Socotra is a small island of the Republic of Yemen in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most isolated landforms on Earth of continental origin. Most of its plant life cannot be found anywhere else on this planet, particularly the stunning Dragon Blood Tree.
Recently, Omar AlSaadi of EDGE Cycling, alongside Sami Sauri, cycled through this vast, alien-like terrain, experiencing everything this amazing island and its people had to offer.
Read on for Omar's recap.
Socotra Series · Day One
Day 1 was certainly eye-opening for us. It was like travelling back to the 1950s. Where the internet didn't exist, and we were able to look up and around at the wonder that surrounded us.
The people of Socotra are very connected to nature, and even on day one, we felt more connected to the Earth and the people around us than ever before. Everyone we met was welcoming and interested in what we were doing. No one we met had seen cyclists roam the island before, but we always knew that it was our mission to show them that everything is possible on bikes!
One of our challenges on day 1 was the mountain climbs! 10% was the "warm up", and most climbs we endured reached 18 to 20%. Luckily, they were relatively short!
But the experiences that we had outweighed the challenges tenfold. From swimming in a natural infinity pool with sea views to seeing the incredible plant life that exists only on the island. We knew already that this place was truly special.
Socotra Series · Day Two
Waking up to birdsong and the view of the stunning Dragon Blood trees was truly magical. We ate breakfast while we soaked in our surroundings before setting off on our bikes for another day on this amazing island.
Whilst we were on the second day of our adventure, a cute family brought us a chameleon to see; this was incredible. We then continued to cycle through more amazing nature and plant life.
From the white sand beaches to the bright orange gravel and the piercing blue pools that we swam in before lunch, Socotra continued to surprise us in the most wonderful ways.
We finished day two riding into the capital as night came. The town came alive at night, and we ended our day eating the freshest fish, which went straight from the seller on his bicycle to the grill.
Socotra Series · Day Three
On the third day of our Socotra trip, we took a rest day - to refuel, recuperate and refresh for the final day of riding. We swam in the clear blue waters and experienced a magical moment when a turtle swam nearby! The corals, fish and other marine life were stunning - one of the best dives we had ever experienced.
Socotra Series · Day Four
Today saw us ride across the island, from the Arabian Sea to the Indian Ocean, through stunning nature and incredible scenery. This ride was different to the two days previous; the first half was paved and the second half on gravel. There were difficulties, of course; 1030 vm of climbs to navigate and zig-zagged trails to work through (though we could have gone straight forward!). But it was all worth it. Ending the ride on a pristine white sand beach after 90 km of riding was really rewarding.
An amazing highlight of the day was @samisauri taking part in a beautiful cultural moment with local women and children taking her into their homes and adorning her with Curcuma henna make-up (which ended up staying there for almost two days!).
Socotra Series · Day Five
The final day of riding was both exhausting and emotional as our inaugural trip to this amazing island came to an end.
We experienced a whole range of different terrains. Climbs and descents through sun and even rain clouds before settling in front of a stunning lagoon for the night. The next day we were lucky enough to fish for our final meal, eating with the locals and becoming more immersed in their lifestyle and culture.
Riding in the most alien place on earth was so unique. It was like we'd gone back in time and become so small in such a vast expanse on the island. This experience will stick with us forever - every day is so different.
From the plant life that only exists on Socotra to the people of the island who were genuinely interested in what we were doing and invited us into their homes and their families, if only for a short time. We thank you.
We can't wait to show more of the EDGE community this incredible place. Watch this space.
Follow Omar HERE