SOMALILAND, ERITREA & SOCATRA AFRICA TOUR (May 15th – June 6th)
As with most of our larger combination tours, the itinerary for our three nation Africa tour can be shortened if you wish to join us for just part of the tour. Feel free to get in touch for revised pricing.
Somaliland is one of the world’s most unique travel destinations. Contrary to popular opinion, it is safe to travel here. Citizens of the country and the areas which we will visit are astoundingly hospitable, friendly and of course fascinated by foreign visitors to their country. This is to be expected as the country may not feature on a typical run of the mill Africa tour! Like several of our international destinations for 2018, Somaliland is a de-facto state that does not currently enjoy recognition from the international community. Our three nation Africa tour begins in the capital city of the Hargeisa. This is a special trip and you will be amazed at what Somaliland can offer in an incredible travel experience.
Up next it’s National Day in Eritrea. Many countries on the African continent continue to have their difficulties including Eritrea – however, the country is regarded as one of the most peaceful and welcoming countries in Africa.Eritrea sits west of the Red Sea and shares land borders with Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. With no major influx of foreign visitors each year, much the countries coastline and outlying islands are in spectacular condition and of course, you will have the opportunity to swim in these amazing waters which may as well be an incredibly well-kept secret.
Like many of the destinations we visit internationally, Eritrea has been influenced by other nations and regions as a result of occupation, in this case by the Turks, Egyptians and Italians. In essence, you will see surprising undertones of European and Middle Eastern influences that have left their mark here including but not limited to ethnic, cultural and architectural joys that will instantly astound you. Asmara, Eritrea’s capital city is an incredible place.
The final and third nation on our Africa tour is the Yemeni island of Socotra. Yemen is a country that unfortunately has seen much conflict in recent years. As a result, not many tourists visit Yemen. Socotra however, is a very different story. This dreamlike island forming part of an archipelago of four islands sits between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean. Recognised by UNESCO, the island is famed for its ecological wonders, including wildlife, flora and fauna as well as amazing beaches.
If you have any questions about our three nation, Somaliland, Eritrea & Socatra Africa Tour drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Customers travelling with us on our African Tour have also been checking-out our Papua New Guinea Mount Hagen Festival Tour. Ask us about booking multi-tours for disco
|€3395 or €4295 (incl internal flights)
- All Transport (unless otherwise stated)
- All Accommodation
- Some local tours (unless otherwise stated)
- Visa Fees (Somaliland 100 USD, Eritrea 70 USD) Please e-mail us for instructions and further info on the visa process.
- International flights
- Personal expenses
- Local guide tips
|At a glance:
||Hargeisa – Berbera – Sheikh – Hargeisa – Asmara – Massawa – Asmara – Socotra 21 nights, 22 days
ITINERARY > SOMALILAND, ERITREA & SOCATRA AFRICA TOUR
Tuesday 15th May
- Arrive in Hargeisa as per your own travel schedule. That evening we will have dinner at Syrian restaurant in the city which is run by citizens that fled the conflict there. The food is delicious and it’s popular with the locals. Afterwards, you can stroll around Hargeisa and be instantly amazed at all the activity you will see around you.
Wednesday 16th May
- A visit to Naaso Hablood (“Girl’s Breasts”) which are part of the natural landscape and a popular landmark in the city, plus the British Soldiers cemetery where fallen soldiers of WWII are laid to rest.
- Delicious lunch at a Somali-Yemeni restaurant and the chance to hear about the cultural and social history of the county and how it exists today from learned locals. A walking tour of the city of Hargeisa is a great way to take in the remarkable atmosphere of the place. We will see all the key sites in the city centre including the Fighter Jet Memorial in memory of the those killed during the civil war here.
- We check-out the market in Hargeisa before getting some dinner and night out in the city.
Thursday 17th May
- Agriculture and farm animals are the life blood of many in the country, so after breakfast this morning we visit the commercial hub for the trading of camels and many other species!
- We travel to Laas Geel, estimated at the 10,000 years old is the site of some the most significant and artistically colourful early rock art anywhere.
- Free evening in Hargeisa and spend as you please.
