Expedition to the wonders of Wadi Dawan, Desert's Manhattan Shibam and traditional Madhalla shepherds


January 4 — 11, 2025
Tour Yemen

tour to yemen expedition to Yemen

To touch the history of Arabia Felix and immerse into authenticity and real life of mainland Yemen with its amazing architecture and one-of-a-kind nature of Wadi Dawan, superb and empty beaches of sea cost, tiny colonial streets and fish market of Al Mukalla, as well as deep traditions of Madhalla shepherds.

We explore iconic "Desert's Manhattan" Shibam, get into acquaintance with unique Hadhramaut settlements and constructions, stroll across the sand dunes and share a cup of tea with traditional cattle herders.

Dates: January 4 — 11, 2025

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Number of participants: 6 — 12

Cost of participation per person:

— 2 990 USD subject to 12 participants,
— 3 090 USD subject to 10 – 11 participants,
— 3 190 USD subject to 8 – 9 participants,
— 3 350 USD subject to 6 – 7 participants.

10% early booking discount is available (in case you book before August 4, 2024)

Everything is included (also visa of Yemen and full board meals), except for:

– international flight to Seyun (Yemen) roundtrip,
– international medical insurance.

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Cairo – Seiyun roundtrip: about 1200-1400 USD (We can buy for you airticket from Cairo to Seiyun roundtrip with Yemenia Airlines at some 900-950 USD. The cost may change).

Single supplement: 540 USD (single accommodation is provided for all nights).

TRAVEL PROGRAM: tour to Yemen

Day 1. January 4, 2025 (Saturday). CAIRO (EGYPT) — SEIYUN (YEMEN)

Arrival in Cairo airport early in the morning (not later than at 6 am).
Connection flight with Yemenia airlines to Seiyun from terminal 1 of Cairo airport (you can also go transit, even using 2 different tickets and most probably changing the terminal).
Departure time at 9:30 am (it may be changed for 10:45 am or anyhow). Lunch is on the flight.
At 15:15 arrival from Cairo in Seiyun, Hadhramaut region of Yemen.
Visit the center of Seiyun city to see amazing Al Kathiri palace, once the home of the sultan and currently the museum, which documents the Hadhramaut region's history from antiquity until the first film cameras were around. This palace is considered the world's biggest adobe palace.
From the palace, continue to Seiyun's farmers' market to wander and also roam the streets of old city with traditional architecture, men playing traditional table games in the yards and gun shops. Very special Yemeni atmosphere that we can immerse immediately.
Dinner and stay overnight at the Al Ahqaf Hotel, the most beautiful hotel in Seiyun.

Accommodation included: Al Ahqaf Hotel in Seiyun
Meals included: dinner

* Recommended flight to Cairo:
any flight arriving in Cairo (CAI airport only!) no later than at 6 am on January 4.

** Recommended flight from Cairo to Seiyun:
direct flight with Yemenia airlines, departing from Cairo (CAI airport, terminal 1) at 9:30 am on January 4, arriving in Seiyun after 15:15.

Day 2. January 5, 2025 (Sunday). SEIYUN – TARIM – AYNAT – SHIBAM – SEIYUN

After breakfast, we find ourselves in the city center of Seyun for short walk along the streets and visiting at times crowded honey bazaar.
Short drive (40 km) to the historical city of Tarim. Tarim is famed throughout the region as a Sufi Islamic center of education. We can walk around Tarim's relatively well-preserved old town and souq, visiting Asia palace and beautiful Minaret Al-Mihdhar – again the world's highest adobe minaret.
Proceed to Aynat town (20 km) to visit the tombs and shrines of the region's great Sufi saints.
After that, we drive back westward (70 km), where we will explore iconic town of Shibam – Manhattan of the desert – unique place of the Hadhramaut Valley recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1982. We take a walk in the maze of the old streets of Shibam, where most of the houses were built in 16th century while Shibam has been in existence for an estimated 1700 years.
Before sunset we hike (15 min) to the observation desk with an iconic view to the whole city of Shibam. Photography at sunset.
Back to Seyun. Stay overnight in Seiyun at Al Ahqaf Hotel.

