Thesiger's Journeys in Arabia - Tihamah, Saudi Arabia 1945

2004_130_31713_1-O2004_130_31713_1-OJourney dates: June 7 – June 24, 1945

Wilfred Thesiger started his first major Arabian journey in 1945, when he accepted a position as a researcher with the British Middle East Anti-Locust Unit (MEALU). Based near the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Thesiger undertook three locust-monitoring trips across the Arabian Peninsula between April and June 1945. For his third and final journey of the season, Thesiger started out from Buraiman, near Jeddah, on June 7, heading down the Red Sea coast towards Yemen. His goal for this journey was to visit the small agricultural and fishing villages clustered along the Tihamah coast, winding through villages in the Wadi Yiba and Wadi Hali. Thesiger recalled this expedition as an extremely pleasant one, marked by invitations to a number of village dances and friendly hospitality from the people he encountered. In a later publication Thesiger described the people he met as 'gay, happy, and carefree ... distinguished by their laughter, friendliness, and sense of fun' (Thesiger 1947: 192). After Wadi Hali, the expedition continued down to Jizan Province, stopping at the cities of Sabya, Ash Suqaiq, and Jizan. Thesiger's party returned along the coast, arriving back in Buraiman on June 23, 1945.

Locations: Jeddah, Wadi Yiba, Wadi Hali, Al Birk, Sabya, Ash Shuqaiq, Ad Darb, Bir Ali', Jizan, Wadi al Ahsabah.

Named Individuals: None

Represented Cultural Groups: Sharif tribe (Arabian)


Wilfred Thesiger, 1946. 'Rub' al Khali 1945-46', Personal Diary (Collection of Eton College Library).

Wilfred Thesiger, 1947. 'A Journey through the Tihama, the 'Asir, and the Hijaz Mountains', The Geographical Journal, Vol. 110, No. 4/6.

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