A sample of photos from Yemen 2009

Photos by Niklas Holmström, arranged in chronological order

Early morning view from our room at hotel Arabia Felix in the old part of Sana'a.
The old part of Sana'a.
Our hotel Arabia Felix, located in the old town of Sana'a. It is a so-called Funduk, which means a traditional house converted into a hotel. Only 10 minutes walk to the Suq. Highly recommended as accommodation!
The rooms at Arabia Felix is just lovely with its peaceful atmosphere and Kamerias (coloured windows).
Wadi Al Saila in old Sana'a is used as street when dry. One could just imagine how it would look when flooded during the rain period.
The al-Saleh’s mosque from a backyard point of view, so to speak. The mosque has six minarets 100 meters high, in addition to a number of domes. The main dome is 28 meters in diameter and 22 meters high. Its cost is mounted to $60 million.
Interior of the Al Saleh mosque. The mosque can hold 44,000 worshipers, with a special women's section above this section.
Cleaning one of the huge entrance doors.
Only a part of the centre of the mosque. Beautiful and breathtaking, but somewhat in contrast to the poor situation in the country.
Nowadays its more profitable to grow qat instead of coffee. Café mocha takes its name from the Red Sea coastal city of Mocha (Al-Mukha) in Yemen, which as far back as the fifteenth century was a dominant exporter of coffee, especially to areas around the Arabian Peninsula.
Birders at the wadi Hamman Caref. Here we spent most of our first day with easy birding.
A village in a valley between Sana'a and Kawkaban.
The city Kawkaban is located at an altitude of 3000 metres. The area is famous and a reliable site for several endemic birds such as Yemen Accentor, Yemen Trush, Arabian Serin, Yemen Serin and Linnet as well as Blandford's Lark and Philby's Partridge.
Happy birders and a Yemeni guy as they have found three Philby's Partridge and one Arabian Partridge. Amazing landscape.
View from Kawkaban. If you scrutinize the picture you will find houses here and there in the foreground.
One of the dinner rooms in the lovely restaurant at Shibam, close to Kawkaban. Göran Cederwall to the left.
So very delicious Yemeni specialties!
A beautiful woodland area named Serhat Mahal, which is a reliable site for Arabian Woodpecker and lots of other bird species.
View from the Al Mahweet area, which hold a colony of Griffon Vultures. The landscape in all directions was just dreamlike.
A small village and Griffon Vultures in the governate of Al Mawheet.
In late afternoon we visited a small village in hope to see Cinereous Bunting. No luck, but as everywhere else our presence gathered happy and curious children. Yousuf told them about birds, nature and environmental issues. He is indeed a great ambassador for the protection of the Yemeni wildlife and nature.
A proud Yemeni man with his jambiya. The make and look of the dagger differs greatly according to region and the tribe, as well as the social status of the owner.
we were invited along with Yousuf to a great celebration by the Governrate of Al Mahweet. We had a seat on the second row, just behind the governar and his party. For an hour we listened to traditional and national Yemeni music, which was performed live on stage. Just lovely and a momento for life!
Heidi is interviewed by the Yemeni Television and Yousuf acts interpreter.
Terraces has been used in the mountains for centuries and is a part of the Yemeni landscape.
Griffon Vultures have found a dead cow (out of the picture) a few metres from the road. The Yemeni farmers does'nt harass the vultures.
Picnic at Wadi Sari on our way to Al Hudeidah at the Red Sea.
When approaching the Tihama plain the style of womens clothing changed to be more colourful. Wadi Sari.
A Desert rose with one flower left.
Every small village in the Tihama plain were suddenly involved in our quest to find the very rare Arabian Bustard (named Loán by the locals). We spent allmost a whole day in search for this most-wanted bird.
These round reed huts is the most common houses in the Tihama plain. Despite the primitive appearance, their interiors are decorated imaginatively and with great care.
Yousuf is scanning a small part of the Tihama plain. It was hot indeed. The locals told us that the best time to see Arabian Bustard was in late afternoon. However, the bustard is nearly exstinct in Yemen, so it's like looking for a grain of sand in the...
Early morning in the fishing harbour in Al Hudeidah. A reliable place for White-eyed Gulls.
The fish market in Al Hudeidah. A wonderful, but chaotic, experience. There were tunas, sharks, rays and lot of others colourful fishes.
Birding at the sewage ponds outside Al Hudeidah. One could have birding here for a day or two as it was impossible to cover the area within a few hours. There was huge numbers of waders, ducks, swallows, White-winged Black Tern and Lesser Flamingo.
About 1700 Lesser Flamingos and perhaps 60 Greater ones were seen at the sewage ponds outside Al Hudeidah. A few years ago it was the opposite numbers, perhaps it can be due to the extreme dry season in Northeastern Africa.
Salt pans at Saliff.
A relaxing dromedary at the shore in Al Urj. A Brown-necked Raven taking care of the beauty.
Ulf were able to get many close-ups of several beautiful Crab Plovers at Khowkha. Adults still feeding their juveniles with small crabs!
Kjell-Åke taking a power nap after the lunch, while Yousuf and Abdulhadim having a chat with the owner of the place. A future resort for birders?
A nice small wadi outside Taizz.
The huge dump just outside Taizz. Hundreds of hundreds of Black Kites were seen in the beautiful sunset. All the Abdim's, White Storks and Steppe Eagles not be forgotten.
View from the peak of Jabal Sabir in early morning. Typical terraces for agriculture.
It was cold early in the morning at an alitude of 2860 metres at the peak of Jabal Sabir. Kjell-Åke (left) was smartly dressed for this event. However, at this very moment we found the first Yemen Accentor. In total we saw at least five accentors and heard them singing for an hour or so at this spot. In addition we record several Yemen Trushes, Arabian Serins and Yemen Linnets.
Nice agriculture area at Jabal Sabir.
Terraces in the Taizz area.
The huge city Taizz seen from Jabal Sabir.
Taizz is probably the cleanest city in Yemen.
Agricultural area outside Taizz.
Aden marshes and the city of Aden in far background.
Aden marshes (Al-Haswa, which is a protected area), salt pans to the left, the peak of Jabal Shamsan in far background and the Bay of Aden inbetween. The marches held a vast numbers of herons, waders, terns and lot of other species too. You probably need at least a couple of days to cover the area properly.
View from our last night in Sana'a. At 18:20 there was a power failure, so it were sparse with light sources. However, the walk got even more magical then in the gleam of the full moon!
A lovely antiquarian in the Suq area of Sana'a.
Jambiya shops in the Suq Al Mihl, old town of Sana'a. The market (suq) zone actually consists of some 40 smaller suqs, each specialising in a clearly defined sector of business.
The entrance to the famous Suq Al Mihl in the old town of Sana'a. A great experience. Like travelling back through the history...
All photos by Niklas Holmström