The landscape of the island of Socotra seems to come from a science fiction film, but in truth it has evolved to become so different from the world that the island “of the lost world” was separated from mainland Africa for six to seven million years. Like the Galapagos Islands, known for their incredible wildlife diversity, the island of Socotra is home to about 800 rare species of fauna and flora, about a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet. They are endemic species.
Nestled in the Indian Ocean about 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen, the island is surrounded by vast beaches of fine sand, limestone caves and imposing mountains, most of which are very hot and dry, hence the distinctive appearance of its plants.
The island’s trees and plants have evolved to adapt to its hostile climate and some plant varieties are 20 million years old. According to studies, only Hawaii, New Caledonia and the Galapagos Islands have more endemic species and it has been revealed that 307 of the 825 plant species could not be found anywhere else on Earth except on the island of Socotra.