmmmm? We were due to spend one night in an airport hotel in Oman and then leave at 5am the next day. At midnight, we hear of a delay with the paperwork. Meet at 10am. Meet then, we discover the tour group nor the airline had permission from the Saudi Coalition to take-off from Salalah airport (they’re in charge of air space during the war), so the flight is cancelled.
They waited at least 4 days for their flight to leave the airport. It never did. They were never granted permission to take-off.
His itinerary sounds a lot like the one UAE Trekkers users. This trip was in November 2016. Another one, according to their reply to me on Facebook, was cancelled in February. If this is indeed the same tour group, then that is two of their trips canceled. I wish them well with their plans. It sounds like an adventure itself just trying to get to Socotra. To anyone thinking of joining them, it sounds like a great way to visit Socotra. If only they could get there. So be aware when planning, your trip might be canceled.
Johnny Ward’s adventurous tales of the unpossible journey to Socotra are posted on his blog. Mission to visit every country in the world? ACCOMPLISHED!