Thesiger's Journeys in Arabia - Hadhramawt, Yemen 1947

2004_130_12883_1-O2004_130_12883_1-OJourney dates: November 3 – December 17, 1947

While awaiting the arrival of his Rashid Bedouin companions at Manwakh well, the starting point of Thesiger's second journey across the Empty Quarter (Rub' al Khali), Thesiger spent six weeks travelling in Yemen. On November 3, 1947, Thesiger returned to the coastal city of Al Mukalla. After a few days on the coast, Thesiger flew to Wadi Hadhramawt. From his base in the city of Seiyun, Thesiger visited nearby settlements and the high walled city of Shibam, before arranging a few adventures further afield.

Accompanied by two local Sa'ar Bedouin men, Salim and Ahmad, Thesiger travelled through the Raydat as Say'ar north of Seiyun, visiting Manwakh well, Bi'r Tamis well, and a few local shrines and tombs. During this short trip Thesiger took a number of remarkable portraits of Sa'ar Bedouin watering at Manwakh well, as well as many scenes of city life and traditional mud brick architecture in Seiyun and Shibam. The images in this series were taken between November 9 and December 17, 1947.

Locations: Raydat as Say'ar; Manwakh, Seiyun, Shibam

Named Individuals: None

Represented Cultural Groups: Sa'ar Bedouin.


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

Wilfred Thesiger, 1947. Personal Letters (Collection of Eton College Library).