Socotra’s environment and flora are remarkably unique, resembling scenes from a comic book by Brazilian author Leo. Comparable in size to Mallorca, Socotra hosts only 40,000 inhabitants. In 2008, its extraordinary biodiversity earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This small land, straddling the borders of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, was once part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Scientists believe some species here have survived for over 20 million years. The Socotra Dragon Tree, or Dragon’s Blood Tree, distinguished by its red sap, stands as the island’s emblem. Locals use its resin in various medicinal remedies. Equally peculiar is the sand rose, notable for its disproportionately large trunk and pink canopy. Socotra is also a vital stopover for numerous migratory bird species. The island features diverse landscapes, including long white sandy beaches, rocky plateaus with numerous cavities, and mountains reaching 1500 meters above sea level.
Adventurous Exploration of Socotra
Socotra isn’t a typical tourist destination. Maritime access is limited to cargo ships docking at a port 5 km from Hadibu, the largest city with 8,000 residents. The island experiences two monsoon seasons: from June to October and in April/May. Additionally, the proximity to the Somali coast, known for piracy, discourages boat travel. The island’s economy relies on fishing, date farming, and some ecotourism, which has recently grown. An airport opened in 1999, reducing Socotra’s isolation. With its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the government constructed the island’s first paved roads, adding to its accessibility. A trip to Socotra promises an authentic and unique experience.