07 January, 2012

Socotra's Amazing Landscape

Amazing. Wonderful. Spectacular. Dramatic. Extraordinary. Unique. Exotic. Astonishing. A living museum. These are all words you can use to describe Soqotra. Superlatives only. On this Planet, no other place looks as alien and strange as this Archipelago. On this amazing Archipelago, of four islands - for every three animals or plants that you come across, at least one exists no where else but here. And the landscape is like no other you have ever set eyes on.

High up on the plateau, are these one of a kind trees which are the most prominent here: christened the dragon's blood tree by traders who believed that its crimson sap was actual dragon's blood with medicinal properties.
Where else can you see such an extraordinary sight as above? Soqotra's uniqueness was recognized in 2008 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Natural World Heritage Site.
Hills. Mountains. Palms. And other amazing plants. That is Suqutra.
And streams. Many streams.
Natural salt pans.
The salinity of the water, creates these vivid, wonderful colors.
During the Monsoon rainy season - flooded valleys and streams can be seen in many parts of the Island.
The rains too, form many ponds and pools. And enables the many rare plant forms to thrive.
Some of the pools here are rather very inviting for a swim.
With continuous human encroachment, can the magnificent dragon's blood trees thrive or even survive for long?
As rugged and inhospitable as it may seem - above and below - life thrives here.
One can't help but be utterly awed by the many contrasts of scenery on the Island.
So contrasting. So alien. So out of this world.
The scenery, wherever on is on the Island, is simply: very breathtaking.
In the North-western part of the Island, some of the mountains are over 1,500 meters high. Deep gorges, valleys and cliffs can be seen too. It is in the center of the Island, that Socotra is most unique.
Within the valleys, many plants grow. Little bits of cultivated land can be seen here too.
Like no where else, Soqotra is full of colors.
Is this Earth? Or is it some alien Planet? Makes you think of Mars.
Photos can not and do not do justice to the spectacular landscape and the many colorful scenery of this place. 
A feast for the eyes. Mountains. Hills. Valleys. Plants. Rocks. Stones. All full of colors.

Limestone. Granites. The Monsoon. Perennial streams. Misty mountains. Valleys. Caves. Very unusual trees and other plants - all make the landscape of this Island so extraordinary and alien that, once you see it - you can never forget. A landscape that can be described in many words: a 'lost world', Jurassic Park, surreal, fantastic, enchanting, daunting, eerie, bizarre, astounding, dazzling, spectacular, tranquil, heavenly and many more other such words. All are apt descriptions for this most amazing Archipelago.

+ More photos of Soqotra on Flickr: here and here  
+ More photos of Socotra on Flickriver: here and here