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Socotra's deceiving desert landscape hides exotic flora and fauna

Stories

Socotra: sunken wrecks and dragon’s blood

Come with us as we explore a forgotten destination not for the faint-hearted: Socotra.

Words by Fred Hopkinson

For a relatively small island, Socotra packs in the interesting species. Over 90% of its mollusks and reptiles are found nowhere else in the world. Eye-catching oddities like the cucumber tree, the desert rose, and the dragon’s blood tree grows only in Socotra. These rare specimens are so intriguing and spectacular, that it’s worth making the long journey and skipping deftly through a war zone to witness them.

On a map, Socotra appears to have been broken off of the Horn of Africa by a giant and left adrift at the junction of several continental plates. Marooned between Somalia and Yemen, it’s a situation where one can only expect to encounter a certain heightened exoticism. 

For a relatively small island, Socotra packs in the interesting species. Over 90% of its mollusks and reptiles are found nowhere else in the world. Eye-catching oddities like the cucumber tree, the desert rose, and the dragon’s blood tree grows only in Socotra. These rare specimens are so intriguing and spectacular, that it’s worth making the long journey and skipping deftly through a war zone to witness them.

On a map, Socotra appears to have been broken off of the Horn of Africa by a giant and left adrift at the junction of several continental plates. Marooned between Somalia and Yemen, it’s a situation where one can only expect to encounter a certain heightened exoticism.