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Socotra's Geography

General Information

  1. Area:  3796 km²
  2. Capital/administrative center: HADIBO
  3. Population: cca 65 000 inhabitants (according to the 2022 census)
  4. Religion: Islam
  5. Language: Soqotri/Arabic
  6. National composition: Socotrans/Afro-Arabs
  7. Telephone code: +967
  8. Currency: 1 Yemeni rial (YER) = 100 fils (according to the unofficial exchange rate 1USD = approx. 900-1200 rials)
  9. Highest point: Skant - "granite needle" - 1525 m.


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, Hagher, is composed of granite and metamorphic rocks. The highest mountain Skant, or the Granite Needle (located in Hagher), 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.


The largest city of Hadibo

Hadibo does not fulfill the idea of a typical capital city in the true sense of the word, for a tourist from the West it rather resembles a kind of village with a greater concentration of inhabitants. The environment looks somewhat disorganized, the buildings seem to lack architectural order and mutual integrity. Even so, Hadibo breathes on you with its unique and impressive atmosphere based on its unmistakable uniqueness and raw idiosyncrasy. You will also find several lower-class hotels in the city center a few simpler canteens, restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores.

So far, the island has only one asphalt road stretching along the coast and connecting the northern and southern parts of the entire island.

It connects the airport with the largest city of Hadibo. The other roads take the form of paved dirt and stony paths.

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