Visiting the island of Socotra in Yemen
can seem like you’re on another planet.
More than 30% of the island’s plant life,
including the dragon blood tree that
bleeds bright red sap when it’s cut, isn’t
found anywhere else on earth. SourceSource 2
Nestled within the blue waters of the Indian Ocean is Socotra, a
small island that’s an offshore territory of Yemen. Located 220 miles
from the mainland, the isolated environment is home to many unique flora
and fauna—in fact, 30% of its plant life doesn’t grow anywhere else.
This has appropriately earned it the nickname “the most alien-looking
place on Earth.”
Socotra is a UNESCO-certified World Natural Heritage Site and boasts
three geographical terrains: coastal plains; a limestone plateau with
caves; and the Haghier Mountains. At only 83 miles long and 28 miles
north to south, that’s a lot of variety in a relatively small place.
Rainfall is limited, which accounts for unique plant species such as the
dragon’s blood tree with its red sap and umbrella-shaped top, in
addition to giant succulent and cucumber trees.
Like its rich flora, Socotra is also home to endemic fauna. Several
species of birds can only be found on the island, and over 90% of the
reptiles are specific just to this land—including legless lizards. Bats
are the only mammals native to Socotra, although non-native feral cats
have found their way to the wonderfully strange locale.
While you can visit Socotra, it’s definitely a trip for those who
don’t mind roughing it. Infrastructures are limited with minimal public
transportation—they instead offer an eco-friendly bicycling alternative
as well as motorbike tours that let you ride across this intriguing land.
Socotra Island - in the Republic of Yemen - is one of the most bizarrely beautiful places in existence, teeming with over 700 extremely rare species of plants and animals. A third of them are found nowhere else on earth.
Sea of white (Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean, 240km east of the Horn of Africa). Due to its extreme isolation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on Earth. The pic links to a blog with photos of some of the outlandish flora found in this magical place.