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Pictures of our Socotra Island trip in Yemen (West) - without our vehicle in February 2011
(Part 3: Qalansiya - Shouab Beach - Qadama Beach - Momi Plateau - Wadi Ayhaft)
Yemen car trip (from Oman to Saudi Arabia)  - with our car from May 16th to June 15th, 1996
Following without our vehicle in February 2011:
Part 1: Socotra Island trip in Yemen (East) Hadibo - Dihamri - Arher Beach
Part 2: Socotra Island trip in Yemen (South) Homhil - Aomak Beach - Wadi Daerhu - Dicksam Plateau
Part 4: United Arab Emirates Sharjah - Dubai
Yemen Map
       Middle East Map
latest picture: February 19, 2011
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121  View from a hill to the barren
coastal plain of Qadama and Qadama
Beach in the Northwest of the island
122  In Qalansiya, in the Northwestern
corner, lies the Detwah lagoon with
its turquoise and jade green colors
123  A silvery mood lies
over the Detwah lagoon
Continuation from 7th day, February 15th, 2011: (back click please  here)
In the afternoon we continue our tour as planned with our new guide to the Detwah lagoon near the village of Qalansiya in the Northwest. The outward trip is not very spectacular. At the sight of the lagoon, however, which shines in every imaginable blue and green, we are once more amazed by the natural treasures this island has to offer around every corner.
124  The small, secluded fishing
harbor of Qalansiya
125  Our camping at the Detwah lagune
near Qalansiya. The orange tents
belong to a Japanese tour group
126  In the fishing harbor of Qalansiya,
starting point of our boat trip to
Shouab along the Western cliffs
On the other hand, we nearly get a shock when we approach the camping. Red tents are everywhere. They belong to a Japanese tour group, which luckily later on leaves. We ask to pitch our tent away from the main area and spend a very windy and cool, but quiet night.
127  View from the sea towards the
small settlement of Qeysoh near
Qalansiya. Old rusted Soviet tanks
in position are visible at the foreground
128  A school of dolphins, at
least 50, enjoy us with
their play around our small boat
129  A group of sea gulls gather
on a rock table along the cliffs
8th Day: February 16th, 2011:
Klaus who we meet here for the third time was already on the boat trip along the western cliffs to Shouab yesterday. He recommends us to start as early as possible because the sea is getting increasingly agitated during the morning. Today it is already rough at 8am when we board the small boat. As was to be expected there is no rescue equipment at all – the trip has simply to work out!
130  The mile long “picture book” sandy
beach at the turquoise shining Shouab lagoon
131  A crab leaves its traces in the
pristine sand at the Shouab beach
132  Sea gulls land at the
deserted Shouab beach
We are not yet rocking a long time on the waves when we are surrounded by a school of dolphins, at least 50 of them. For a precious moment, we have the chance to enjoy their acrobatic play. Cormorants nesting on the vertical cliffs follow and then groups of sea gulls are sunbathing on rock tables. In between, there are always tiny secluded sandy bays.
133  Does the little rocky outcrop
along the Western bluff not look
like a seahorse?
134  A colony of Socotra cormorants
(Phalacrocorax nigrogularis) is rocking
on the waves offshore Qalansiya;
probably they are foraging
135  End of our boat trip:
Our boat returns to
the harbor of Qalansiya
After 90 minutes we are at the turning point – at the mile long ”picture book” beach of Shouab with its calm turquoise lagoon. The sea is as smooth as glass and wonderful to swim. However the vessel takes us again on board already after only 40 minutes. The next 60 minutes that follow will remain for a long time in my memory. As soon as we leave the quiet West coast and turn towards Northeast we get into a stormy sea with waves as high as seven feet, one after the other. When the boat pitches the bottom of a wave, it is every time so brutal that I am afraid to break my back bone.
