Thesiger's Journeys in Arabia - Salalah, Oman to Al Mukalla, Yemen 1947

2004_130_12073_1-O2004_130_12073_1-OJourney dates: (pictures date from) March 3 – May 1947

In February 1947, Thesiger completed his first crossing of the Empty Quarter (Rub' al Khali) and returned to the port city of Salalah, Oman. Taking just a week to rest, Thesiger set off on March 3, 1947, for another journey funded by the British Middle East Anti-Locust Unit (MEALU). Although Thesiger had been tasked with finding locust populations and breeding groundings in Southern Arabia, his interest in this journey lay more in mapping the wadis of Yemen's Al Mahrah region and in extending his travels with his Bedouin companions.

With a large travelling party headed by Salim bin Kalut (also known as Salah bin Kalut), a sheikh of the Bayt Imani lineage of Rashid Bedouin, Thesiger started across the Jabal Qara mountains, retracing his 1946 route as far as Habarut. After a short rest with Bayt Zabnawt Bedouin at the Habarut wells, the party followed along the top of the Duru plateau to Sarif. Reaching Wadi Kidyut, the party stopped at the settlement of Ad Dibbin in the Wadi Mahrat before continuing west to Dahal and Qabr Hud in Hadhramawt's As Sawm region. At Fughmah the party turned south, stopping at Ghayl bin Yumayn Oasis before heading down Wadi 'Arf towards the coast. The party reached the coastal capitol of Al Mukalla on the first of May, 1947.

Named Individuals: Awad bin Khazai, Muhammad al Auf, Mabkhaut bin Duailan, Musallim bin Anauf, Nimr bin Salim, Nura, Munzuk [Murzuk], Erzek, Merzik, Said bin Kabina, Salah bin Kalut, Salim bin Ghabaisha, Salim bin Kabina, Salim bin Kalut, Suhail bin Al Kuwait, Sulaim bin Mayza, Wilfred Patrick Thesiger

Represented Cultural Groups: Bayt Kathir Bedouin, Bayt Khawar Bedouin, Rashid Bedouin, Mahra Bedouin, Humum Bedouin, Manahil Bedouin

Locations: Salalah, Habarut [Habrut], Sarif wells, Wadi Kidyut, Wadi Mahrat, Lower Wadi 'Aydim, Fughmah, Ghayl bin Yamayn, Wadi Madi


Wilfred Thesiger, 1948. 'Across the Empty Quarter', The Geographical Journal, Vol. 111, No. 1/3.

Wilfred Thesiger, 1960. Arabian Sands, Longmans, Green and Co Ltd: London.