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AL ZAHRA TOURS

  Socatra Expedition :                  The fame and historic important of Socotra dates back to the begining of holy . .  

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 Language Travel :                           An Arabic language course  in Sana'a, the "Pearl of  Arabia " !

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 Trekking Travels: 8,11,15 Days trekking program : Yemen Mountains .  . .

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 Cultural and adventure tours : mini tour, intense, scenic Yemen , compact programs . . .

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Alzahra.Tourism, Agency (ATA)
Sanaa Republic of Yemen
P.O.Box: 23132
Tel.: 00967 1 24 40 40
Fax : 009671 240393
E-Mail: alzahra.tours@y.net.ye
E-Mail: alzahra.tours@gmx.de
Internet : www.alzahra.de
Internet : www.al-bab.com/alzahra

SOCOTRA EXPEDITION

15 days Socotra departure as of Sanaa every Friday

1.Day: Friday Fly to Sokotra Taj Sokotra Hotel – W. Dinighen-Deleisha          

2. Day: Saturday Hadibu - Deksem (50 km) Comping                                        

3. Day: Sunday Deksem - Qalansia (50 km) Comping   

4. Day:Monday Qalansia - Ras Sho´ab (Boot tour-  back to Qalansia Comping

5. Day: Thusday Qalansia - Hadibu (100 km)- Ayhaft -Taj Socotra Hotel 

6. Day: Wednesday Hadibu- Dhi Gub – South beach   (70 km) Comping        

7. Day: Thursday South beach - Wadi Defaraho  (80 km)  Taj Socotra Hotel   

11.Day: Friday Hadibu – Mumi (Homhil the protected area) ( 70 km) comping

12.Day: SaturdayHomhil –W.Alshifa ( hiking dawn) – Arher (40 km)comping 

13.Day: Sunday Arher-Dihameri (the marine P.A)- Hadibu (50km) Taj Socotra Hotel 
14.Day: Hadibu - Mukalla - Sana´a Fly to Mukalla

Diving Program

Friday: - Arrival in the airport- Hotel in Hadibo- Ayhaft- Deleisha-Hotel.

Saturday:- Hotel – Qalansiya- Dedwah lagoon ( snorkeling ) and camping.

Sunday: - Dedwah lagoon- Shu’ab (by boa)to the sink shipwrecked ship(diving)- Hadibo Hotel.                                                                       

Monday:-  Hotel-Holaf (diving)- Dihameri M.P.A (snorkeling) and camping

. Thusday: - Dihameri M.P.A (boat-diving)- Rosh (Snorkeling) and camping

Wednesday:- Rosh ( boat-diving)- Arher camping.           

Thursday:- Arher- Hadibo Hotel.         

Friday:- HadiboHotel-Airport

THE ISLAND OF  HAPPINESS

The fame and historic important of Socotra dates back to the beginning of holy commodities trade prosperity and the activity of the old trade route which is much better known as  Frankincense, Myrrh and Laudanum route for the island was one of the main producers of such essential commodities in addition to its being the back reserve for the support of  Yemeni ancient Hadramawt Civilization along the first  millenium BC when the kingdom of Hadramawt was named ( kingdom  of Frankincense, Myrrh and Laudanum). 

In those old days, Socotra island produced the best quality  glue. The island became even more important and was widely  famous for the production of incense sticks (a kind of  incense) and Socotra was known as furthermost places of ancient civilization which used to consider those holy commodities e.g. incense, Myrrh, Laudanum, glue and other perfumes to be hallowed. 

Not only that but, also named the land producing them as the Holy Land or the Land of the god. That is why Socotra island was named by ancient Greeks and Romans as the Happiness  Island, as well as due to the difficulty to reach it in the past. Many stories and legends have been woven in respect  thereto. 

Today it is the focus of specialist researchers in the field of rare protected natural areas for Socotra island . It  is considered to be one of the most important Worldwide  Protected natural areas.

Historical Introduction

* The name of the Socotra island originated from one old forgotten language-dialect spoken at one time by the pre-historic passers to the island. This ancient term of a name given for the island was "Eipheba Sakhotora" which used to mean "The island of Happiness.

Foreign academics, Oriental and historians may pronounce the name in four different ways: Asqo'ter, Soqutri, Sou'qatra and Soqotra. Ancient Greeks called it "Dyo-sacreeda", while in the Romans' language it is known as "Dyo-Socor-Yahlas" and "Dyo-Sotori". Moreover, one ancient Greek language gave it the  names "fia-Soqa'tra" and "Soqater". Coming to the inhabitants of the island itself, the common belief among them is that the  name was derived from combining two words together; Al-Souq  (meaning the market in Arabic) and "Qatra" (meaning a single  drop of any liquid).

One of the Portuguese military troops colonized the island (1507-1557). They stayed till the end of the fifteenth century , just few years before the Dutch invaded the island in 1614.  Then, the British; colonized Aden on January (1839).

