Yemen – Is It Safe?

Market - Sana'a, Yemen

Market in the Old City – Sana’a, Yemen

Note: Due to the current conflict, I cannot recommend a visit to Yemen at this time, except for Socotra Island which continues to be a safe destination.

The situation is Yemen is volatile and security is patchy – with an irregular line between safe and potentially dangerous provinces.  Yemen is considered universally dangerous by foreign governments, but people with local knowledge provide a different perspective.

Sana’a and the Haraz Mountains were safe for a long period of time, but with aerial bombings of Sana’a, even this area is now one with risk. Prior to 2015, there was a recent trend in kidnappings within central Sana’a that resulted in conflicting reports from seasoned travellers and expats living in Yemen whether it is safe to travel there. Even when the aerial bombings cease, these other concerns remain.

Travelling elsewhere in Yemen is problematic due to major highways passing through some dangerous provinces.  Travelling outside of Sana’a require a permit to travel, and if an area is deemed too dangerous, then permits are not issued, which largely answers the safety question for you.

According to information from a local tour operator, the provinces of Al Bayad, Al Dala south of Sana’a are not recommended for travel, thus if wishing to visit Aden, one should either fly or take the longer coast road.

Abyan and Ma’rib provinces are also not considered safe for foreigners at the moment, so if one wants to travel towards the area of Wadi Hadramout the advice is to fly.  However, recent news indicates that permits are not being given for travel to Hadramout, even when flying.

The regions to the far north of Sana’a, especially Sa’dah, have been subjected to kidnappings and executions for a while, and as such, should definitely not be visited. By comparison, Socotra has been a safe destination for a long time and continues to be so.

If you wish to visit Yemen, it is important to read the following information:

Lonely Planet  Tripadvisor  UK FCO