Uncovering the Bizarre Plant Life on the Most Unusual Island on Earth.


Tucked away in the turquoise expanse of the Indian Ocean lies Socotra, a petite island governed as an offshore territory by Yemen. It sits approximately 220 miles away from the mainland.


Socotra, a small island that belongs to Yemen as an offshore territory, is situated in the Indian Ocean. Despite being 220 miles away from the mainland, the island hosts a diverse range of unique flora and fauna, with 30% of its plant life exclusive to the region. For this reason, it has earned its nickname as the “most alien-looking place on Earth.”

As a UNESCO-certified World Natural Heritage Site, Socotra has three distinct geographical terrains, including coastal plains, a limestone plateau with caves, and the Haghier Mountains. Despite its size, spanning only 83 miles long and 28 miles north to south, the island’s limited rainfall accounts for its unusual plant life, such as the dragon’s blood tree with its red sap and umbrella-shaped top, as well as giant succulent and cucumber trees.

Alongside its rich flora, Socotra also boasts endemic fauna, including several bird species only found on the island, and over 90% of reptiles are specific to the region, including legless lizards. Bats are the only native mammals, but feral cats have also made their way to this fascinating destination.

Although it is possible to visit Socotra, it is not for those who struggle with roughing it. The island has limited infrastructure and minimal public transportation, but they offer eco-friendly bicycling alternatives and motorbike tours to allow visitors to fully explore this intriguing place.

Butter tree, Tylecodon paniculatus, Richtersveld National Park, Namaqualand, South Africa

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