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Friday, September 5, 2008

The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth

Socotra 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. I had to look at this place on Google Maps when I first heard about it. Google Maps won't show you anything like the below pictures.

This island is teeming with 700 endemic species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

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.

You see that funny-looking tree in the top-right corner? Say hello to the dracena cinnibaris; or Dragon's Blood Tree, the source of valuable resin for varnishes, dyes, and "cure-all" medicine.

Socotra is derived from a Sanscrit name, meaning "The Island of Bliss"

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