12-Jan-2006 -- al-Ḥudayda is one of Yemen's principal ports, and the fourth largest city in the country. It sits sweating on the Red Sea, in the geographical region known as the Tihāma (see visit to 16N 43E where this story begins).
I'd not planned to visit 15N 43E, as it had already been well described by Rainer Mautz following his trip there in April 2005. However, having stayed in al-Ḥudayda the previous night, I thought I might as well make the effort to see if things have changed there since his visit: the point itself is almost certainly the easiest to access in Yemen. Simply drive 25 km north from central al-Ḥudayda, through a military checkpoint at 15.5 km distance from the point, until you get a reading of around 1.6 km away from 15N 43E. Here, one can leave the asphalt and proceed to within 300-400 m along sandy, but perfectly navigable, tracks that service outlying houses in the area. A short walk from the Landy along almost level ground brought me to the point itself.
The views are of desert scrubland in each direction, the only plant that dares raise its head above the rest of the pack being the solitary tree noted by Herr Mautz. I'm glad to say it's still alive and well! Returning to al-Ḥudayda by the same route, one might be lucky enough to see packs of working camels being herded along the side of the road.
From al-Ḥudayda, one can carry on to the capital, Ṣan`ā', along the 'Chinese Road' - a monumental engineering development effort carried out in partnership with the Chinese government that literally required the moving of mountains to build. The twists and turns are rather a test of the nerves, but the spectacular scenery makes it all worthwhile. Watch out for the myriad of hilltop villages that perch precariously over the swooping valleys below.
For notes about confluence hunting in Yemen, or the involvement of the British Embassy Ṣan`ā' in the Degree Confluence Project, please see the visit to 15N 49E.