People and culture

Socotra is home to an estimated 40,000 people, with their own distinct language and culture.


The inhabitants of the mountains are living in caves.

They are nomads and descendants of an old South Arabian tribe speaking still the old Arabian dialect Soqotri related to the Mahri dialect.


The coastal people are fishermen, mostly African origin.

They live in primitive houses with roofs from palm leaves and tree stems. The windows are small low openings functioning as air condition. In the cold winters the windows will be closed.


The main cash income for the fishermen of the three inhabited islands (Darsa is uninhabited) is almost exclusively from the export of dried shark and shark fins to the mainland, where the meat is eaten locally and the fins re-exported for the lucrative far eastern trade.


The nomads of the wadis are Arab origin.

They live in small stone houses and their source of living is based on date palm farming. During the date harvest they practice traditional customs and celebrations accompanied by spiritual dances.