The northwestern part of Indian Ocean houses one of the world's finest archipelagos, the mountainous Socotra, where people are as beautiful as the land. Characterized by unique spectacular vegetation and breathtaking unspoiled natural beauty, Socotra Islands form part of the Yemen republic and are located about 350 kilometers south of the Arabian Peninsula. Covering a land area of 3,650 square kilometers, and populated mainly by Muslims, Socotra comprises the administrative districts of Hadibo and Qalansiya, which also include the islands of Abdul Kuri, Darsa and Samhah. Hadibo is the administrative capital of Socotra where most people have settled down. Though Hadibo houses only 4 hotel accommodations, which are very simple and far from being big and luxurious, and very few public restrooms with simple eating facilities, nevertheless, Socotra is considered a majestic and blissful island.
People speak of Socotra as the 'jewel' of biodiversity in the Arabian Sea, boasting tropical sunshine, exotic flora and fauna (with more than 900 species of plants), gorgeous beaches, as well as pristine coral reefs offering enticing scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.
The climate in Socotra Islands is tropical desert, with temperatures hovering between 37C in summer and 29C in winter. Socotra experiences hot summers and short, rainy winters. April, July and August are the driest months, while December is the wettest month when the monsoon season begins bringing strong winds and rain showers occurring across days.
Some interesting facts about Socotra:
- The Socotrans greet each other by touching their noses.
- Socotra has been known for pearl fishery since the earliest times.
- Socotra has been a refuge for pirates for over centuries.
- You can find 5 wildlife reserves in Socotra.
- Qualanisya is a small fishing village, a 'must go' place where you will have the opportunity to be close to the spectacular Shoab Beach, situated on the southwestern shore of Socotra. The charming village is home to traditional houses and narrow alleyways, the incredible Qualanisya beach and the Detwah Lagoon which is perhaps one of the most beautiful spots on the whole island.
- Arhner (Arrarr) is another fascinating part of Socotra, boasting enormous sand dunes, beautiful beaches, coral cliffs, fantastic rocks and small oases, nestled on the shore of the Arabian Sea.
- The Endemic Dragon's Blood Tree situated high up on Diksum Plateau in the centre of the island is one of the iconic natural features of Socotra. The tree is so named because any possible injury to the bark results in a deep red liquid that excretes from the scar. Here you can explore and experience Socotra's exotic nature, enjoy the fabulous panorama of the Daerhu canyon and swim in the freshwater pools.
- Haghier Mountain, located in the northwestern part of the island, is the highest mountain reaching 1525 meters, offering beautiful landscape and a wide variety of different trees.
- Wadi Shoq is another attraction in Socotra, where you will find palm plantations opening into rocky areas, which are a good locality for Socotra Scops Owl, a small, heavily streaked, grey owl heard readily in the evening, as it usually begins calling before dusk. On some of the taller palms you can find black-crowned Night-Heron, a relatively scarce species on Socotra.
If you have ever wanted to find yourself isolated in a tropical island, surrounded by breathtaking beauty, Socotra is a perfect destination for you.