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Where is Socotra? Mystifying archipelago located just hundreds of miles from Yemen

Updated on May 10, 2014
The Socotra Archipelago
The Socotra Archipelago | Source

Where is Socotra? A magical beautiful place from Indian Ocean

The Socotra Island, one of the strangest environments for anyone to witness with odd-looking trees, and endemic animals such as birds that no other places this on earth have.

Perhaps soon to be one of the latest addition to the new seven wonders of the world, where on this remote island the number of human population only a little more than forty thousands of people.

The Socotra’s natives speak their own language, the exotic Semitic Soqotri, one of its kinds and spoken only in this remote place.

Socotra was derived from a Sanskrit word which means the island of happiness.

The socotra beach
The socotra beach | Source

If you have the chance to visit this island I think you’ll be pretty much amazed and mesmerized by the magical views and yet the distinctive atmosphere of nature this island is renowned for, thus might create new emotional attachment as well as unimaginable sensation.

Nevertheless, I think the name island of happiness quite represent the way visitors feel about this amazing place. What makes Socotra even more special?

The fact that some of the floras that grow there are endemic and have been growing there for millions of years.


Island of Socotra brief history

In the past the natives of island of Socotra’s religion belief was Christian and besides they reputedly practiced sorcery. In 1507 Portuguese military troops landed on the island and tried to stop the Arabian trades’ route from the red sea to Indian Ocean.

However the Portuguese invasion failed as the locals’ stood against them.

In the year 1511, the sultanate of Mahra took over the island. Finally after 456 years in 1967 the island of Socotra became part of Republic of Yemen.

Blood Dragon Tree Forest
Blood Dragon Tree Forest | Source

Where is Socotra? The only island in the world with unique habitat that makes it looks like has mysteriously landed from another planet

Island of Socotra the biggest Yemeni island, covering almost 3800 square kilometers archipelago has formed a completely different new world.

However this wonderland somehow viewed like an outsider to surrounding countries includes Yemen itself.

The island of Socotra with the beautiful white sand beaches has tropical desert climate with average temperature of 18 degrees Celsius sometimes can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Over the past few decades the Government of Yemen has been protecting the island’s natural heritage by keeping away any outside civilizations and influences.

In addition future tourism programs and promoting this reclusive island to international communities are strictly limited.

I think the Socotra should never get introduced officially or aggressively to the world for a while and for near future before they can really protect the natural heritage, the real treasure that this archipelago has.

I do hope so, otherwise the moment more tourists come to this place the more chances that the natural habitat gets threatened.

As far as I know, with UNESCO, the government of Yemen keeps on minimizing further infrastructures or any commercial developments to preserve the natural habitats and to keep this island originality just like hundred even thousands of years ago.

I hope there are regulations that inhibit tourism industries from trying to build hotels, or any resort areas on the Socotra Islands.

Anyway, Socotra consists of four different islands, the biggest share the same name, the Socotra, and three other smaller islands, Darsa, Samhah, and Abd Al Kuri.

The highest peak on the island, the Haggier Mountain, 1500 meter above sea level, and they known for the infamous dragon blood tree.

A markersocotra -
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Where is Socotra Island in Yemen located?

The land of aliens, island of Socotra located just around 380 kilometers 380 south of Ras Fartak of Yemen, west of Aden gulf, east of the horn of Africa, and north of Somalia.

The island of Socotra, the one location with most of floras and faunas are unknown and never seen before in other words they could NOT be found in all other places on earth.

More interesting facts are the floras are endemic and rare which mean they only can be found on those four islands.

Some species are predicted to reach 20 million years of existence. One of the famous plant species that makes Socotra famous is the iconic dragon blood tree, or locals would refer as blood of the two brothers.

The birds of Socotra such as the grosbeak Socotra rhynchostruthus socotranus, Socotra sparrow insularis, and Socotra starling onychignathus frater, are endemic as well, which might become endangered if NOT protected under seriously committed conservation programs.

Anyhow, there have been small developments in term of infrastructures, such as airport, roads and schools.

However, the Government of republic of Yemen has carefully planned for eco-tourism program and any further progress made on these islands.

The Yemen government fully aware their national treasure and has realized by protecting the natural properties of Socotra way more valuable other than benefiting from possible huge revenues generated from larger scale commercial tourism industries.


The iconic blood dragon tree of Socotra Island

This amazing looking tree, with a shape like umbrella is the famous dragon blood tree of Socotra.

The appearances not the only thing that make this dragon blood tree stand out above the rest, and perhaps one of the main causes why this Socotra archipelago is so famous for. Inside the tree is the precious red sap that proven effective to heal wounds.

The name of blood dragon tree or Dracanea Cinnabari came from this red sap, carrying healing properties with them.

Besides the Socotra Island, the dragon blood trees are also commercially cultivated in the mainland of Yemen for the sap or red resin, sold to many pharmaceutical industries for various purposes.

Later this dragon blood tree’s saps are used to treat stomach problems, cure respiratory diseases, as well as relieve the blood coagulants issue.

Another types of trees that you might find interesting are the huge tree of Dorstenia or cucumber tree, and the rare Socotra pomegranate tree, punica protopunica.



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    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      Sandyspider thanks!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      It does look like a magical place.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      jojo29 thank you for leaving a comment, I hope you enjoyed reading this hub

    • jojo29 profile image

      Jane Boucheirre 5 years ago from CA

      Thanks for dropping by on one of my hub. Never knew that the place Socotra exists. Great info.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      heatblast92 yes the tree name is quite interesting, and thank you for stopping by and leave a comment...

    • heatblast92 profile image

      heatblast92 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Voted up a great hub, especially about the dragon blood tree. What a delectable way to name a tree. :)

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      alocsin glad that you enjoyed reading this hub and found it interesting, thanks for the vote...

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Never actually considered Yemen as one of my top places to visit. But now that you've introduced Socotra and it's wonderful environment to me, I just may stop by. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      Mhatter99 , Thank you for dropping by and leave a comment

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this. It looks make-believe.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      Patty Kenyon, I hope you will get to see this place someday, thanks for the comment and for the vote..

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Wow, extremely Beautiful and definitely a place I would love to see!!!

      Voted Up, Awesome, and Beautiful!!!

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      ginjill ashberr, I was also surprised the first time I learned about this place, and you are right It must have been not easy to keep such uniqueness all these while. Thank you for your comment, and hope you will get the chance to visit this place someday...

    • ginjill ashberry profile image

      Ashley TKL 5 years ago


      I have never thought there was a place like this. How did they manage to keep such uniqueness hidden all these while. Yemen yet. It is good thing, nevertheless; we all know what commercialisation does to nature. Thank you for sharing. The dragon's blood tree is very intriguing. Perhaps, one day I am able to visit.

      Ps: Shared to FB.