Soqotra: the Alien Island

Soqotra is the most “alien-looking” island on Earth, having over 700 species found nowhere else on the planet.

The name Soqotra (Socotra) is derived from a Sanscrit name, meaning “The Island of Bliss”. The climate is harsh, hot and dry, and yet – the most amazing plant life thrives there. 

Situated in the Indian Ocean 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen, the wide sandy beaches rise to limestone plateaus full of caves (some 7 kilometers in length) and mountains up to 1525 meters high.

This island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. The trees and plants of this island were preserved through the long geological isolation, some varieties being 20 million years old. 




Human life on Soqotra

The inhabitants are of Arab, Somali, and South Asian origins. They follow the Islamic faith and speak Soqotri, a Semitic language. 

Their primary occupations have been fishing, animal husbandry, and the cultivation of dates. Almost all inhabitants of Socotra, numbering nearly 50,000, live on the homonymous main island of the archipelago.