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How Safe Is Socotra?

Dubai, United Arab...
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How Safe Is Socotra?

I am thinking of travelling to Socotra in late March/early April with two friends (our party will consist of two male Brits and an Irishman). We have contacted the British Embassy in Yemen who recommend against ALL travel to anywhere in Yemen due to rises in the number of kidnappings and the increased trend of hostage trafficking to terrorist networks on the Arabian Peninsula. Despite this frank and daunting warning from the embassy we have been unable to find any evidence proving that this is the case on Socotra - despite our extensive research it appears that crime against tourists and kidnapping are non-existant on Socotra and there have been no recorded incidences of them. We wouldn't set foot outside of Sana airport and would be flying to Socotra a few hours after landing. Obviously the information is hugely conflicting, so I am looking for as honest, frank and detailed a response to the following questions as possible (bearing in mind that my friends and I have absolutely no desire to put ourselves in any unnecessary danger):

1. Is it safe to spend a few hours from early evening until early morning inside of Sana Airport.

2. Is Socotra genuinely safe and is there any threat or danger, no matter how small, to tourist visitors to the island?

Thanks

80 replies to this topic
Kyiv
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31. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

Hi Viktoriya,

I am a female, too. And yes, have seen the others. No problem at all. But better remember it's still a Muslim society (although the female dress-code is relatively relaxed compared to many other Middle East countries).

Seattle, Washington
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32. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

I visited Socotra a few years ago and would advise a female not to go on her own. My friend and I (two women, American and British) spent a week on the island and although it was the trip of a lifetime, we found ourselves in a terrifying situation with our Socotran guide. Long story short, we hired him to take us around the island and he and his driver attempted to abduct us, taking us deep into the mountains as it got dark instead of driving us to the beach to meet up with some friends who we had arranged to camp with that night. Thankfully, our friends got worried when we didn't show up at the beach and kept calling the guide's phone, asking where we were and when we would arrive. He refused to answer them and got angry when they kept calling. Finally they threatened to call the police and report the incident, after which he turned around and took us to the beach--although he did demand to be paid the full amount we had originally agreed on. We did it just to get rid of him.

It was only thanks to our friends that we made it out of the situation physically unharmed. Once we got back to the hotel in Hadibu later and spoke to the hotel manager about what had happened, he was horrified and not only called the police, but also the island's sheik (governor) who personally came down to the hotel that evening and spoke to us. After a long, heated shouting match with our friends, the hotel manager, the policeman, and the sheik all defending us to the guide, he returned our money and left.

Socotra was the trip of a lifetime, and I definitely want to go back someday. Every person I met there, excluding the guide and driver, was warm and friendly, interested in chatting with us, appeared happy to see Westerners exploring their beautiful island, and demonstrated the extraordinary hospitality for which Arabic people are so famous. We were invited to eat in personal homes and cheered on local kids as they showed off their soccer skills on the street. The beaches were almost completely deserted, but when a fisherman did happen to come past where my friend and I sunbathed, they averted their eyes or sometimes turned and walked in the opposite direction to give us privacy.

However, the island is extremely rustic and villages are miles away from each other via deserted roads. There is no public transportation and of course no phones outside of the hotels. My American cell was basically useless and had no reception. Unless you're in Hadibu or at the airport, you won't be able to flag someone down to help you. I would prefer to travel with a male friend (one good trick is to buy fake wedding bands and wear them throughout the trip) or two next time I'm there, and to use a reputable tour agency to arrange things.

Dublin, Ireland
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33. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

Socotra is exceptianally safe, i went with my girlfriend for 9 days we didnt get so much as a bad look from anyone, it has a very small poulation and they just don't encounter the problems that the mainland gets i felt much safe there than i would round Dublin on a friday night! The only downside is that you have to go through sanaa on the mainland on either side of the trip which is certainly risky if you leave the airport, we were advised by aid workers and yemenis not to risk going out and after our tour companies rep who was meant to meet us and drive us round didn't show we faced a night in the very basic airport, in the end we met an old man who worked at the airport who got his son to drive us round and take us back to their family home for tea, no doubt about it though sanaa itself is very risky, don't go wandering around by yourself or much at night, its definitley worth the risk once you reach socotra, an actual paradise and again very very safe

34. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

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35. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

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Perth, Australia
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36. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

I have been to the island of Socotra and i never and ever seen place safe and secured as Socotra. The people are lovely and friendly and they are welcoming tourists. Therefore, no need to worry about safety and security matter on Socotra... Just think about how to enjoy the incredible beauty of the island.

37. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

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38. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

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Bangalore, India...
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39. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

Hey

I know its a year late but since u took the plunge... How safe is it for a solo woman traveller ?? Would u still recommend and how safe is it in socotra island?? I am from India and i was planning a trip here in a month or so...

Bangalore, India...
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40. Re: How Safe Is Socotra?

Hey

I know its a year late but since u took the plunge... How safe is it for a solo woman traveller ?? Would u still recommend and how safe is it in socotra island?? I am from India and i was planning a trip here in a month or so...

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