Accommodation included: Al Ahqaf Hotel in Seiyun
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


After breakfast, we come back to Shibam (20 km), as this unique place definitely deserves to be explored in more details. We take morning photography in the city with locals on the streets, visit the antique shops to buy djambiya or some old stuff and visit one of the traditional houses to admire the unique architecture.
Shibam is often called "the oldest skyscraper city in the world". It is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. The city has some of the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them over 30 meter high. In order to protect the buildings from rain and erosion, the walls must be routinely maintained by applying fresh layers of mud. The city is surrounded by a fortified wall, giving it the name "the walled city of Shibam". The houses of Shibam are all made out of mudbrick, and about 500 of them are tower blocks, which rise 5 to 11 stories high, with each floor having one or two rooms. This architectural style was used in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks.
Today we head out by road for the fabled Wadi Dawan (otherwise known as the Do'an or Dawan Valley). This historical region is the cultural center of the Hadhrami people. Steep canyon walls give way to a narrow, branching semi-fertile valley called Do'an. A deeply conservative yet culturally distinct civilization formed within this valley and continues with its traditions today. Mud brick towns cling to where the canyon walls meet the ground, while the center is reserved for farm and grazing land. Almost no structures exist on the top of the canyon — nearly all life, save for a few Bedouins, live at the bottom, some 300 meters below the natural canyon walls.
On the way we will stop at on the most important Sufi religious places to see the tomb and listen to the story.
Then we visit Hajarayn town, where we can meet beekeepers and learn about cedar honey, one of the most expensive high-grade honey in the world and having indeed a fantastic taste.
Lunch in Madhoon (or another village en route) and take the picturesque upper road to our resort. We may stop for a minute for quick photo in the villages Al Jadidah and Subaykh.
Arrive well before sunset and spend the evening at the Haed Al Jazeel Resort, perched up on the top of the canyon walls with an incredible view of dramatic canyon landscapes, diminutive mud-brick villages, and farmland down below.

Accommodation included: Haed Al Jazeel resort
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Sunrise at the Haed Al Jazeel Resort, overlooking the smashing villages of Wadi Do'an, with the deep canyon and oasis and the Haed Al Jazeel village on the big rock appearing one of the most unexpected and beautiful views in the world.
After breakfast, morning trek from the starting point (not far from the resort) down to the old village of Hawf. One day salt caravans were taking the same way.
Visit the Hawf village, sharing tea in one of the local houses, and meeting Madhalla shepherds down in the valley (and trying to take photos of them).
We proceed down to the valley. As we continue to wind our way down Do'an, the valley becomes increasingly narrow and finally the road cuts with the view on the same iconic Haed Al Jazeel village perched on the huge boulder, but from beneath.
Drive back 10 minutes to Buqshan to see the multicolor palaces, one say built as hotels by the family of Bin Laden, but were abandoned. We can walk around and inside of a colorful Hadhrami mansion, and take a look from the roof of one of the buildings.
15 minutes drive to another beautiful village of Qarn Majid to see the house almost hanging on the edge of the rock – very special feature of Hadhramaut architecture!
Return for sunset at Haed Al Jazeel Resort, not forgetting that the best pictures from this spot are 15 minutes after sunset when all cliffs and the sky flame with the sunset fire!
Enjoy a traditional local Hadhramaut music performance during dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation included: Haed Al Jazeel Resort
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


After breakfast and swim in the infinity pool with the view to amazing valley, we check-out and leaving from Haed Al Jazeel.
We visit the village of Seif in Wadi Do'an, to tour the remarkable "white palace" over the village. Seif is another traditional Hadhramaut village with adobe architecture and great exterior adornment details.
We drive further 60 km along the Wadi Al Ain, another valley which spreads from biggest Wadi Hadhramaut in the north until the Arabian sea in the south.
Explore Wadi Al Ain and its remarkable residents – Madhalla female shepherds.
The madhalla is a traditional hat used in the region Hadhramout, in Yemen and worn by women. The hats have a wide circular brim and a peaked top. The straw hats are peaked to keep the wearer cool in hot temperatures. Being almost two feet tall, the design promotes air circulation within the hat. They have been noted to resemble witch hats. They are often worn by female shepherds and field workers who also wear black abayas.
The shepherds themselves are often called Madhalla. Madhalla are very conservative and normally not open for photography.
We will stay this afternoon in the Madhalla shepherds' settlement to have more chances for evening photography, trying to get iconic photos.
After sunset and finishing our interaction and photography, farewell from Madhalla and start driving to the south, to Al Mukalla (220 km). It may take some 5 hours, including check points.
Late arrival in Al Mukalla. Check-in and stay at hotel Ramada – the finest hotel in Al Mukalla. Dinner in the hotel.

