SOCOTRA ISLAND….waiting to be discovered
Some call it the world’s most abnormal getaway while others call it the jewel of Yemen. Either way you see it, the Socotra Island embraces all these features because of its unique cultural tradition. The island is also held by some to be the location of the original Garden of Eden. It is a place of botanical and zoological treasures nurtured by many generations of islanders. For hundreds of years, the Socotra Island has been under the radar of early explorers and naturalists. During prehistoric times, the uniqueness of the island attracts not only scientist but also naturalist and eco-tourism enthusiasts.
It is the world’s tenth richest island for endemic plants and the biggest island in the Middle East stretching to about 125 kilometers in length and 45 kilometers across.
Long ago the Socotra Island was a part of Africa and Arabia, now separated by Aden. The isolation from the outside world for about 20 million years favoured the evolution and conversation of new species.
The island is part of the archipelago in the Indian Ocean, so isolated that a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. Famous among these threes are the dragon’s blood tree
that look like flying saucers perched on trucks. Also found on the island is Adenium Socotranum which are trees that look like elephants legs with pink flowers on top.
Birds like the Socotra sun-bird, Socotra starling, and Socotra grosbeak are found nowhere else on earth.
Tourism on the island is at its early stage of development. However, the Socotra Island is visited by about 2000 tourists on average. It attracts people with its rich flora and fauna unfettered by world progress. Hopefully the rich biodiversity and socio-cultural heritage will not lose its appeal considering the increase of popularity despite the fact that already many popular sites in the world have been altered by the tourist flow.