This Is The Most Bizarre Landscape On Earth (What Might Be Built Here Is Even Stranger)

By Gath Adams on 11/Mar/2014

It’s almost like you just stumbled into a sci-fi flick.

From plump plants that resemble mutated turnips to umbrella-like trees that bleed red sap, Socotra Island is the very definition of “otherworldly.”

Located in the Indian Ocean, this amazing chunk of land is covered in bizarre-looking trees and plants that have been around for 20 million years. And about one-third of the flora and fauna that grow here can’t be found anywhere else on earth.

So why do these plants look so incredibly odd? Evolution. Socotra’s surreal shrubs adapted over time in order to cope with the scorching hot climate on the island, which is located about 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen.

But that’s not the strangest part. Keep reading to find out what might end up being built in this amazing place – you won’t believe it.

Ahhh, a soft-sand beach. But just wait until you see what’s around the corner…

Socotra Island
Source: Marco Pavan

OK, things are starting to get a little strange.

Strange trees on Socotra Island
Source: HopeHill

And now they’re officially weird. These dragon blood trees look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. But what’s even more bizarre is that they actually bleed blood-red sap when their trunks are cut. Very creepy.

Dragon Blood trees on Socotra Island. They bleed blood-red sap when their trunks are cut
Source: HopeHill

Unbelievable, isn’t it? (But just wait until you find out what might be built nearby).

Strange trees on Socotra Island
Source: HopeHill

Next are Socotra’s famous alien-like bottle trees. Sure, they look weird. But the strangest thing about these shrubs is that they can grow on dry, barren terrain and even cliffs and rock faces. Lack of water isn’t a problem: they store H20 in their trunks, allowing them to endure the tough climate.

Bottle Trees on Socotra Island. They can grow on dry, barren terrain and even cliffs and rock faces
Source: Rod Waddington

Locals say that if a whole bunch of bottle trees flower, expect rain to hit Socotra Island soon.

Bottle Trees on Socotra Island. Locals say that if a whole bunch of bottle trees flower, expect rain to hit Socotra Island soon.
Source: Jan Vandorpe

And it’s not just the plant life that stands out on Socotra. Limestone caves and jagged mountains add to the prehistoric feel of this amazing place.

Limestone caves and jagged mountains on Socotra Island
Source: Rod Waddington

But you won’t believe what might one day be popping up somewhere on this incredible terrain…

The barren, moon-like beach at Socotra Island
Source: Rod Waddington

A prison just like the one at Guantánamo Bay. As the U.S. promises to close down their infamous jail in Cuba, there's speculation that Socotra could host a new facility for Yemenis after they are released from Gitmo, according to some media reports.

Camp Delta at Guantánamo Bay. Could the US be building something similar on Socotra Island?
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

So if you want to explore the mind-blowing landscape of Socotra Island, probably best not to put off those travel plans for too long. Unless, of course, you don't mind adding an international U.S. prison to your trip itinerary.
By Gath Adams on 11/Mar/2014
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Tagged as: trees, Socotra Island, Socotra, weird, island