Have you ever been to Socotra? Up until recently, I’ve never even heard of this Yemeni island, and even when I learned where it was, that was about it. But then I saw photos that Daniel Kordan took at this place – and I was mind-blown. This small island is described as “the most alien-looking place on Earth.” It’s rich in endemic plants and birds, and in insanely photogenic places. Through this series of photos, Daniel takes us to Socotra and helps us to meet this magical island.
“Socotra is one of the most stunning places on the planet to photograph,” Daniel writes. And seeing his photos, I can tell why. Daniel has seen and photographed many beauties of the island, including the dragon blood trees, white sand desert and dunes, The Village of Qalansiya, and the “Garden of Eden” as he named it (and it truly looks like it). Indeed, I’ve never seen a place this unusual, other than perhaps Iceland.
If you’re already amazed and want to go, you can. Daniel has shared his experience and some tips for travelers and photographers. As for the flight, there’s a charter flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra, but you can’t book your seat online. You need to partner with a local agency, and this is what he did. It’s better to travel with a group, which is also what Daniel did with fellow photographers. The agency also dealt with a Yemeni visa for them, which is another thing you’ll need if you decide to visit.
When it comes to the infrastructure, “if you’re looking for American comforts, stay home,” Daniel says. Socotra is not a major tourist location, so there are no fancy hotels. “I stayed in a tent in the wilderness, bathed in natural freshwater pools, and cooked my meals on an open bonfire,” Daniel writes. Sounds like a perfect vacation to me. He notes that the capital, Hadiboh, is littered with plastic and trash, so he rather stayed away from it.
As for safety, Socotra is isolated from the mainland and from the long-lasting civil wars. Daniel also notes that the people he met were wonderful. “Lots of smiling kids. Nobody selling stuff to tourists. It was magical,” he concludes.
Lastly, if I may add – leave the place as you found it. If you decide to visit, be respectful towards its people, plants, and animals. But this goes for any place you visit, not only Socotra.