Friday, December 18, 2009

Places I want to go to - Socotra

This is a place I want to go to at least once in my life! Socotra or Soqotra (Arabic سُقُطْرَى ; Suquṭra) is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean and is presently part of Yemen. Many blogs I've read regarding the place describe it as the most alien-looking place on Earth. I agree and you'll see why later. That's the reason why I want to go there!

The island is very isolated and DRB said it's been isolated from Mainland Africa for 6-7 million years, and so a third of its plant life is endemic to Soctra, in other words it's found nowhere else on the planet. If you're a plant or animal enthusiast, then this will be heaven on earth.

Socotra is famous for the so-called Dragon's Blood tree. It's a unique plant found only in Socotra, and you can see how its trunk suddenly spreads out into tiny branches in a mushroom-like manner. (photo thanks to besthike) It is called dragon's blood because the sap of the tree is a bright red color.

Another famous plant in Socotra is the Desert Rose (adenium obesium). People describe it as a blooming elephant leg. (img from fun2fun)

Another famous plant in Socotra is the Dorstenia Gigas. It's a very tough plant, and can plunge its roots down solid rock. (img from Flickr).

Apart from fascinating plant life, Socotra also has very unique animal life. According to ftiyemen, at least 80% of Socotra's reptiles are endemic. Some animals here include 20cm giant centipedes, huge spiders which spin yellow webs across woodland gaps, and the Egyptian vulture.

It's not just plants that are cool here. Check this out, Al Hajarah. (img via Christopher Fowler)

Or the beach, or the shipwrecks.

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