Socotra Island Essential Information to Know Before You Visit the Island
Socotra Island Standards to Expect
Travellers to Socotra must understand that Socotra is an eco-tourism system and is relatively new to the international tourist market. Hence the Socotra hotel accommodation standards, though good, may not be up to the same international accommodation standards that you would expect. This, though, only adds to the mysticism of the Island of Socotra.
Getting to Socotra Island
Yemenia Airlines serves two weekly flights between Sana’a- Mukkala – Socotra Island (Friday) and Aden – Mukalla – Socotra island (Monday). The flight duration is almost three hours. And a new flight has been recently added.
When to Travel to Socotra
Climate is an important consideration. And this depends on your interest. Nature enthusiasts should go from early October to late April. The monsoon occurs from July till mid-August (during July in the southeast and southwest of the Island, windsurfing activity can be arranged). Generally, wildlife and natural viewing are most rewarding from the end of January through May.
Socotra Visa and Money matters
You can obtain a three months visa on arrival at Sana’a airport (the capital of Yemen). As soon as you have cleared through customs, change some money into Yemeni Riyal (YR.) at the airport, or when in Sana’a at any money exchanger (recommended), or you can exchange money at the national bank on Socotra. There are about 250 Riyals to the USD and the same to ERO. Take cash and hard currency with you. USD is acceptable on the Island ERO as an alternative. MasterCard, Visa Card, and Cheques are not acceptable.
What to pack to Socotra
- Comfortable, light, casual clothing.
- Sleeping bagged.
- Something warm to wear at night in winter and the high altitudes.
- Comfortable well walking shoes with good grip or sneakers.
- Protective clothing and sun lotion for the tropical sun.
- Rain wears the clothing.
- Personal toiletries and any personal medication such as some headache tablets, some things for digestive upsets, disinfectants, etc.
- Antiseptic wipes.
- Films and spare camera batteries.
- Torch/ flashlight with spare batteries.
- Strap-on water – bottle for a day hike.
- Money belt for valuables (you don’t have to take expensive or expensive-looking jewellery to Socotra).
Socotra Health requirements
Socotra is not a malaria region; some mosquitoes are in some places, so malaria prophylactic is recommended. Cholera is not present on the Island at all. Drink only bottled mineral water. It is readily available in Hadibo and Qalansiya. Consult your doctor, dentist, or travel health clinic for advice and preventive measures. The hospitals on the Island offer less than adequate service. Pharmacies are presented around Hadibo.
Socotra Time Zone:
GMT + 3 hours
Socotra Power supply:
220v AC – plugs are generally two-pin and multiple plugs.
Socotri is the local language, Arabic is the official and formal language, and English is spoken by the people working in the tourism industry.
All the people follow Islam.
Telephone lines are available to the major town of Hadibo, country code: (+967), followed by a one-digit number for an access provider (5). After the international and access codes, the number should be six, including three initial digits for the geographical area (660).
The cheapest way to make international phone calls is to use a telephone card and call from a booth telephone line or mobile telephone. Telephone cards can be purchased at most shops in the main market. The GSM system is not working on the Island. Hitherto, only CDMA covers the north and west of the Island and remains in Hadibo, Dicksam plateau, and Qalansiya.
Internet access is slow and expensive (About $5 per hour.). There are no internet cafés on the Island, but public internet access exists in the large town of Hadibo.
Socotra Post office:
The post office is located in the centre of the town Hadibo, in the Socotra Telephone Central building.