No, no, these photos were not taken in Iceland!!!
The coast from Bir Ali to Al Mukalla is a unique experience. Volcanic cones, black basalt rocks, black pebble beaches are live witnesses of the violent earth eruption. The scenery is simply fantastic as volcanic rocks mix with the sand dunes and the beauty of the sea. Though the last volcanic eruption was reported in 13th century, the landscape looks like as at the time of creation.
Only sad insertion is the remnants of human cruelty: areas with landmines from the civil war...
A thing that won't escape your attention is that a lot of Africans are walking along the main coastal road from Bir Ali to Al Mukalla, either alone or in groups.
Our driver told us that they are Somali refugees arriving by boats to the Yemeni coast. In a case a large group was gathered in a police station. In search of hope and better future....
What added an extra charm to the beach is to observe big crabs wandering around the beach at dawn as well as birds.
Sharing tea with locals from the guesthouse or walking on the beach under the stary sky are memories not to be forgotten!!
Most of travel agencies do include Bir Ali in their itineray, so don't miss this chance to relax by the sea. Accommodation options on the beach are limited:
1. Beach guesthouse (see additonal photo): Rooms with bathroom with matresses on floor. Option only if you want to sleep quieter. Rooms tend to be hot during the day (and night) and electricity is provided by a generator.
2. Beach bungalows where matresses are provided. Less comfortable but far more romantic
As for food: We were told that the guesthouse has cooking facilities but at the time we arrived no dinner was served. Therefore we drove to nearby dusty fishing village of Bir Ali, we bought fresh fish and we had them grilled along with cooked vegetables and bread. Great experience as we were the only foreigners there!!!!!!!!!
After a long drive from Al Bayda followed by police or army all the way, my nervousness calmed down reaching the beach at Bir Ali. In fact it washed out every exhaustion of the day.
A side dirt road leads to this fenced beach, which due to lack of massive tourism is pristine. It brought me back memories of past years when I used to camp on beaches as a backpacker. The sand is white, fine and the seawater pleasantly warm. The volcanic outcrop at the very edge of the sea adds more charm.
I would recommend anyone who loves sea to spend at least one day in Bir Ali and the natural setting and the serenity of the place is unique. Specially sunsets! And no ugly umbrellas, jet skis or seaside bars. Just the sound of the the sea under the stary sky is veeery romantic!
After long drives in Yemeni highlands, it's most probable that you'll make several stops on the coastal road from Bir Ali to Al Mukalla.
Specially when you cross small tranquil fishing villages...