The island had been, during the British rule, used either  as a temporary depot and refuge of the British crews and  seamen, or as the light-house location for guidance of the  marine route for their ships. It was also known to be one military garrison for the British troops.

On 30th November 1967 the island became part of what was known as (South Yemen). But now after the  reunification on 22nd May (1990), It is a part of Republic of Yemen.

Location

Socotra is the largest Yemeni island, It is located east of  Aden Gulf between the Latitudes 12,8-12,42 north of the  equator and the longitudes 53,19-54,33east of Greenwich and. It is 380 Km a way from Ras Fartak in Mahrah Governorate ,

Having its own distinctive climatically, environmental,  geographical and natural characteristics, it is administratively related to Aden province . It is away from  Aden about 690 Kilometers.

* The geographical location of the island is on the  enter-linking point of the Arabian Peninsula, Africa and India  .

*This important marine location can make it a distinctive  center for Tourism and investment attraction, due to the  island's supporting elements of attractive features that were created through the nature existing there. These are represented by its green forests that cover extensive areas of land suitable to be transformed to several Tourism scenes .  Besides, certain tourist activities such as fish canning and  diving places can be implemented in such a rare and naturally  protected area.

Area

* Socotra stretches as a piece of land with an area of about 3650 square Km; up to a length 125 kilometer and width  of 33 Km in the Indian Ocean , with an archipelago of small islands like AL-Akhawain(the two brothers) island,Darsah island,Samh island and Abdul Kori island which is the most densely populated and is always known for its affluence of Diamonds collection. It is the second largest an archipelago after socotra.

The Relief

The surface of the island varies into four kind of Relief  as the follows:

1-The Mountains:

The most important of which are the mountainous range of Hajhar mountains which are located at the eastern part of the island along Arida Bay, overlooking the island of Capital  Hadiboo and extending north easterly to south westerly at a distance of 25 Km of which the highest peak is Dawkam whose  altitude 1630 m above sea level.

2-The Central Plateau:

It occupies most of the island area and is parted by Wadi  Tatrar (Tatrat Valley) into two main parts: The eastern and The western Plateau.

3-Sea Plains:

The coastal Plains are situated in the north and south of  the island and are non-existent in the east or west of the  island due to the extension of drifts to the coast.

The coastal plains are divided into two parts:

The northern coastal plain named Hadibo plain ,the southern  plain which is called by the island inhabitants as (Nawjad)  .

4- The Wadis (valleys):

The plains are interspersed by many vallies . Some of which  pour at the northern part of the island and some of which pouer at its southern part and the most important of which is  azroo Valley which intersects the island from north to south  in addition to the valleys springing out from the Hajhar Mountainous Rang which are characterized for their running  water all along the year

Climate

The island is prevailed generally with a sea relatively hot  weather of which the average daily temperature in Hajhar  Mountains ranges between 25-28 Celsius while in June and July the temperature reaches its extreme and falls during January  and February.

The average humidity ratio ranges between 55% as the maximum in August and 7% as the minimum in January.

The island is subjected to sharp southern westerly winds during the summer months (June, July, August) with an average  speed between 13-18 Km /h, whose speed decreases gradually  during September till end at the beginning of October.

* Average annual rainfall of the island is 150-170 mm but  this quantity fluctuates to a great extent from one year to another.

Language

The people live a primitive life, for they speak a mixed language of weak Arabic, and ancient Yemeni-Amhari and  Himyarite languages, with some words of Portuguese. All of them embrace the Islamic.

Traditions

It is inhabited by 65,514 people, they speak the dialect of  grazing and fishing besides the old Yemeni language .

The people are generally simple in their characters as they  are not busily worried by the problems of the prices or the economic reforms that are currently taking place in the country. They are miserably poor, and the practice of civil  marriage among them is relatively very easy and very  reasonable ,as a social convention

Industry

*Cattle rearing : This is carried out by the peasants, shepherds, farmers and rural villagers around most parts of the island's territory, as a result of having a large and  variable animal wealth ; goats, sheep, cows, bulls and camels.  Besides, pastures and natural green fields are available every  where.

*Fishing: It is considered to be the main skilled craft  adopted by large numbers of the island's population, as the  whole region is well known for its large fishery wealth.

*Commerce: This is a secondary activity as it is confined  to some owners of grocery and consumer shops found only in the capital Hadibu.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SOCOTRA

Socotra: The Forgotten Diamond of Yemen steps confidently  towards the future

Public Services:

1-Health :

In Hadibu alone, one general hospital is available for providing the minimum basics of health services. It has been supported by a number of clinics .

2- Transportation :

* Flights: There are two direct flights a week to the  island from Al-Rayan (Mukalla) you can also get there by small  boats just in the good weather .Preferably from 15th October until May. It is difficult to reach it  by small boats during the windy season .

