Live With A Passion

Socotra Is The Garden Of Eden On Earth

Posted in Travel & Culture by Word Of South on September 23, 2010

In the middle east you may find the most beautiful island and also one of the newest tourist places in the world.  Socotra Island is strangely different, almost everything about its wildlife, nature, fauna and flora and the bizarre formation of the rocks formations is evidently unique. Everything you’ll see and touch on your Socotra holiday is seldom found anywhere else.  Though this place seemed an alien-looking corner of the world; it is also considered the Garden of Eden on Earth due to its share of beautiful beaches and magnificent untouched coral reefs enticing scuba divers and snorkel into the warm Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean waters.

Land travelers,and divers alike enjoy exploring the unusual features the island.  On the island visitors can find unique animal and vegetables species that give Socotra a primordial look and undeniably, exquisite beauty.  More than 800 species of plants have been classified; the most famous is the Dragon Blood Tree whose name is derived from the fact that by carving its trunk it pours out a red resin, it is said by the ancient belief, to be the blood of the dragon. The birds species registered are 140 and every year more are added to the list.  In the deep water more than 800 different species of coral have been classified together with thousands of fishes and shellfishes.  Incredibly colourful coral can be found from 3,5 metres to 25.   These waters are suitable also for snorkelling and of great effect due to the numerous fishes and coral.

The whole island and its coasts are under the protection of the Yemeni Conservation and Development Authority that declared the island a “Naturally Protected Area” and, in collaboration with the Yemeni Tourism Authority produces a guide for eco tourism.

This makes Socotra holidays not only unique but a completely new destination to explore.

Travel Tips

Eco- friendly travelers to Socotra…

Nature has granted Socotra with many beautiful elements thus, locals strictly make sure everything has been preserved, much as respected and conserved.  Equally they are committed to the sole guardian of the island.

Tips when visiting the island:

  • Heed the advice of your guide at all times.
  • Don’t import or export any biological material or alien species from or to the Island.
  • Do not leave or throw any litter.
  • Don’t drop your cigarette buts anywhere –dispose of properly.
  • Don’t swim in sea or rivers unless your guide recommends it.
  • Don’t make erratic movements as this will frighten or aggravate the wildlife.
  • Don’t drive off the roads in game reserves and national parks.
  • Don’t raise your voice or speak loudly inside cave… whisper!
  • Don’t feed fishes (this creates dependency).
  • Don’t touch or damage corals.
  • Use only dead wood to set up a fire.
  • Ask permission before taking photographs of locals (specially women.)
  • Wear well covered dresses while you are in the town or in the villages or where are local people surrounding you because this offending the locals.
  • Don’t take shells and pieces of corals.
(Children might be asking you for money or sweets, bear in mind that it is not allowed to hand money over children ( by handing money to children you encourage begging) and the dental treatment is not readily available on the Island. We recommend handing out pens, pieces of paper and clothes.)

Support local business and community initiatives by buying local items rather than imported good.  For travel details you may see a travel agent offering a package for this.

For your information:

  • Socotra is considered the most biodiverse place in the Arabian sea, and is a World Heritage Site.
  • Dragon’s Blood Tree, a very abnormal looking umbrella-shaped tree which produces red sap.
  • The coral reefs around have a large number of endemic and weird species too.
  • The inhabitants of the mountains are living in caves. (They are nomads, descendants of an old South Arabian tribe speaking still the old Arabian dialect Soqotri related to the Mahri dialect.)
  • They live in primitive houses with roofs from palm leaves and tree stems.
  • During the date harvest they practice traditional customs and celebrations accompanied by spiritual dances.
  • The main cash income for the fishermen of the three inhabited islands (Darsa is uninhabited) is almost exclusively from the export of dried shark and shark fins to the mainland, where the meat is eaten locally and the fins re-exported for the lucrative far eastern trade.

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