Have you ever heard of Socotra Island? I bet you haven’t. The name Socotra is derived from a Sanscrit name meaning “The Island of Bliss”. Socotra is like an island from the Lost World, millions of years old. Known for decades as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, it is the world’s tenth richest island for endemic plant species. It is the biggest and the most beautiful island in the Middle East, 125 kilometers in length and 45 kilometers across. Everything is strangely different on the island: wildlife, nature, flora and fauna and the bizarre rock formations.
The island’s landscape is one of contrasts with isolated nature preserves and picturesque sandy beaches. If you walk around the island, you feel yourself being transported into a whole new world….like a world that you see in fantasy movies…or some of you may feel that you have travelled back in time to a different era. The island is teeming with 700 over extremely rare species of flora and fauna, about one third of which are endemic and can be found nowhere else in the world!
The plants look so alien, like a science fiction creation. Probably the most famous plant is the Dracena Cinnibaris or Dragon’s Blood Tree. The branches spread out and appear like a flying saucer hovering over the landscape.
There is another weird plant known as adenium obesium or the Desert Rose. Doesn’t the trunk look like an elephant leg?
This is the “butcha” vegetable.
And this is the dendrosicyos socotranum or the Cucumber Tree……..doesn’t it look weird?
The island has been declared a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although the island has over 40,000 inhabitants, there are almost no roads on the island. The island is geared towards eco-tourism and sustaining the local economy and way of life.
The island is a bird paradise with over 180 species of birds, 6 of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
If you are into diving, you should try the diving spots of the island. There are interesting shipwrecks for you to explore apart from the usual coral reefs and bountiful fishes.
Oh gosh……what a paradise.