Accommodation included: hotel Ramada Al Mukalla (Holiday Inn)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6. January 9, 2025 (Thursday). AL MUKALLA

In the morning, after breakfast in our hotel, short drive to the city of Al Mukalla to visit famous fish market.
Proceed to the downtown of Al Mukalla, the capital of Hadhramaut, the port city with beautiful colonial streets. Drinking some tea/coffee on the main square and doing some photography of open minded local people on the colonial streets. Visit the sultan's palace. Traditional lunch in the center.
Stroll the old city of Al Mukalla, the quay and walk down to the port in order to take a boat ride in the bay with the great view on the city.
Not late in the afternoon back the hotel Ramada, located on the beach of Arabian Sea. Swim in the warm, clear waters of the Arabian Sea.
Dinner and overnight stay at hotel Ramada – the finest hotel in Al Mukalla.

Accommodation included: hotel Ramada Al Mukalla (Holiday Inn)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7. January 10, 2025 (Friday). AL MUKALLA — RAS SHARMAH BEACH

After early breakfast, drive some 120-150 km eastward, along the coast of Arabian Sea.
We stop and settle for leisure and lunch at Ras Sharmah beach – the most beautiful coastal area on the Arabian Sea. We have time for sunbath and swimming in the sea.
Here we stay overnight in camping. It promises to be a beautiful and unique experience.

Accommodation included: tents in camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8. January 11, 2025 (Saturday). RAS SHARMAH BEACH — ASH SHIHR — SEIYUN — RETURN FLIGHT

Wake up under the stars. After early breakfast, we will roam in the beach, taking the last swim to wake up.
Today we drive some 340 km along the coast and then passing the mountains with very beautiful view of the valley from the pass. It's quite a long drive that may take up to 5-6 hours, including check points.
Transfer directly to the airport of Seiyun in order to arrive in the airport at 13:30 at the latest. Lunch on the way or upon arrival.
Check-in and departure for Cairo at 15:30, with arrival in Cairo at 18:30 (the flight schedule may change).

Accommodation included: no
Meals included: breakfast, lunch

*Recommended return flight from Seyiyun to Cairo:
– flight with Yemenia airlines to Cairo, departing from Seiyun at 15:30 on January 11, arriving in Cairo at 18:30 on January 11,
– Any other flight, departing from Seiyun or Al Mukalla (Yemen) no earlier than at 15:30 on January 11.

** Recommended return flight from Cairo:
– any flight, departing from Cairo (Egypt) no earlier than at 23:30 on January 11.

* The order of visits and excursions can be modified according to local conditions, i.e. state of roads, security situation, etc. If some visits and/or tours could not be done due to external conditions, they will be replaced when possible.

** The participant of expedition to Yemen must be motivated to be respectful to the local culture, be aware of the objectives of the expedition and possible program changes, as well as be able to adapt to the new environment and culture.
Cost includes:

• Visa of Yemen at the border
• Accommodation in hotels as per the program in TWIN / DBL rooms
• Accommodation in tents based on SINGLE (or DBL for couples)
• Camping equipment: tents, sleeping mats
• Full board meals throughout the entire itinerary: breakfasts, lunches and dinners
• Drinking water and soft drinks throughout the entire itinerary
• Pick up transfer from inside the airport and returning to airport
• All transportation according to the itinerary by 4WD cars (Land Cruiser or similar), with working air conditioner and experienced drivers
• Security guards and security support letter
• All sightseeing as outlined in itinerary, entry fees
• All permits,
• Local guides and trekking guides when required
• English speaking local guide throughout the entire itinerary
• Russian- and English speaking team leader throughout the entire itinerary

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

• International flight to Seiyun (Yemen) roundtrip
• International medical insurance
• Tips for local team
• Personal expenses
• Single supplement

To take with:

• long sleeve wear set, wear set for hot weather
• very light jacket for cool nights
• comfortable trekking or running footwear, light footwear (sneakers or slippers)
• swimwear
• raincoat
• cap/hat
• forehead torch
• scarf for women for visiting Mosques and Shrines
• big backpack/bag for luggage (some 80 liters capacity), or travel bag, or suitcase is also suitable
• small backpack for radial walks for personal stuff and photo-, video cameras (20-25 l)
• sleeping bag for +12/+15 degrees weather
• anti mosquito repellents
• sunblock cream
• sunglasses
• personal hygiene items
• personal medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, your personal medications)
• test result for HIV and test result for liver hepatitis is mandatory for Yemeni visa, in English language
• no specific COVID requirement exist (requirement may be changed)
• photo and video camera,
• tripod and flash light
• batteries and power bank
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