136  View from a hill to the barren
coastal plain along the Qadama
Beach towards the East of the island
137  Natural stones are the building
material for many homes, also for these
roundhouses on the Qadama Beach
138  The morning sun climbs up
behind the Haggier (or also
called Haggeher) mountains
Desperately, I support myself with both palms on the wooden bench as good as I can, trying to reduce to some degree the strong knocks by standing half upright. How long can the vessel cope with this enormous power before it’s torn apart? How much does it need until we capsize? The trip becomes a real nightmare for me and I have only one wish: To reach safely the land. Because it’s all but certain: If the engine stops working, we will be thrown without mercy with full force against the cliffs.
139  Salt pan near Qoba
(Ghoba/Ghubbah/Qubba –
depending on the writing) – situated
between Hadibo and Qalansiya
140  The salt water pond in the
village of Qoba is the
children’s playground
141  Old Soviet tanks rusting along, from
the time before 1990 (People's Democratic
Republic of Yemen) are positioned at the
North coast and are pointing out to the sea
When already land is in sight, we suddenly see a floating dark carpet on the water in front of us. What can it be? Coming closer to it we recognize it: It is a swarm of fishing cormorants – what a lovely ending of our adventurous boat trip. Shortly after, we reach the shore where Ahmed is waiting for us with the LandCruiser to take us back to the camping at the Detwah lagoon. The first thing we do is to shower the salt off our body. Then it is tea time. I am almost addicted to the heavily sugared tea; not so much however to the rice with potato sauce, which is served afterwards for lunch!
142  In the East a good tarmac
road meanders through brown
barren mountains from Deleisha
to the Momi Plateau …..
143  ..... Impressive bottle trees
(adenium obesium), called also desert
roses, appear before the turnoff to the
“antenna” near Momi village .....
144  ..... whole forests enjoy our eyes
At 2.30 pm we break off camp and head to our next night spot: The several miles long Qadama Beach along the North coast. There is no other soul, just us! On our long beach stroll, we are followed by four little boys who help Liliana to look for nice shells. In the evening, when we want to install ourselves in our small tent, we are missing one of the two warm covers – apparently Ahmed left it behind at the Detwah lagoon campsite. This gives us the opportunity of a breakneck drive in the night on a deserted road. Later our escort gives us notice that the guide is hitch hiking to Hadibo and Ahmed is driving to the next village. Apparently they feel lonely on this wild camping spot having none of their fellowmen to talk to.
145  The rocky track leads us through the
barren land of the Momi tableland …..
146  ..... Groups of bizarre white
eroded rocks pop up .....
147  ..... then the grazing sheep and
the distant mountain peaks
9th Day: February 17th, 2011:
Breakfast without coffee – there is none left. Lunch is prepared for the second time by our crew itself at the lonely Deleisha Beach that we share with a solitary heron. Two dolphins play near the shore. It’s planned that once a big hotel should be built here. Then we head off to the Momi plateau in the East towards a promising new landscape. The road is twisting between brown barren lands towards the hills, interrupted by the green of the palm oases.
148  Also in the rocky ground at the
antenna on the Momi Plateau Dragon Blood
Trees (Dracaena cinnabari) grow .....
149  ..... and between rock boulders
bloom delicate flowers in niches
150  A lonely goat is watching
strangers like us
We pass a forest of really impressive flowering desert roses and afterwards scattered bizarre white rock formations. Shortly before reaching the village of Momi, we branch off to the left to a bad highland track supposedly leading to the antenna. On the alpine territory sheep, goats and even cows are grazing. Donkeys with their offspring – still wobbly on their feet – are standing motionless watching us. Now and then we encounter a solitary shepherd.
151  Lovely Sunset behind high mountain peaks from the antenna on the Momi Plateau
152         A new impressive day dawns         153
Soon the track becomes steeper, stonier and more washed out – a very difficult terrain to navigate begins and often we think that the track does not continue and Ahmed has lost his way – there is nowhere a sign of an antenna. But suddenly around the next hill, we see it! The mountain panorama and the view down to the valleys with its scattered villages and the distant sea coast are superb. We wander through the coral rocks and discover again and again delicate flowers sprouting in tiny protected niches – blue, yellow and white ones.
154  The team is pitching our tent in a
protected corner at the antenna …..
