Getting Around Yemen
Yemenia (www.yemenia.com) operates flights from Sana'a to Aden, Al Ghaydah, Al Hudaydah, Riyan (Al Mukalla), Seiyun, Socotra and Ta'izz. Note, most flights in Yemen are currently suspended.
Felix Airways (www.felixairways.com) operates similar domestic routes to Yemenia, as well as some regional international routes. Booking in advance is essential and it’s always advisable to double-check flight reservations and times before departure.
Due to the prevailing insecurity, in some instances domestic flights are the only way for foreign nationals to reach certain destinations. For example, travel between Sana’a and Seiyun is not permitted except by air for non-Yemeni passport holders.
Road conditions and driving standards are quite poor and many roads are in a state of disrepair, with mountain roads particularly hazardous. Within Sana'a and from Ta'izz to Mokha, the roads are reliable. From Aden to Ta'izz is three to five hours' driving time. A road links Aden and Sana'a, otherwise the road network is mainly limited to desert tracks. Use of 4-wheel drive vehicles and a guide is recommended. There is a road from Aden to Mukalla of 500km (310 miles).
Car hire is available from Sana’a airport and in main towns – the minimum age to rent a car is 25, though this is rarely enforced. Chauffeur-driven cars are also available.
Taxis are generally cheap and easy to find with two types operating in Sana’a; those recognisable by yellow licence plates without meters, and newer yellow cabs with meters operated by Raha Transport.
Manic minibuses known as debubs operate on certain fixed routes and, if you’re prepared to suffer the crush, can be a very cheap way to get around town.
Hardly a safe option but for those preferring the wind in their hair, motorcycle taxis are often the quickest way to negotiate roads jammed with traffic. Be sure to agree a fare before getting on the back.
Long-distance share taxis, often Peugeot 504s, operate to other towns and villages. Again, fares need to be clearly agreed in advance.
The maximum speed limit is 100kph (62mph) but speed limit signs are exceptional and limits rarely enforced.
Seatbelts, though recommended, are not required by law. In the event of an accident resulting in injury or death of a third party, tribal custom often takes precedence. Family members will expect to negotiate recompense commensurate with the severity of the injuries.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in a fine or prison sentence.
Refer to information provided by your rental company.
An International Driving Permit is required. A temporary licence valid for three months is available from local authorities on presentation of a valid national licence.
Driving standards in Yemen are questionable and an element of risk is inherent in every journey. Qat-addled drivers, unpredictable pedestrians and suicidal livestock are the norm, as are big trucks cutting corners on blind bends. That said, the only other option is to walk…
Though hardly recommended, ferries do connect some ports. For details, contact port authorities. Mariners should be aware that increasingly sophisticated armed Somali pirates regularly attack shipping of all varieties in the Gulf of Aden beyond. International naval forces are attempting to patrol shipping lanes but to date have not succeeded in curtailing piracy. Travellers are advised against yachting in this area.