View Full Version : The Most "Alien"(Beautiful)-Looking Place on Earth , SubhanAllah!

09-07-2008, 03:56 PM

The Most "Alien"(beautiful)-Looking Place on Earth , SubhanAllah!

Socotra Island: you have to see it to believe it

We covered some otherwordly places before (see, for example, Bolivian Salt Lake, or The Richat Structure), but this island simply blows away any notion about what is considered "normal" for a landscape on Earth.

Imagine waking up on the Socotra Island and taking a good look around you (let's say your buddies pulled a prank on you and delivered you there, and lets also assume that you don't have any hangover from abuse of any substances). After a yelp of disbelief, you'd be inclined to think you were transported to another planet - or traveled to another era of Earth's history.

The second would be closer to the truth for this island, which is part of a group of 4 islands, has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years. Like the Galapagos Islands, this island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic, i.e. found nowhere else on Earth.

The climate is harsh, hot and dry, and yet - the most amazing plant life thrives there. Situated in the Indian Ocean 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen, the wide sandy beaches rise to limestone plateaus full of caves (some 7 kilometers in length) and mountains up to 1525 meters high.

The name Socotra is derived from a Sanscrit name, meaning "The Island of Bliss"... Is it the beaches? The isolation and quiet? or the strange and crazy botanical allure?

Alien-looking plants: H. P. Lovecraft's secret inspiration?

Was the famous Chtulhu myths creator aware of these forbidding mountains with their hauntingly weird flora (think of plant mutations from his "The Color out of Space") ? We almost tempted to call Socotra the other "Mountains of Madness" - the trees and plants of this island were preserved thru the long geological isolation, some varieties being 20 million years old...

We begin with the dracena cinnibaris or Dragon's Blood Tree, the source of valuable resin for varnishes, dyes, and "cure-all" medicine; also (predictably) used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy -

The branches spread out into the sky and from below appear to hover over the landscape like so many flying saucers... and from above they have a distinct mushroom look:

There is also the Desert Rose (adenium obesium) which looks like nothing so much as a blooming elephant leg:

Dorstenia gigas - apparently does not require any soil and sinks roots straight into the bare rock:

It also has a distinct personality and likes to smile for the camera:

Somewhat similar to the weird Dorstenia gigas, is this "bucha" vegetable, found as far north as Croatia.

Also found in Socotra's landscape is the ever-strange and extremely rare Cucumber Tree (dendrosicyos socotranum) - and yes, it's related to what's sitting in a pickle jar in your fridge:

Getting around can be a challenge, as there are almost no roads

Despite the fact that this island has around 40,000 inhabitants, the Yemeni govenment put in the first roads just 2 years ago - after negotiations with UNESCO, which has declared this island a World Natural Heritage Site. I would prefer a camel ride to what is bound to be a bumpy and slow 4x4 ride... It is a quiet and peaceful enclave in an otherwise troubled world. If you decide to visit there, you can forget about beachfront hotels and restaurants; this island is geared towards eco-tourism and sustaining the local economy and way of life.

This island is a birder's paradise as well, with 140 different species of birds; 10 of which are not found anywhere else in the world. A unique Socotra warbler, sunbird, starling, bunting, sparrow and cisticola are among the ones found here. There are also Socotra Cormorants:

Want to see some fairy-tale (and possibly haunted) shipwrecks? There are diving tours available.

To give you a glimpse of Socotra's and Yemen's in general totally unique architecture, check out this place located on the mainland:

Al Hajarah, Yemen - Walled city in the mist

this mysterious city in the foggy Yemen's Haraz Mountains can surely fire up imagination of anybody who decides to explore it:

SubhanAllah , How Beautiful is Allah's Creation :'(

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09-07-2008, 04:06 PM

Keep 'em coming akhi :thumbs_up

09-07-2008, 04:08 PM
AssalamuAlaykum Warahmatullah!

JazakAllahu khayran!

Ar-Rahman [55:49]
فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
Fabiayyi alai rabbikuma tukaththibani
55:49 Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-


Soulja Girl
09-07-2008, 08:37 PM

So cool... :statisfie "Blessed be Allah, the Best of creators." :)
I'd love to visit this play some day... :D


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09-07-2008, 08:59 PM

Jazakallah khair akhi

09-07-2008, 09:04 PM
lol when i first seen some of these pics i was like oh i know wheres that. its yeman. lol

jazakallah khair bro ur thread are really nice keep them coming. :)

09-07-2008, 11:57 PM

I guess Yemen Is a Beautiful Country :)
I hope To Go There InshaAllah One Day

09-08-2008, 12:05 AM
This Tree Looks Just Too Cool, SubhanAllah
Even The Name Is Cool " Dragon"s Blood Tree" :coolious:

09-08-2008, 03:57 AM
Are those peeps living on Socotra, Arabs?

09-08-2008, 09:18 AM
I knew some sisters from there lol. They came to dammaj to study. They have a whole different dialect of arabic. Its called suqatraa' in arabic btw. And those plants I've seen most of them before lol.

09-08-2008, 09:41 AM
^ lol We Live In Europe So We Dont See Such Plants :)


09-08-2008, 04:05 PM
bro guven u know that i like to take over ur threads.

sorry :-[



09-08-2008, 04:11 PM
No Problem Sis , You Can Do the Other Threads Too :D

Thats Some Amazing Pictures !! keep sharing :thumbs_up


09-08-2008, 04:59 PM

keep it up guvvy

09-08-2008, 05:19 PM
very nice

09-09-2008, 05:19 AM
masha allah

09-09-2008, 10:35 PM
yup yup you should see how it looks when u actually THERE. so beautifull!!

09-10-2008, 06:25 AM
JazakAllah for sharing the beautiful pics...
InshAllah I would love to go there and see the beauty first hand.

09-10-2008, 07:07 AM
All i can say is SubhanAllah.

Can't wait to visit this place, i love nature. Anyplace as beautiful as this will be in my list of places to visit. Insha Allah. Can't wait.


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