*The roads: Inside Transportation is available in the  island but it is a bit costly, due to some mountainous  areas.

3-Telecommunication: The island has a domestic as well as  international telephone services.

4-Electricity:

Most people still use primitive lightening methods. That is  the use of stone friction to make a fire. The use electricity  is extremely limited to certain building belonging the  government.

The port and beaches:

* There are a number of beautiful beaches on the island, the most important of which is Nawjed beach.and also many  species of marine animals and fish ,especially shrimps . .

* From the marine point of view, the port receiving the  boats and sailing ships arriving from Aden is still in its assembly form the marine point of view , The port extension  project of widening the port is bunkering depot (of about 80  to 90 meters long) cost the Yemeni government one and half million dollars for Another new project which expected soon to be implemented , as the allocated funds for it is (7.5 million dollars)

* If you need to know about important regions in the island, read the following:

*Hadibu region: it is the capital of the island, it is the center of socotra island located in the north-east of the island ,and it has the largest urban center.

*Qalanseya region: it is situated in the western part of the island, and equips many residential-populated quarters.

*Nouged region: it is situated in the southern part of the island, and to the south of the serial chain of Hajeer mountains

*Investment:

* The investment future of the island is promising as there  seemed to be a start to establish units for refrigerators and  freezers for preservation of fish and consumable foods tuffs.  There are certain officially programmed plans that aim towards  attracting national and foreign capitals for investment in  those projects possible to be raised and sustained in the island. Those, in particular, relate to the business field of  frozen and tanned fish for the purposes of their packing, marketing and exporting.            

* The exports :

Most prominent goods, such as medical plant, Glue, Laudanum, Myrrh and two Brothers Blood Trees , are currently exported by the island .

The Fish Wealth :

Socotra island is distinguished by the affluence of  producing , different fish found in huge commercial quantities  particularly the Lobster and Rock Lobstes which are sought worldwide and known for their international quality.

Investmen in exploitation of this resource represents a big  chance for local and foreign capitals.

*Prospects and Exploration:

The government of Yemen has recently started granting  permits for few internal firms seeking to invest in the crude oil business. Initial surveys indicated the presence of this natural resource along the extendable coasts of the  island.

Socotra, the island of Dreams:

A natural Museum :

Socotra, the colony settlement for rare natural birds and  plants and enjoy an important strategic location, is now prepared to become the pearl of the Arabian Sea and relatively shining diamond. It is a new era.

*The island of Medical Shrubs :

In one way or the other, Socotra island can be regarded a  kingdom of medical shrubs and plants. Some of theme are rare, the others unique. It occupies the tenth rank amongst the reachest island in the world in respect of unique plantation kind and the rare ones.it boasts having 750 kinds of plants of which 600 kinds are rare and 150 kind are uniquely owned by  the island where noequivalents are available all over the world,the most important of which is two Brothers Blood tree.the sevendifferent Ladanum tree.

This cocentration of the kinds of Ladanum is not available anywhere except on this island, in addition to other natural  plants which are commonly used on the island on which the  socotra depended as a sort of cure for the different  diseases.

The largest medically important plants in island:

A) The Two Brothers Blood Trees : (Andam or Arhaib) .

The name of this tree has always been linked with the name of the island due to its fame and importance since ancient  times. The tree grows on the top of mountains and its height reaches 6-9 m . the island people make cracks on the trees  trunk and then a viscuous red fluid flows and is left till it is dried up . After that they collect it and pack it for export.

The tree is involved in many primitive indigenous crafts on  the island . It is futrher used as medicine and many legends  have been woven around it of which that it grew from the blood  of cane and mable when the first human crime ever took place  for as the blood flowed the tree sprang from it .Another  legend is that it grew from a clotted blood that flowed from a dragon during its fight with an elephant till both got killed  .The common name for the plant amongst the indigenous people  is( Arhaib).

B) Myrrh :

from the Trees known as "Murr" in Arabic language are and  are famously known for application in various medical treatments, together with, trees of incense , palm and olives  both of which become ripened with their roses and seeds twice a year, while their fruits are annually cultivated twice.

C) Frankincense trees :

It has 7 species of Frankincense trees, the most famous of which are the Socotra aloe, olibanum, Merrh, Dragon blood  .

Rare Birds:

* The island also abounds with many species of birds which form with the plantation environment and Marine environment  one of the Tourism parameters.

* It is considered one of the most important locations in  the Middle east in which birds live due to the spread of  natural woodland ( 105 kinds of birds ) of which thirty kinds procreate on the island, ( 6 kinds indigenous ) , (3 kinds are subject to extinction worldwide ...they are The Socotran Starling, Socotran Alhazijah , and the Socotran Learner.

*. Socotra is one of the most important homes of rare birds  in the Middle East