socotra-archipelago

Located approximately 150 miles east of the Horn of Africa and 240 miles south of the Arabian Peninsula, the four islands that comprise the archipelago have remained largely untouched despite over two thousand years of human settlement, having long been used as a trading base upon the Indian Ocean. In fact despite having a very dry climate that might otherwise be very harsh over 825 species of flora and fauna have thrived in this isolation with over a third of them being found nowhere else on Earth. Take the Dragon Blood tree whose red-coloured resin among other things was once used for the staining of stringed instruments produced by the world-renowned Stradivarius family is just one of many unique species found here.

dragonsblood-tree

Like the more famous Galapagos Islands the Socotra Archipelago provides a window into species that might stretch back some twenty million years, and the reason it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2008. Unfortunately while all of this might make it seem like an ideal beach getaway the archipelago doesn’t really have the infrastructure in place for tourism as travel to the main island still very uncommon, and if the July 2011 report by the Reuters news agency holds true, is currently being used by Somali pirates as a refueling port for their raids.

Below is a short two minute Weather Network video showing you what the archipelago is like: