Top tip: The best laid plans must allow for Qat time
The Republic of Yemen shares borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman, and gives way in the south to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in the west, in which the islands of Perim and Karam are located. Yemen has largely mountainous terrain, which lends itself well to terraced agriculture. The Hadramaut is a high mountain range in the centre of the country with steep peaks ranging in height from 200m to the 4000m Jabal Nabi Shoveb peak. In contrast Tihama is a flat semi-desert coastal plain in the west. Surface water flows down from the mountains through the valleys during the rainy season, and the land is farmed for cotton and grain. In the east the mountains drop away to the Rub al-Khali, known as the ‘Empty Quarter’ of the Arabian Peninsula, a vast expanse of desert sand made famous in the west by Wilfred Thesiger’s epic account of his journeys in the area, before oil was discovered.
The climate varies according to altitude. The coastal areas are hot and dusty throughout the year. The highlands are warm in summer, while during winter, from October to March, nights can be very cold on the slopes. Annual rainfall is extremely low and temperatures are generally very high. The most pleasant time to visit is from October to April.
Facts and Figures
|Area||536,869 sq km (207,286 sq miles).|
|Population||23,530,000 (2009 estimate)|
|Capital||Sana’a- population 1,747,627 (2004)|
|Language||Arabic. English is spoken in some urban areas.|
|Religion||Sunni Muslim (especially in the north) ans Shia Muslim, with some small Christian and Hindu communities.|
|Time||GMT + 3|
Interested in Yemen? Call +44 (0)20 7604 4408 for expert holiday advice