The island of Socotra in the Arabia Sea off the coast of Yemen is the most remote land mass that was once part of the mainland. It separated some 5 million years ago, which has led to it evolving many species which are found nowhere else on earth. In fact, only the Galapagos and Hawaii have more endemic species, leading Socotra to be often called the Galapagos of Arabia.
Many of the species which have evolved are plants, including the Dragon's Blood Tree which is most associated with the island. This tree was named because of it's blood red sap, which was used by Roman gladiators as an antiseptic. The island is also known for the Socotra Desert Rose - the so-called Bottle Tree, that resembles a bulbous elephant's foot!
Socotra is an unspoilt ecological haven in the Arabian Sea. In splendid isolation it has developed its own flora, fauna and a thriving local culture. Known to the Romans, Ancient Greeks and Marco Polo, Socotra is emerging from the clouds of time as more tourists are coming to explore its unspoilt beauty and unique plant-life. An island paradise, even the name is said to derive from the Sanskrit dvipa sukhadhara meaning ‘island of bliss’.
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The Island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen
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Steve Davey is a writer and photographer based in London. For over twenty years he has travelled to some of the most remote, exotic and spectacular places on earth, photographing and researching a variety of features. Steve is the author of the Footprint Travel Photography and has launched a range of travel photography tours to show people some of the fantastic places he has travelled to whilst improving their photography