Socotra is globally important for biodiversity conservation because of its exceptionally rich and distinct flora and fauna. 37% of Socotra’s plant species, 90% of its reptile species and 95% of its land snail species do not occur anywhere else in the world. Socotra is of particular importance to the Horn of Africa’s biodiversity hotspot and, as one of the most biodiversity rich and distinct islands in the world, has been termed the “Galápagos of the Indian Ocean”.

Biological diversity and threatened species: Socotra is globally important for biodiversity conservation because of its exceptional level of biodiversity and endemism in many terrestrial and marine groups of organisms. Socotra is particularly important for its diversity of plants and has 825 plant species of which 307 (37%) are endemic. Socotra has high importance for bird species as underlined by the identification by Birdlife International of 22 Important Bird Areas on Socotra. Socotra also supports globally significant populations of other land and sea birds, including a number of threatened species. Extremely high levels of endemism occur in Socotra’s reptiles (34 species, 90% endemism) and land snails (96 species, 95% endemism). The marine life of Socotra is also very diverse, with 253 species of reef-building corals, 730 species of coastal fish and 300 species of crab, lobster and shrimp, and well represented in the property’s marine areas.

The climate of Socotra is classified in the Köppen climate classification as BWh and BSh, meaning a tropical desert climate and semi-desert climate with a mean annual temperature over 25 °C (78 °F). Yearly rainfall is light, but is fairly spread throughout the year. Generally the higher inland areas receive more rain than the coastal lowlands, due to orographic lift provided by the interior mountains. The monsoonseason brings strong winds and high seas. For many centuries, the sailors of Gujarat called the maritime route near Socotra as "Sikotro Sinh", meaning the lion of Socotra that constantly roars—referring to the high seas near Socotra.

In spring, from March to May, temperatures usually rise above 40 degrees C. The climate is characterized by the seasonal Monsoon winds, blowing from the North-East during the period October-May and from South-West during the period June-September.

From June to September the island is accessible only by plane, due to exceedingly strong monsoon winds and access by sea is virtually impossible due to high seas and strong winds all around the island.

During this time, fishing is impossible and many people move from the northern coast to the mountains to escape the winds and to harvest their date palms.