Visit The Alien Island of Yemen


The landscape of remote Socotra Island looks as if it comes from a sci-fi film but in fact has evolved to look so other-worldy as the 'lost world' island has been separated from mainland Africa for between six and seven million years.
Much like the Galapagos Islands, which are known for their incredible array of wildlife, Socotra Island is home to around 800 rare species of flora and fauna, around a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet.
Nestled in the Indian Ocean some 250km away from Somalia and 340km from Yemen, the island's harsh environment includes wide sandy beaches, limestone caves and towering mountains, but is for the most part very hot and dry leading to the distinctive appearance of its plants.

However, the name could also have come from the Arabic 'sug' meaning market and 'gotra,' which translates as dripping frankincense. As well as the funky flora, the island is home to 140 species of birds, 10 of which can only be found on the Socotra, such as the Socotra starling, sunbird, bunting, sparrow and golden-winged grosbeak.
Many of the native species are now endangered as they have been hunted by non-native feral cats.
Interestingly there are no amphibians native to the island and only one native mammal - the bat - but 90 per cent of reptiles are endemic to Socotra, including rare skinks, legless lizards and one species of chameleon.

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