155  ….. it is almost full moon
156  ..... a filling breakfast after
a relaxing and cold night
Calls suddenly interrupt the stillness – a shepherd is looking for his goats to lead them to the kraal. Then the fire ball of the sun disappears behind the mountain peaks. It is our last sunset in Socotra’s nature. The moon shines brightly from the sky – it is almost full moon – and the stars sparkle brilliantly above our heads, when we finally seek refuge in our tent from the strong blowing wind. We feel just happy and in the wonderful calmness we soon fall asleep.
157  The antenna where we spent
an unforgettable day in the nature
and the chilliest night in the tent
158  View to the West towards
the Haggier (Haggeher) -mountaines
from the antenna
159  From the antenna, Emil takes
a picture from the mountains
near Homil in the North
10th Day: February 18th, 2011:
The sunbeams are warming us up next morning at breakfast. It was our coldest night on Socotra. The very idea saddens us that tomorrow our ten days tour in this nature paradise will be over. But it is still today and in the afternoon we get a small add-on – a so called “farewell tour” to see the narrow Ayhaft valley close to Hadibo.
From the antenna there is a beautiful view of the Western valley with scattered hamlets
Ahmed is driving the LandCruiser on a track that resembles more a stony riverbed than a gravel road, giving us once more a good shaking. Strange trees rise towards a blue sky on the hill slopes – again it is nature pure. When we finally arrive at the end of the picturesque valley embedded into an impressive mountain scenery, the feeling is awesome over again.
163  A shed of a shepherd made from
natural stones and grazing sheep on the
tableland of the Momi Plateau
164  Bare tableland on the Momi Plateau
165  Nomads come galloping
with their donkeys to say hello
At 4pm we are back in the Taj Socotra Hotel. We shower, pack, view photos and inform ourselves in the internet about the newest development of the Yemeni uprising, which were so far restricted only to Sana’a and Aden. Our biggest concern is that the airports might suddenly close down.
166  Serene landscape with the imposing
jagged mountain backdrop at the
Northern coastal road, East of Hadibo
167  West of Hadibo starts the
narrow Ayhaft Valley surrounded
by towering mountains
168  Leafless trees rise like
skeleton towards the sky
11th Day: February 19th, 2011: – Departure Day
It is 6am. We are ready to be picked up by Ahmed to bring us to the airport. Where is he? Half an hour later the LandCruiser shows up and soon afterwards we arrive at the small airport where 10 days ago we landed full of expectations. Was it worth the US$ 1’150 which we now hand over to Ahmed? It definitely was worth it! With a strong handshake, we say good-bye to our driver – the guide had to sleep late; the boss of the organization, Meetaq, is anyway again in Qalansiya with a new tour group. We have been together for ten unforgettable days. Not everything went always smooth, but it was always him who was eager to make it work.
169  The rocky track to the Ayhaft
Valley has given us a good shaking
170  All kind of trees and bushes grow
on the stony slopes of the Ayhaft Valley
171  The tiny village of Ayhaft is
surrounded by bizarre mountain scenery
When the plane of Felix Airways takes off and flies along the coast, the captain is speaking. He points out to the sites we are passing over. We hardly left them and are already dreaming of them again – of the Detwah lagoon, the Shouab sandy beach and all the other wonderful spots of this unique island – one of the last nature jewels of the world? How much longer yet?
172  Leaving Socotra, far below us we see
the serene Detwah lagoon. At the upper side
lies the campsite and just behind Qalansiya
173  The Western cliffs and the
above laying sandy beach of
Shouab are well visible
174  A last glimpse of beautiful
Yemen when we make a
stopover at Mukhalla
More websites from Yemen, where we visited in February 2011 the Island of Socotra: (without our vehicle)
  • Yemen car trip (from Oman to Saudi Arabia)  - with our car from May 16th to June 15th, 1996
  • Part 1: Socotra Island trip in Yemen (East) Hadibo - Dihamri - Arher Beach
  • Part 2: Socotra Island trip in Yemen (South) Homhil - Aomak Beach - Wadi Daerhu - Dicksam Plateau
  • Part 4: United Arab Emirates Sharjah - Dubai