Socotraby Hilary Bradt and Janice Booth
Socotra travel guide: expert travel tips and holiday advice on the largest island of the Socotra (Soqotra) archipelago off the coast of Yemen. Including everything from Hadibo hotels and restaurants to tour operators, eco-campsites, beaches, snorkelling and diving, wildlife, birdlife and flora including dragon’s blood trees and desert roses.
About this book
This new full-colour title from Bradt is the first and only guide available to the largest of the four islands that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Socotra Archipelago in the Arabian Sea, 240 miles offshore from their mother land, Yemen. Everything you might need for a successful trip is covered, from pre-departure planning, getting there, tour operators and where to stay to the full range of information for making the most of your time while there. Background information on history, people, language and culture is followed by an easy-to-follow geographical breakdown covering everywhere from the capital Hadibo to Ayhaft Canyon National Park, Qaria Lagoon, Rosh Marine Protected Area, Homhil Reserv, Terbak village and Hoq cave, Qalansiyah, Diksam Plateau and the forest of Firhimin to name just a few of the places detailed. There is also a section on vocabulary, an endemic wildlife check list and suggested sources of further information.
Socotra is unique. Sometimes known as ‘The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’, the archipelago has an exceptionally large number of endemic species. Of the 220 bird species recorded, 11 are endemic, including the relatively recently identified Socotra Buzzard. Closer to the ground, an estimated 307 plant species are endemic. More than 600 species of insects, some 100 land and freshwater molluscs, around 80 arachnids, some dozen myriapods, four land- and fresh-water crabs, 30 reptiles and 14 mammals have been found to occur, of which all the land snails, 90 % of the reptiles and about 60 % of the spiders are unique to the archipelago.
With its superb beaches and dramatically varied landscapes (mountains, forest, ravines, sand-dunes, beaches, caves .) Socotra is a prime target for tourism, which will need handling with extreme care. Strict regulations are in force to preserve the island's natural heritage and much of it has protected status, but some unprotected land has already been sold to potential developers. This pristine and relatively unknown little island, so full of natural treasures, may be on the brink of a very different future.
About the author
Ever since seeing photos of Socotra on a David Attenborough programme, Hilary Bradt wanted to go there. Her interest in off-the-beaten-track destinations and enthusiasm for wildlife makes it a perfect holiday destination and her experience writing about the natural world, along with her co-author’s interest in history and people, has helped to create a comprehensive and well-balanced book.
Having seen the positive effect that guide books can have on countries recovering from war, Janice Booth was keen to visit and write about Socotra in the hope that this guide may also help to encourage visitors. She was the author of Bradt’s Rwanda and also edited Bradt’s Mali.
Introduction The Soqotra Archipelago
Chapter 1 Background
Information, History, Administration, People and Culture, Language, Socotra’s personalities, Natural History
Chapter 2 Practical Information
Tour operators, Getting there, Getting around, Eco-camping, What to take
Chapter 3 North
Hadibo, Qadub, Ayhaft Canyon National Park
Chapter 4 Northeast
Qaria lagoon, Rosh Marine Protected Area, Homhil Reserve, Momi Plateau
Chapter 5 East
Terbak village and Hoq Cave, Arher
Chapter 6 West
Qalansiyah, Shu’ab, Detwah Lagoon
Chapter 7 Southeast
Dagub Cave and traditional villages, Hayf & Zahek sand dunes,
Chapter 8 Central area
Diksam Plateau and the forest of Firhimin
Endemic wildlife check list