Friday 18th May – Somaliland Independence Day
- Not many people can say there were in Somaliland for the official Independence Day festivities but today is the day you get to experience this. Remember you taking part on the Independence Day celebrations of a country that is not recognised. After breakfast, we will be making our way onto the streets which will be emblazoned in colour and parades of the military and citizens.
- Later in the day and after we have gotten lunch, we will have an opportunity to talk with former child soldiers who have managed to get ahead in life and have become successful in business. If you like, you can sample some chaat (the mild stimulant) and of course tea while we talk with them.
- We will have a great evening over dinner and enjoy the party atmosphere on the streets.
Saturday 19th May
- Today we will take in quite a few sites and there will be an opportunity to experience more of this remarkable country. We will visit Barbera Port which is a key piece of infrastructure for the nation. We will have lunch at Ottoman houses after a visit to a mosque. Later we will take a quick boat ride to see boat wrecks which have succumb to the Gulf of Aden. There are some great beaches that we can stop at and take a swim.
- In the evening we will explore and discover Barbera centre and admire its combination of Persian, British and Ottoman architecture. Afterwards, we will relax and enjoy a seafood dinner on the waterfront.
Sunday 20th May
- Breakfast this morning and afterwards, you can take a last look around Barbera. As we depart we will pay a visit to Barbera Airport. Again a key piece of national infrastructure. Not all the unrecognised countries we visit have an airport. In the case of Barbera Airport it has one the lengthiest runway in Africa and has been used by NASA as a landing site for space hardware.
- As an added little bonus, we will have the opportunity to visit the town of Sheikh located way up in the mountains. It’s really nice up here and we will have some tea and refreshments.
- Make our way back again to Hargeisa city for a farewell dinner with the group. Afterwards, we hit the arcade, check out some local sports and smoke sheesha.
Monday 21st May
- As if we have not already packed enough great visits in this itinerary and given you excellent opportunities to interact with the locals, we will this morning visit the cities Abaarso School and maybe try your hand being a teacher for the students! We will hear about how Somalilanders can make their way to MIT and Harvard.
- Airport transfer to catch the 5 pm flight to Asmara Airport in Eritrea (Ethiopian Airlines).
- End of Somaliland tour.
Tuesday 22nd May
- Arrive at Asmara Airport in Eritrea as per you own travel schedule (if you are not joining from Somaliland) Your guide will greet you at the airport and you will be transferred to our hotel in Asmara – The Crystal Hotel.
- After everybody arrives we will get to know each other and kick things off with dinner and a few drinks.
Wednesday 23rd May
- This morning after breakfast we will take a walking tour around Asmara and get the chance to check out some of the architectural beauties on the art-deco streets. Constructed while the Italians were the colonising power here. Examples include the Albergo Italia (1899), the Presidential Palace (1907) and the Hotel Hamasien and Post Office constructed in 1916.
- There will be plenty of remnants of the Eritrean & Ethiopian conflict which raged for two years between 1998 and 2000 that can see as well.
- City Hall (built 1890) again by Italian architects. There is an interesting photography exhibition here that is evidence of the countries difficult history but also the progress that has been made in more recent and peaceful years.
- Independence Day celebrations in Eritrea and Asmara will be getting underway at this point and you can expect music and cultural displays on the streets. There will be a marathon happening if you want to join in! Traditional food aplenty for us to try on the streets as well.
- You will visit Revolution Square which will be the centrepiece of many Independence Day performances. We will enjoy the evening in the city while waiting for the giant fireworks display that will ring in Eritrea Independence Day proper at midnight.
Thursday 24th May – Eritrea Independence Day
- Early morning (if you want to) 6 am 21 gun salute to mark Independence Day in Eritrea. We can get breakfast afterwards and then take a stroll around Asmara to soak up some of the atmosphere and chat with Eritreans on the streets.
- Citizens make huge efforts for Independence Day so you can expect a lot of colour and exhibitions of different types up and down Liberation Avenue in Asmara. We can get some lunch and then head to Asmara Stadium. There will be more performances here and a military air show and will also feature a speech by the president of Eritrea.
- In the evening we will have dinner in a traditional restaurant and of course, take an opportunity to sample some of the local drinks here as well. If you want to take part in some dancing to round off the Independence Day celebrations you are welcome to do so!
