Socotra Socotra Socotra Socotra Socotra Socotra

General Information

Area: 3 796 square kilometres

Population: 42 842 (2004 census)

State Party: Yemen

Capital: Hadibo

Currency: 1 Yemeni Rial (YER) =  100 Fils

Religion: Islam


Socotra Island is situated in the Indian Ocean (in the Arabian Sea) approximately 380 kilometres south of Yemen and 240 kilometres east of the coast of Somalia. Socotra is the largest and at the same time the only still inhabited island belonging to the four Socotra Islands; i.e. Samha, Darsa and Abd al Kuri. Administratively, Socotra is a part of Yemen but geographically the island is a part or Africa. The island measures 135 kilometres in length and 42 kilometres in width. The separation of the island from the Arabian and African mainland led to the creation of unique and endemic flora and fauna.

The central massif, Haghier, is composed of granite and metamorphic rocks. The highest mountain Skant, or the Granite Needle (located in Haghier), rises to 1 525 metres above the sea level. Socotra is also interwoven by cave systems, most of which have not been explored so far.

Whereas the plains of the island are covered with white coral sand, the plateaus are covered with bushes and bizarre dragon’s blood trees (Dracanea cinnabari), desert roses, myrrh trees, Boswellia and pomegranate trees. You will also be impressed by the contrast between the azure lagoons and the snow-white limestone plateau criss-crossed by deep canyons (so-called wadi).

The island’s long isolation led to the creation of unique and endemic (i.e. not found anywhere else in the world) fauna and flora, including over 300 kinds of plants, 24  different kinds of reptiles, 190 kinds of birds and over 300 kinds of invertebrates. Due to its singularity, Socotra is also called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean and was put on UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.