What if I told you that this place on Earth seems to come straight from a Hollywood sci-fi movie? The jewel of biodiversity, Socotra island, is a part of an archipelago in the Arabian Ocean. After Yemen’s unification in the year 1990, this alien-looking island became a part of the Republic of Yemen. Standing isolated since the dawn of existence, i.e., a little less than twenty million years, Socotra separated from the Gondwanaland super-continent. Since then, in its solitude, it has developed an intricate mesh of flora and fauna.
Almost half of the island’s species are endemic, meaning that it is not found anywhere else on Earth. Thus, since its discovery, the island has attracted biologists, ecologists, archaeologists, and scientists alike. The National Geographic organization has also called it the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.” Out of 825 plant species found on this alien-looking land, it has nurtured 307 endemic species. The island also hosts 11 unique bird species and over 90% endemic reptiles and mollusks.
The alien-like flora
The Pearl of the Arabian Ocean, an untouched and barely discovered island with the most baffling flora that gives an eerie feel, has been termed” the strangest looking place on Earth.” The sweet and fragrant frankincense of the Boswellia trees, the bulbous subspecies of Adenium obesum (desert rose), paints the topography with uniqueness, color, and oddity. Two of the strangest trees are discussed below.
The tree with Dragon’s blood
True to its name, the tree is called so because of its gigantic structure and red sap. Due to the arid climate and less water, the sap has evolved to get this red color that helps them survive in such adverse conditions. It is an umbrella-shaped tree with a thick trunk and spiky leaves. Even the fruit of the tree turns red from black in its course of life.
A bottle for a tree
There’s this tree called Bottletree that looks like it has been annihilated from the ground and turned upside down as it is thick at the base with few leaves and flowers at the tip. Scientists believe that this weird-looking tree is twice as old as the island itself. It is speculated to be a relic of a progenitor lineage that became extinct ages ago.
People of Socotra
Socotra island is one place where people live in harmony with nature, rarely found in the modernized world. The island is barely inhabited by 60,000 people, with 42,000 natives. During the war of Yemen, many people took shelter in these alien lands and stayed there. Also, due to the same reason, many countries have set a ban on Yemen, making it difficult to get a travel pass there. You might have to make arrangements for food and lodging in these lands, as there are no formal hotels, restaurants, and means of transportation.
Thinking about visiting Socotra?
If you are someone who craves adventure and wants to experience the intricate details and mystic creations of Mother Nature, Socotra is the place to be. But, tourism in Socotra is not a piece of cake. However, it is on track for development, and there are few tourists’ agencies that organize trips to Socotra every year. If you are interested in getting a first-hand experience of this magical world, you might consider contacting them and setting off for an unearthly adventure this fall. Moreover, every mystic and exotic creations are unraveled and best experienced when approached with a blend of adventure, thrill, and determination.
Tourists who have been to the Socotra Island reported being thoroughly awestruck by this place’s oddity and weren’t regretful of their visit to get a visual treat of nature’s aura, ignoring all the adversities.