Friday 25th May
- Today we jump aboard the Italian Historic Railway (100 years old!), making our way through various tunnels and until we reach our destination Nefasit. While on board we will take part in a traditional coffee drinking ritual.
- When we arrive unfortunately we will need to split into male and female groups with our female guests taking in the sights of Nefasit while the guys will do to Debre Bizen monastery. However! We will all be heading back to Asmara by road and be getting pizza together when we get back. Yes, pizza!
Saturday 26th May
- Today we will make our way to Massawa with a 100km or so journey by road. We will stop along the way of course for lunch. The journey is interesting as the landscape is incredible and there is a drop in sea level from 2400 meters to 0.
- We will check into our hotel after we arrive and take a stroll around Massawa before heading to Gurgusum Beach. You can take a swim here if you like. Asmara may have it’s Italian influences but Massawa has many great examples of Turkish architecture in addition to Italian.
- Authentic Eritrean dining experience this evening at “Salam Restaurant” where freshly caught fish is cooked in a traditional oven. We can enjoy this perhaps at sunset with praying from mosques in the background. We will later check out what Massawa has to offer by night including a few watering holes.
Sunday 27th May
- Where possible with our destinations, we try to give you an insight into a countries education system by doing a school visit and chatting with the kids. Eritrea will be no different and after getting some breakfast this morning we will be visiting a local school.
- Afterwards, we will hop on a boat and go to Dahlac Marine National Park. Which includes The Red Sea’s Dahlak Archipelago of approximately 124 islands. This is definitely a highlight of your trip and there will be some historical sights dating back to the 8th century. If you have a diving license let us know, please. For an extra cost, you can dive among heavy weapons which were disposed of after the war with Ethiopia and now act as artificial reefs. If you don’t dive you can also rent some snorkelling equipment.
- After arrival back in Massawa that evening we will head out for dinner and drinks.
Monday 28th May
- Today we make our way to the Kohaito archaeological site. This was an ancient pre-Askumite construction. There are examples of art here that indicate the site is as old as the 5th Millennium BC. The journey and landscape on the way here are amazing. We will stop along the way for refreshments.
- After we get there will have a picnic in truly unique place and tour the area. As an added little bonus and adventure to your trip, we will camp at Kohaito beneath the stars.
Tuesday 29th May
- No pressure this morning, we will eventually hit the road back to Asmara and we will get there at around 4 pm. We will hopefully have the chance to watch some football at the Cinema Roma and chat to some of the locals about your own life back home. We will have a farewell dinner and drinks together.
- Airport transfers arranged, depending on flight arrangements.
- End of tour.
Wednesday 30th May – Arrive to Socotra – Ayhaft Canyon – Delisha Sandy Beach
- Fly from Abu Dhabi to the island of Socotra.
- Upon arriving at Socotra airport, we will be transferred to the hotel in Hadibo/Adeeb’s eco-lodge to acclimatize and have lunch.
- After lunch, we’ll visit Ayhaft Canyon National Park. The canyon features large fresh water-pools where you can swim or soak, whilst taking in the stunning endemic flora and fauna around you, from the desert rose to the Socotra sunbird.
- After swimming, we’ll drive to Delisha beach. Pristine white sands full of crabs await you here. You can relax by swimming in the sea or in the freshwater lagoon. If you’re full of energy you can climb a huge sand dune for excellent views of the beach. The sunset at Delisha is an incredible experience not to be missed.
- We’ll eat dinner and stay overnight in a hotel in Hadibo/Adeeb’s Eco-lodge/Delisha Camp
Thursday 31st May – Qalansyia – Golden Sand of Shuab – Detwah Lagoon P.A
- Up bright and early to explore the western part of the island. Our first stop will be Qalansiya; a small traditional fishing town. From there we will hop on a boat and head to Shuab.
- Next, we’ll board a boat to Shuab. We are very likely to see Spinner Dolphins and other sea life during this boat ride, so keep your eyes peeled!
- Upon arrival, we’ll have free time to swim, relax and enjoy this beautiful place.
