South of Aden is a unique tourist destination, a veritable paradise with rare species of plants and animals. Due to its biodiversity, Socotra archipelago is inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list since 2008.
The interior of the island is dominated by limestone plateau and Haghier Mountains. On the coast are natural beaches, sand dunes and palm trees. The waters surrounding it are rich in spectacular coral reefs.
Of the 825 species of plants that live on islands, 307 are endemic. Only Hawaii, New Caledonia and Galapagos exceed Socotra in this chapter.
The dragon blood tree - Dracaena cinnabar - is the best known and most representative plant on the island. It is an evergreen species, with the look of upside down umbrella. Tree name is inspired by its dark red sap.
The bottle tree (or the cucumber tree) - Dendrosicyos socotranum - the only plant of the family Cucurbitaceae growing in form of tree. The logs are juicy and at maturity, get the shape of bottles.
Frankincense produced from the sap of the Boswellia socotrana bush was one of most valuable products in the ancient world. Used in religious rituals, it was also used in medicine, cosmetics and cuisine.
Fauna of Socotra is also fascinating. Here live 180 species of birds, of which 6 species and 14 subspecies are endemic. Around 45 migratory birds transiting the island, some only nesting here. Also on the island of Socotra is the highest density of Egyptian Vultures.
The only mammal native of the island, is the bat, but here are living non- endemic feral cats too.
There are also many species of amphibians, reptiles and insects - 190 species of butterflies.
Marine life around the islands is also rich and diverse with numerous endemic species - nearly 700 species of fish, hard and soft corals, 300 species of crustaceans, mollusks, algae.
In addition, Socotra attracts tourists with hiking along trails of varying difficulty, rides on camels, surfing, diving for all ages and all levels, bird watching tours, fishing or just sunbathing on the beach.