Thursday, December 18, 2008


Life on Socotra Island is unsurpassed in its solitary exquisiteness

Socotra is one of the most isolated landforms on earth. The island can easily be considered alien because of its extraordinary species of flora and fauna, which is found nowhere else on earth. The fierce seas of the Indian Ocean has kept this island hidden from mankind for most of the 20th century. Belonging to the Republic of Yemen, it is one of the small islands off the coast of the 'Horn of Africa'. The harsh, desert-like island is a habitat for a range of phenomenal plants.

Shaped like a giant mushroom, the Dragon’s Blood tree spreads out into the sky. It is believed that the tree is a valuable source for varnishes, dyes and all-purpose medicine. The Desert Rose which is simply described as a ‘blossoming elephant leg’ is also unique to the island. Despite the Desert Rose’ odd appearance, what makes it even more unique is that it apparently does not rely on soil to flourish. It’s powerful roots grows straight into rock.

Also found in Socotra's ever-strange landscape is the extremely rare Cucumber and Fig trees. The Cucumber tree, true to it’s name, looks like...well...a blooming cucumber. The Fig tree has a swolen trunk that retains water.

This island is also home to 140 various species of birds, 10 of which are also found nowhere else on earth, these species include the Socotra warbler, Sunbird, Starling, Bunting, Sparrow and Cisticola.

You can forget about beachfront hotels and restaurants; this island is geared towards eco-tourism and sustaining the local economy and way of life. Yhe Yemeni government put in the first roads just two years ago - after negotiations with UNESCO, which has declared this island a World Natural Heritage Site.

The Dragon Blood Tree

The Desert Rose in bloom

The roots of the Desert Rose sinks right into rocks

The Cucumber Tree

The Fig Tree


  1. Fantastic photos! I have a thing for trees. Wish I could see them in person, but don't think a trip to Yemen would ever be in my future.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. wow I saw David Attenborough's "life where they have great footage of this amazing island. I want to go and see it for myself. Here in south africa in the Richtersveld we have the Kokerboom and the halfmens which are also bizarre trees. Google it!
    Cheers. Cornell Karsten - Cape Town

  3. damn i wish i could eat that tree so i could get fuuuuuuuucked up!

  4. now i know where im moving im going to build a home there and be the guardian of Socotra Island!!!!!!!!!!!!!!