- After traversing the surrounding mangroves, we’ll return to Qalansiya in time to explore the Detwah lagoon, a protected area renowned for its magical landscape. This area has some of the best views on the island. You can swim, sunbathe and relax in the shallow sea.
- We’ll eat dinner and camp out for the night at the Detwah eco-campsite.
Friday 1st June – Dixam Plateau – Shebahon Viewpoint – Wadi Dirhur Canyon
- After breakfast, we’ll make our way to Dixam plateau, which lies about 700m above sea level and is home to an endless number of the Socotri endemic plants such as Dragon’s Blood Tree.
- We’ll head to the Shebahon viewpoint for the breath-taking scenery of the Daerhu canyon and its unusual yet beautiful rock formations.
- We’ll then travel down to the Wadi in the canyon for lunch and a relaxed stroll to swim in the freshwater pools.
- In the late afternoon, we’ll go to the incredible beaches of Omak in the Indian Ocean.
- We’ll eat dinner and camp in Omak eco-campsite.
Saturday 2nd June – Omak P.A – Digub Cave – Hayf and Zahek Sand Dunes – Wadi Defarhu
- Following a quick swim in the crystal-clear water of the Indian Ocean, we’ll go to Digub cave, which overlooks a scattering of traditional villages below. The cave itself is remarkable as it’s full of stalactites, stalagmites and pools of water that have seeped through the rock over time.
- After the cave, we’ll drive to Hayf and Zahek village to witness the massive sand dunes which have been pushed up against the mountainside by the seasonal winds of Socotra.
- Next, we’ll drive to the northeast coast of the Island, through Defarhu Valley. Along the way, you’ll see traditional villages, desert rose trees clinging to the canyon walls, and the natural pools of water that form at the bottom of the canyon. The plants here are a lush green and birds fill the sky.
- Our next stop is the marine protected area of Dihammri, where we will eat dinner and camp overnight at the eco-campsite.
Sunday 3rd June – Dihammri M.P.A – Homhil N.P.A
- After breakfast, you can swim, snorkel and dive in the Marine Protected Area of Dihammri, one of the richest coral reefs on the archipelago and home to dozens of species of colourful marine life. Diving/snorkelling gear can be hired from Dihammri Diving Center.
- After Dihammri, we will depart to the natural protected area of Homhil; which is home to an endless number of the Socotri endemic plants such as Dragon’s Blood Tree, Frankincense Tree and Desert Rose. Once in Homhill, we will walk through a selection of trails, one of which takes us to a spectacular viewpoint where there is a natural swimming pool and a view of the Arabian Sea and the villages below on the plain.
- We’ll eat dinner and camp at Homhil eco-campsite.
Monday 4th June – Wadi Shifa – Ras Erisel – Arher Beach
- We’ll hike down from Homhil Plateau to the northeast coast of the island to Wadi Shifa (two hours walk) where the cars can meet us. Then after a quick lunch, we will drive to Ras Erisel which is situated at the eastern end of the island where the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet and where many ships have sunk.
- Following that, we will make our way to Arher Beach. Here a fresh creek comes out and meets the salty ocean water. We will have time to relax, swim or climb some of the massive sand dunes as we set up camp and prepare dinner.
- Dinner and Overnight will be in Arher Beach
Tuesday 5th June – Hoq Cave – Rosh P. A
- After an early breakfast, we’ll drive to Terbak village where Hoq Cave is located. Then we’ll hike up for an hour and a half until we reach the entrance of the cave. Hoq is the largest cave on the island and is 3.2 km deep. It holds a wealth of Socotri history and hides archaeological findings such as pieces of pottery, paintings and wooden tables with inscriptions in Aramaic language dating back to 258 AD. The cave offers an overwhelming beauty and variety of crystal decorations, like stalagmites, stalactites and calcite floors.
- Late in the afternoon, we will proceed to the marine protected area of Rosh to explore one of the best snorkelling/diving sites on Socotra. Rosh is a stunning coral reef with amazing aquatic life.
- We’ll eat dinner and camp overnight at Hadibo/Adeeb’s Eco-lodge/Delisha Camp.
Wednesday 6th June – Departure
- After breakfast, we will be transferred back to the airport to visit the Visitor Information Centre before flying back to Abu Dhabi.