Traveling Luck for Yemen

Yemen is located in Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Yemen has borders with Oman for 288km and Saudi Arabia for 1458km.

Land in Yemen is narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemeni land covers an area of 527970 square kilometers which is slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming

As for the Yemeni climate; mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east.

Yemeni(s) speak Arabic.

Yemeni National Map

Yemeni Map

Regions of Yemen

North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border.


Yemen Country Profile

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, has reported meager growth since 2000. Its economic fortunes depend mostly on oil. Oil revenues increased in 2005 due to higher prices. Yemen was on an IMF-supported structural adjustment program designed to modernize and streamline the economy, which led to substantial foreign debt relief and restructuring. However, government dedication to the program waned in 2001 for political reasons. Yemen is struggling to control excessive spending and rampant corruption. The people have grown increasingly upset over the economic situation. In July 2005, a reduction in fuel subsidies sparked riots; over 20 Yemenis were killed and hundreds were injured.

Yemeni natural resources include petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west

strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes

Yemeni religion is Muslim including Shaf'i (Sunni) and Zaydi (Shi'a), small numbers of Jewish, Christian, and Hindu.

Natural hazards in Yemen include sandstorms and dust storms in summer.

Travel Advice on Yemen

Yemen

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Contact Details.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • We advise against all but essential travel to the Governorate of Sa’dah in northern Yemen (see the Political Situation of this advice for more details).

  • There is a high threat from terrorism and evidence that terrorists may target Western, including British, interests in Yemen.

  • On 15 September 2006 oil installations near Ma’rib and al-Mukalla were attacked in simultaneous terrorist suicide operations that resulted in several casualties.  There is a high threat from terrorism in Yemen and further attacks, including against Western and British interests, cannot be ruled out.

  • British nationals visiting or resident in Yemen should consider whether their personal security arrangements are adequate.  You should be particularly vigilant in places frequented by foreigners.

  • There have been a number of kidnappings of European nationals since mid-2005, including in the governorates of Ma’rib, Shabwah and ‘Amran.  The last incident took place near Habban in the governorate of Shabwah on 10 September 2006.  We advise extreme caution when travelling outside major cities in Yemen.

  • If you wish to travel to the governorates north of Sana'a or to Hadramaut you will need prior permission from the Yemen Tourist Police.  Internal travel restrictions following the 15 September 2006 terrorist attacks on oil installations may apply throughout the country, especially in the governorates of Ma’rib, Shabwah and Hadramaut.

  • The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Yemen is for replacing lost or stolen passports.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime
Incidents of violent crime against foreigners are rare, but the easy availability of weapons makes it a possibility.  You should exercise caution at all times.
Some tribes are heavily armed and have a tradition of kidnapping foreigners to publicise their grievances or to further their case in disputes with the government. Such kidnappings have occurred in the capital Sana’a as well as in the governorates of al-Jawf, Abyan, Sa'dah, Dhamar, ‘Amran, Ma’rib and Shabwah.  The last incident took place near Habban in the governorate of Shabwah on 10 September 2006, when four French nationals were kidnapped.  All four were released unharmed.We advise extreme caution when travelling outside urban areas.  You should not travel outside cities at night.  We strongly recommend that travel outside the major cities is only undertaken with an organised group accompanied by a military escort.
Political Situation

Yemen Country Profile.

We advise against all but essential travel to the governorate of Sa'dah in northern Yemen.  In June 2004, there was an armed uprising in northern Yemen, in and around the town of Sa’dah and north towards the border with Saudi Arabia.  The fighting involved extremists against the armed forces.  Government forces have gained control of the area but the area around Sa’dah remains tense, with an outbreak of fighting in April 2005.
You should follow news reports and be alert to local and regional developments, which might trigger public disturbances.  You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.  During Presidential elections in September 2006, nearly 60 people were killed and 250 injured at a stampede at an election rally in the governorate of Ibb; stampedes also occurred at rallies in Ta’iz, Lahij and Abyan.
Developments in Iraq and on the Middle East Peace Process continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region.  You should be aware of local sensitivities on the issue.
Local Travel
If you wish to travel to the governorates north of Sana'a and to Hadramaut you will need prior permission from the Yemen Tourist Police.  Such permission, which may take at least 24 hours to be issued, is easiest to obtain through a travel agent who can organise local tours.
Road Travel
Driving standards are poor and mountain roads hazardous.
Avoid all road travel at night.  Care should also be taken to avoid minefields left over from Yemen's civil wars.  Travelling off well-used tracks without an experienced guide could be extremely hazardous, particularly in parts of the south and the central highlands.
Sea Safety
Mariners should be aware that there is the possibility of attacks against ships and in particular yachts off the Yemen coast, especially in the Gulf of Aden.  We strongly advise against yachting in this area.  Incidents of piracy have also been known to occur in parts of the Red Sea.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Most Yemenis are very friendly and welcoming.  But Yemen is an Islamic country and care should be taken to dress modestly and avoid offending local customs.  Care should be exercised using cameras anywhere near military or religious sites, or taking pictures of people without their consent.  Alcohol should not be consumed in public.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British citizens require visas to enter Yemen.  Visas may be obtained in advance from: Yemeni representation in the UK.  British and EU citizens can also obtain tourist visas at the airport upon arrival.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact: Yemeni representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance

Medical facilities, particularly away from the main towns, are poor.
Malaria is prevalent in low-lying areas along the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf coasts and there have been reports of an outbreak of Dengue Fever in the western coastal towns of al-Hodeidah and Mokha and the hill area of al-Dali’.  More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Yemen.

Polio is also present in some Red Sea coastal towns.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk.


GENERAL

The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Yemen is for replacing lost or stolen passports.
If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help

British nationals in Yemen should register with the British Embassy, 129 Haddah Road, Sana’a (tel 00 967 1 264081/82/83/84).

All flights should be reconfirmed during your stay.
Money

ATMs are very scarce in Yemen.  You are advised to bring US dollars in cash as the easiest convertible currency.