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The Island of Socotra

  • The Island of Socotra

Socotra Island is one of the most beautiful and amazing, just incredible places on Earth. In desert there is severe enough conditions to survive here and unique species of flora and fauna. Thanks to the special isolation of the island a lot of the local flora and fauna species are no longer found in any corner of the world.

Geography

Socotra Island is part of the state Yemen that is located in the north-western Indian Ocean, 250 kilometers off the coast of Africa, and about 350 km south of the Arabian Peninsula. It is part of the archipelago of Socotra. Relatively modest size of the island – only 134 km long and 43 km wide - does not interfere with him to be among the most important centers of the Earth's biodiversity.

In Sanskrit "Sokotra" means the Island of Happiness. And it is easy to agree - the incredible violence of the botanical charm coexists here with this isolation, silence and huge white sand beaches. Because of its unique nature, which has been preserved since prehistoric times, this island attracts not only experts and scientists from around the world, but all lovers of ecotourism and calm, measured rest. Socotra is one of the few places in the world where progress has not spoiled due man's relationship to the surrounding nature and to himself.

 

The island is famous for its unusual landscape, which can be taken as a decoration to a fantastic film about a heavenly civilization. In the east and center of the island it is dominated by mountain ranges with sharp peaks towering into the sky to a height of 1570 meters above. Mountain valleys are life-giving green oases. Steep slopes overhanging the plain coast or just above the raging waves, limestone plateaus, located at the intersection of all winds - all this is amazing scenery of Socotra.

Socotra Island - it's a piece of the African continent with the mountainous terrain. This part of the continental plate is separated from Africa about 6 million years ago. Once in isolation, without the influence of the external world, the local nature has developed a special, private way, acquiring at the same unique features. The location of the island has been created excellent conditions for a large number of habitats of rare species of flora and fauna.

The fauna and flora

All terrestrial mollusks that live here, are 90% of reptiles, and one third of the plants are endemic, in other words found only on this island. The population of the endemic avifauna is the largest in the entire Middle East. On the island you can find about 140 species of birds. To endemicks belong Socotran starling, Socotran nectary, Socotran sparrow.

In Socotra there are about 800 species of plants. Scientists say that the unique plants of the island are fragments of ancient terrestrial flora, extinct on the mainland for millions of years ago. Most famous are the dragon tree, cucumber tree, giant Dorsten and Desert Rose (Adenium Sokotranum), which resembles an elephant foot, decorated with delicate pink shoots.

 

Ancient legends say that in the Drakensberg dragon trees are bleeding and have magical healing properties. The resin of this tree has a blood-red color, it is actively used in cosmetics and medicine. Dragon tree is famous not only unusual color of the resin, but the original form of stem and crown. Tree branches extend to the sky, which gives them the appearance of huge mushrooms growing in the desert.

Cucumber tree can be seen only on the island of Socotra. It is unique in the world view of the tree plant family Cucurbitaceae. Its appearance resembles the baobab tree - thick, fleshy stem - up to a meter in diameter, small branches, pulling up a rare crown. Earlier this unique species are often met on the island, but due to active use for commercial purposes, its population has decreased dramatically. And its name cucumber tree obtained through the fruit, like a cucumber, but strewn with lots of spikes. .

Desert Rose (Adenium Sokotranum) does not look like a rose, but still lovely. This plant is considered to be one of the most beautiful colors of the desert. Tree trunk is thick and fleshy, may include several fused stem shoots. Adenium height reaches more than 3.5 meters, and the diameter of the trunk is 2.4 meters. Some members of the species can grow up, and others are growing in breadth, becoming almost flat flanks. Short branches of the tree form a crown decorated with pink flowers. Desert Rose is a slow-growing and very rare tree. Dorsten is a giant tree that does not require any soil - it can grow directly on the bare rock.

Entertainment


Tourists who come to Socotra, are offered a variety of hiking in the mountains Haggier, towering over the city Hadibo; fascinating ornithological tours through the valleys and coasts, as well as visiting numerous caves and sea excursions to the small rocky islands of the archipelago, which was chosen by a wide variety of bird species. Socotra island also attracts by diving, windsurfing and kiteboarding. But the infrastructure is developed still pretty weak, so you need to plan a trip in advance: before coming to the island to communicate with local guides, book hotels, and carry all the necessary equipment for water sports.

Along the entire coast of the island of Socotra stretched beaches. In quiet bays and lagoons of the northern and south-western parts of the island beaches stretch of white coral sand. Here you can have a great time: sunbathe, swim and go snorkeling. Mask and snorkel you should bring with you as rental equipment on the island there. The rest of the island's beaches are composed of pebbles.

Diving on Socotra is the best in the period from February to March, when the north-east monsoon winds subside, the sea calms down, and the underwater visibility improves. There are no well-equipped dive centers on the island Sokotora, as Socotra Association of the protection of biodiversity believes that the development of this type of tourism have a negative impact on the preservation of the unique nature of coastal waters. To the places of diving you have to go on a normal fishing boat, with a boat hired in the areas protected by the state, it is impossible. The most popular dive sites are located on the northern coast of the island of Socotra. During the dive you can see more than 200 species of coral and 700 species of fish and whales, stingrays, manta rays, sharks, barracudas, fish monks, lobsters and moray eels. The local underwater world is so rich and varied that sometimes divers because of the numerous shoals of fish do not see the day light. You can dive on other islands of the archipelago, where there are large sea creatures.

The best conditions for windsurfing are marked on the island of Socotra in the summer (June to September), when the sustained southwesterly monsoon winds blow. At this time gusts of the wind often reach to 30 m / s. The most popular places are the surroundings of Hadibo and Kalansa, capes Ras Arcelia in the eastern part of the island and Schaub in the western part of the island, as well as the south-east coast of the island.

In recent years, the island of Socotra is becoming increasingly popular among lovers of kite. Kiters go here in winter during the northeast monsoon. The best place to practice kite is the northern coast of the island of Socotra.

Tours in the direction of: The Island of Socotra
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from € 2800
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from € 2400
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