Yemeni Desert and Central Highlands

A journey from Aden across the Yemeni Desert and Central Highlands to Sanaa the capital of Yemen is really a great adventure. It’s still early in the morning. The clouds have not vanished yet. The clouds hanging in the valleys and the view looks like from an aeroplane. The sun has not yet risen too much in the sky. However, impressive is the sunlight, with its long shadows on the rocks.  The morning sunlight puts a veil of pinkish tint on everything.

The altitude of some of the peaks is more than 2000 m up to 3000 m in the highlands. During the daytime, the sun is bright and strong. Due to the height, the temperature is pleasant. However, during the night the temperature drops below the freezing point. The Highlands has a spectacular landscape of lava rocks, sandstones or extinct volcano cones and sand dunes.

The journey across the Yemeni Desert & Central Highlands is an exceptional trip. The towns and villages turns back in history. The simple life of the Yemeni and the fascinating landscape shifts into another time.

The landscape reminds me a little of pictures from planet Mars. Mostly oleander and weed are the only vegetation in the landscape. The area is craggy, cleft and exceptionally dry and dusty. Surprisingly, in this rough climate and unpleasant environment, are still settlements. The villages build up in typical Yemeni skyscraper architecture.

Even with low or no rain, in some of the valleys is a lush green. Most of the farmland was used for cultivating Khat. Coffee shrubs, vegetables, olive trees or date palms grow fine in the valleys. Shortly before Sanna, the road crosses the Nail Yislah Pass. The pass is 2770 m high. It’s the highest point on the route from Aden through the Yemeni desert and Central Highlands until Sanaa.

Aden, the city in a volcanic crater
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