Did you know that Yemen has some really, really… and I mean REALLY fascinating islands? Welcome to Socotra. This island along with three more small islands are home of the fourth largest island group on Earth with the most endemic plant species per square mile. The three island groups ahead on the list? Seychelles, New Caledonia, and Hawaii.

“Two hundred twenty miles across the Arabian Sea from the rest of troubled Yemen, Socotra was once a legendary place at the edge of maps of the known world. For sailors it was fearsome, with dangerous shoals, ferocious storms, and residents who were believed to control winds and turn ships toward shore for capture and plunder. Today Socotra’s rich biological diversity brings new explorers, who hope to learn its secrets before the modern world changes it forever.” (National Geographic)

We can perhaps thank climate change, progress, and goats for the increasing scarcity of the plants on this island.

 

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Desert Rose, aka Bottle Tree (source: Pintrest)
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Cucumber Tree (source: Mother Nature Network)
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Dragon’s Blood (source: Voyage Nation) Featured on Yemen’s 20 Rial coin!

This UNESCO World Heritage Site’s plants are so exotic that 1/3rd of them cannot be found anywhere else in the world. (International Science Times)

“Visitors who do make it are treated to a living museum set against an eerie, seemingly uninhabitable landscape. A colossal limestone plateau covers most of the island, sliced across the middle by the jagged granite Hajhir Mountains that can be visited on foot or by camel. Monsoon rains cut through the soluble limestone to create an elaborate network of gigantic caves, and underground freshwater streams pour out of cliff-side cave openings high above the shoreline. Some of the drier caves can be explored. Local children — who chatter away in their unwritten, pre-Islamic language of Socotri — will lead you down mile-long tunnels that open up into ballroom-size caverns with menacing stalactites that shimmer under the flashlight. On occasion you’ll find a 3-foot Socotran pygmy cow, grazing on mosses deep inside.” (Time)

Interested in travel information??? Visit: Dream Island. The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. http://socotra.info/ It’s kind of unbelievable that this place exists in the same country currently in the middle of a war, let alone on our planet.

 

 

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