Socotra Information (SOCOTRA ISLAND)

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    Background:
    Socotra Island is an attractive natural landscape. God bestowed it with distinct bio-diversity rich in creatures and beautiful plants. These characteristics have rendered it one of the world's most important ecology islands and placed it at the top of the interests for GFF, which took up the responsibility of funding the biodiversity protection campaign and sustainability of the island's natural resources. Socotra Island, in brief: a virgin land, rich in its wealth of rare and valuable plants, as well as rare animals and birds which do not exist in any part of the world, in addition to its strategic location on the coast of the Arabian Sea and the International navigation route. These are factors which undoubtedly encourage tourists from everywhere to visit this Yemeni island with its considerable and attractive benefits. It is indeed a treasure of dreams and a sealed box of hopes full of all sources of happiness and delights. The plentitude of trees and rare plants, estimated at more than 900 species, of which about 300 are considered rare, have made it among the most ecologically favored islands of the world. It is also distinct in having about 190 species of birds of which 8 are not found anywhere else in the world. Visitors can see birds living the tranquility and splendor of life on the island. .
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    Location and area:
    The Socotra Archipelago consists of the mountainous main island of Socotra, and three smaller islands, Abd Al Kuri, Samha, and Darsa. The area of Socotra is about 135 km by 45 km and covers an area of 3625 km2. It located southeast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean, about 501 km away from the coast. The island lies over 500 miles south-east of Aden and about 300 miles from Mukalla, the port of the Hadramawt. Besides Socotra, more than 112 Yemeni islands are scattered in the Red Sea. Socotra is one of the most isolated piecesof land on earth. The island probably detached from Africa as a fault block during the Middle Pliocene (about 6 million years ago) in the same set of rifting events that opened the Gulf of Aden to the north west. .
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    The monsoon season and Climate:
    A ready assumption might be that weather on Socotra is predominantly hot and dry. Certainly it is hot, but the island is strongly affected by the Indian Ocean monsoon with stiff south-westerly winds during June, July and August. In the past, prior to an air connection with the mainland, these winds and associated heavy seas cut Socotra off for three months a year. The winds abate during September and finish by the mid of same month. The rains fall mainly during November and December, with a yearly average of 160 mm, although this is highly variable from year to year. January to March offers the best weather with cool temperatures and little or no rain the months of April and May are hot with daytime temperatures well above 40˚C.
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    Socotra from historical way:
    Historically, the island has been renowned as one of the main producers of Frankincense, Myrrh and Laudanum of the best quality. Such commodities were used in temples during the religious rites in the ancient times. Also remedies have been extracted from the island's plants, such as "Cinnabar" (a red substance produces by the Two Brothers Blood Trees) and Taif or Aloe Perry extract.
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    Geography and Geology:
    Topographically it can be divided into three main zones. The coastal plains vary considerably in width, up to about 5 km. A limestone plateau extends across most of the island, averaging 300-700 m in altitude. This plateau drops in steep, often almost vertical, escarpments to the coastal plain or directly to the sea. It is dissected by a number of deep valleys. The higher Mountains in the north-west of the island rise up to a height of 1519 m. Socotra Island had remained in isolation and off-limits to visitors till president Ali Abdullah Salih opened the island's first tarmac airstrip in 1999. Before that, it used to be accessible only by small turbo-prop planes and only outside the monsoon season. Now,Yemenia have two weekly flights by jetliners, one on Monday from Aden and the second on Friday from Sana’a. these flights give an opportunity for tourists to visit the island. .