Trekking and Hiking in Yemen:
Yemen offers some of the best opportunities in the world for trekking, especially in the mountains north-west of Sana'a. There, the distances between villages are short, a few hours on foot at most, plenty of picturesque and stupendous views, fascinating landscape, open-minded and helpful people.
The highlands of the Yemen are surely one of the greatest undiscovered trekking regions in the world. The very idea of trekking in Arabia seems strange to many people, but on seeing photographs they can understand the attraction.
Areas best for Trekking : 1 - Haraz 2 - Jabal Maswar 3 - Shaharah region.
JABAL HARAZ - In the Haraz Mountains 90 km to the west of Sana'a stands the proud mountain village of Manakha, at an altitude of 2200 metres. Manakha is an excellent base for trekking.
Small villages and hamlets lie scattered everywhere between the terraces that extend across the steepest slopes. Many visitors have suggested that the majestic spirit of the mountains can be felt more intensely in Haraz Mountains than anywhere else in Yemen.
The Haraz region is full of old fortified villages built on hilltops. One of the finest examples, the tightly built Al-Hajjara, is five km south-west of Manakha. The four and five-storey stone houses of Hajjara can already be spotted in the distance.
The village, dating to the 12th century AD, served as an important fortification during the Turkish occupations of Yemen.
The Ismaili villages with their decorated houses provide a wonderful area for trekking; Hutaib, the most important place of pilgrimage for members of the small sect, lies only about five km downhill, southeast from Manakha. the roads, tracks and footpaths uphill to the west lead to other picturesque villages like Kahil which overlook Hutaib and Manakha itself.
Jabal Shibam, the highest peak of the Haraz region at almost 300 metres, stands to the south of Manakha, a couple of km south-east from Hutaib.
JABAL MASWAR - The province of Mahweit is arguably the best place to trek in Yemen as well. The distances are not overwhelming, the mountain scenes are breathtaking and the people are among the friendliest in the country.
A good halfway destination is the 3240 metre Jabal Maswar, some 35 km south-east of Mahweit. Extraordinary beautiful terraces abound on the slopes of the mountain.
To the east of the mountain, almost directly north of Tawilla (some 20 km) is a village called Bait Adaga lies under Jabal Maswar where an overnight camping is spent.
JABAL SHAHARA -. Jabal Shahara is situated on the top of 2600 metre. The village of Shahara (at the top) with its famous stone bridge dating from the 16th century, is an impressive mountain fortress village.
The bridge was built by a famous architect, Saleh Al-Yaman, using two support bridges below. If it were easier to get to, this bridge would surely be one of the great tourist sites of the Middle East.
There are impressive views wherever you look from Shahara. Our option is to climb up Jabal Shahara to shahara village, enjoying the extraordinary views from the terraced slopes of the mountain.
However, you need to be in excellent physical shape to do this because the trip will take at least five to seven hours. Walking all the way to the top will vividly demonstrate to you why the Turks were not able to conquer the village on top of the mountain.
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