top of page
Cultural Sensitivity
What to Bring
When to Go
What to Brin Back
seb 3.jpg
star mid.jpg
Misc large small-24.jpg
Misc large small-25.jpg
Misc large small-22.jpg
faces resize-8.jpg

Though Socotra may appear remote and unpopulated, it is actually home to a sizable population of human inhabitants that hold their island very dear. We find it helpful for visitors to think of Socotra as a puzzle of vibrant, unique and delicate ecological and social systems that, when intact, compose the archipelago's heritage. As such, visitors are kindly asked to be mindful of these systems and their inherent complexity.

Here are some recommendations put together by a group of both Socotris and non-Socotris to keep in mind when on the island so as to leave the best possible impact and have the best possible time:








Cultural Sensibility

One of the first things that a visitor notices upon arriving to Socotra is how immensely welcoming most Socotris are. A phrase heard time and time again on the island is "umoor tayyebah" or "all is good," and guests are sure to be welcomed into Socotri houses for tea or lunch time and time again. Nonetheless, Socotris have distinct local customs of which they are proud and careful to uphold. It goes without saying that it is important for guests on the island to not take advantage of this hospitality, and try their hardest to act as respectful cultural ambassadors of their own places of origin. 

Here's some tips to keep in mind regarding cultural sensitivity on Socotra:

  • Treat others how you would like to be treated. Engage with locals, act respectfully towards their curiosity and abounding desire to host guests. 

  • Try to dress modestly (covering the knees, shoulders and chest) when in villages or large gatherings. 

  • Try not to waste. Hunger and hardship are still very real problems in Socotra and being overtly wasteful is inherently disrespectful to the less fortunate. 


  • Be mindful of flaunting wealth or status, as what may be worth little to some is worth much more to others. 

  • Be appreciative and grateful of hospitality, generosity and inclusivity that you are bound to receive. 











Environmental (eco) Sensitivity 

Though they can't tell us as such in a language we fully understand, most-all living beings are subject to the choices made by humans. Socotra is home to an immensity of remarkable non-human inhabitants, some of which are extremely rare, and particularly fragile in response to human influence. Much like guests are asked to display sensitivity to human customs, it is also important that guests show care and caution in protecting, preserving and even promoting the wellbeing of Socotra's non-human inhabitants and non living features. 

Here are some tips on how to protect, preserve and promote the wellbeing of Socotri nature:

  • Take nothing but photos. If it's alive, leave it be and appreciate from an appropriate distance. If it's not alive, pick it up only if you really have to, get a closer look, take some photos, and return it to its original location.

  • Leave no trace. Be mindful not to leave any rubbish, whether biodegradable or not. Be es​pecially careful of synthetic substances that can end up in bodies of water, whether stagnant or not. If you really want to help, bring away whatever rubbish you bring to the island. 

  • Try your hardest to be careful of where you pitch up tent, sit down, or drop bags and other objects. Socotra's smaller non-human inhabitants are just as important as its larger ones. 

  • Bring along only human friends. Invasive species can and do wreak havoc on island ecosystems, and especially ecosystems as particular as Socotra's. 

  • Try to bring nature-friendly products like plant based soaps and cosmetics. Though a variety of products can be found on Socotra, the less synthetic chemicals that are released into the environment, the better. 












When to Go


Generally accepted tourist high season: October – April

Monsoon/tourism off season: May – September

Generally accepted optimal time for visiting: November – February 

Socotra has variable weather meaning that at different times of year, different parts of the island are hotter, colder, wetter, drier, windier or less windy. In addition, the weather changes considerably at any one time based location within the island.


Socotra is subject to the Indian Ocean Monsoon. This means that from May/June to late September the island is hit by strong winds coming from the south-west and result in high, rough seas. As a representative image, during this time, winds in certain parts of the island are so strong that many inhabitants tie a strong rope from their car doors to the car chassis to avoid the doors being torn off by the wind. In addition, the wind picks up sand and dust making it an uncomfortable time of year. As such, late May through late September is considered off-season for tourism on Socotra. Despite this, for the intrepid adventure traveler and adrenaline sport enthusiast, this time of year can be optimal forvarious forms of surfing. 

From November until April is considered tourist season. From November until March light and refreshing winds blow from the north-east, condensing into pleasant and picturesque clouds in the mountainous center of the island. Though usually very sparse, rains in the center and north of Socotra usually fall in November, December and January. During this time, and for some time after, landscapes are more verdant and freshwater streams have increased flow. Furthermore, this is also the coolest time of the year in Socotra with temperatures averaging between 22°C and 27°C. This period is ideal for water activities like snorkeling and diving, as well land activities like trekking and spelunking. Most visitors consider November through February to be optimal time to visit Socotra island.




What to Bring

All essentials and many other accessories can be found on Socotra. Nonetheless, we advise visitors to bring in and bring away as much of their own equipment as possible so as to lessen consumption and waste production on the island.


Here are some items we recommend you bring: 

  • Headlamp and/or flashlight. Most excursion vehicles are fitted with charging ports. Otherwise, electricity for charging is only available in certain villages. 

  • Appropriate clothing: Light and breathable, hat, durable shoes that work for walking, and of course, a bathing suit. Water shoes suggested and a medium-insulation jacket if you're planning multi-day treks.

  • Camera. Socotra is incredibly picturesque, why not have some tangible memories as well?

  • Mosquito repellent and sun block. Mosquito numbers are seasonal and some are more susceptible to being bitten than others. Regardless, we suggest everyone bring repellent.​ Also, the Socotri sun is relentless so sun block can be very helpful.

  • Reading material. What's better than a good book on a great beach?

  • Lightweight, high nutrition packaged foods. Totally optional; we got the food covered, but really helpful and pleasant in case you plan to trek. 



What to Take Home


Many photos and unforgettable memories are a granted. But Socotra has may other things to offer for visitors to take home if they desire. All of Socotra is considered a protected area, so bringing back anything of natural origin that has not been sold to you is prohibited. Luckily, Socotra's tangible cultural heritage includes a number of authentic Socotri products, each with their own specific use, that make for fascinating gifts, functional wares and timeless mementos. In addition, these purchases promote local artisans to continue practicing and passing along their crafts thereby helping safeguard this valuable form heritage. 


Here are some ideas for products that are great to take home:

Socotri handicrafts:

Palm leaf products

  • Hats

  • Floor-mats

  • Purses and bags

  • Baskets

Pottery products

  • Incense burners

  • Figurines 

  • Pots





Goat-wool products 

  • Purses and bags

  • "Bedouin chair"

  • Carpets 

  • Goat yarn 

Wooden products

  • Dragon-blood spoons

Socotri natural products:

  • Dragonblood

  • Frankincense

  • Myrrh

  • Honey

bottom of page