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Ayaft Gorge - a habitat of frankincense trees

 My life on the island of Socotra   

Ладановое дерево

Ayaft Gorge is located directly opposite the airport. The road passes by a small industrial area where broken stone is produced. After driving by a rock breaker you will see an earth-road that goes along the right slope down to a brook where cows are grazing on green fields.

The worn-down road leading to Ayaft is the worse one on Socotra. A car goes here at a speed of 3-4 km/hour. That is why it makes sense to leave your car and go on foot.   The road laid by a bulldozer passes by a primeval forest of fanciful endemic trees, one of which is Bible frankincense.

The locals most of which do not speak the Arabic language collect drops of hardened resin and sell frankincense to tourists usually brought to the gorge for a couple of hours.   

It is rather difficult to harvest frankincense. It usually takes about two hours to fill a small packet with its hardened drops. At that people have to scramble through thick bushes to go from one frankincense tree to the next one. Each tree has its unique smell. That is why frankincense differs greatly in scent.




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