Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut” as Want to Read:
The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In 1934, famed British traveler Freya Stark sailed down the Red Sea, alighting in Aden, located at the tip of the Arabian peninsula. From this backwater outpost, Stark set forth on what was to be her most unforgettable adventure: Following the ancient frankincense routes of the Hadhramaut Valley, the most fertile in Arabia, she sought to be the first Westerner to locate an ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 24th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1936)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Southern Gates of Arabia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Southern Gates of Arabia

West with the Night by Beryl MarkhamMy Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-NéelThe Valleys of the Assassins by Freya StarkStraight on Till Morning by Mary S. LovellPassionate Nomad by Jane Fletcher Geniesse
Trailblazing Women Adventurers
38th out of 203 books — 75 voters
A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonBlood River by Tim ButcherIn a Sunburned Country by Bill BrysonThe Great Railway Bazaar by Paul TherouxTravels with Charley by John Steinbeck
Have Passport Will Travel
112th out of 424 books — 382 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 346)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Freya Stark was a remarkable woman who travelled throughout the Middle East in the 1930’s. She was fluent in Arabic and Arabian history and wrote many popular travel books at a time when women did not travel alone. When travelling through Yemen, she hired members of local Bedouin tribes to guide her to historical regions, old villages, and along the ancient spice routes. The Hadhramaut region of Yemen is the home of the rare Frankincense tree from the species Boswellia. This is a humorous and de ...more
I think this pretty much says it all:
"On the occasion of the arrival of the free and respected one, and of her honouring the court of our excellent school, I rise to welcome her happy visit to the abode of the noble Sharifs, the country of Al Ahqaf, the place of residence of our venerated ancestors and that where our forebears were born. Her spirit and firm courage are show to us inasmuch as she is the first woman to visit the province of Hadhramaut alone, without any companion of her own sex or
In the early 1930s, Stark, a single British woman, traveled through southern Arabia alone, visiting country that few other Europeans had seen, particularly few women. This might sound incredibly dangerous, and it probably was, but Stark was helped along by her passion for Arabic history and her genuine interest in the people she met (as well as near fluency in Arabic, as far as I can tell), as well as her poise, charm, humor, and sense of adventure. She befriends bedouins and sheiks alike, as we ...more
Later writers have snide things to say about her, but which other woman was riding about without a man to protect her in the back country east of Yemen back in the 1930's. And, she is a literate writer. Thus the 4 stars.

It's a quick read, but it is soooo personal, in contrast to all the geo-political tomes of today.
Yes, she heavily edited the friction out of this, but it's a great glimpse inside the closed society of the emirates area when significant remnants of the ancient economy and society
Maybe 3.5 stars, as I did feel my eyes glazing over from time to time, but generally I really enjoyed both her account, as well as the opportunity to read a description of a Middle Eastern region from a historical perspective.
Beautiful. Especially suited to the 1980's in Manchester during a slow burning heroin habituation. Somehow nodding out didn't spoil a thing...
Another intrepid traveller
in Araby. I so love these
people and the luck of living
when they did and the worlds
they got to see.
Freya Stark was mentioned in To War with Whitaker
By Hermoine Ranfurly. They met during WW2.
Pemberton marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2014
Andrea marked it as to-read
Dec 22, 2014
Brooke marked it as to-read
Dec 19, 2014
Hoyadaisy marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Heidi marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2014
GT marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2014
Jen marked it as to-read
Dec 08, 2014
Bijo Mathew Philip
Bijo Mathew Philip is currently reading it
Nov 17, 2014
Economoose marked it as to-read
Nov 17, 2014
Mary Denney
Mary Denney marked it as to-read
Nov 12, 2014
Sharlene marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2014
Damir Antunovic
Damir Antunovic marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Kate is currently reading it
Nov 06, 2014
Stephen Harvey
Stephen Harvey marked it as to-read
Nov 04, 2014
Dede marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2014
Marko Mehner
Marko Mehner marked it as to-read
Oct 27, 2014
Alanna marked it as to-read
Oct 25, 2014
Nancy marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2014
Tracy Wild
Tracy Wild marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2014
Chaitra marked it as to-read
Oct 13, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark
  • Arabian Sands
  • Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea
  • Reflections on a Marine Venus
  • From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East
  • Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
  • The Road to Oxiana
  • When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty
  • On the Grand Trunk Road
  • Travels in West Africa
  • Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy
  • Warriors of God: Inside Hezbollah's Thirty-Year Struggle Against Israel
  • Travels With Myself and Another
  • The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt
  • News From Tartary
  • My Life as an Explorer
  • The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
  • Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus
Freya Stark was born in Paris, where her parents were studying art. Her mother, Flora, was an Italian of Polish/German descent; her father, Robert, an English painter from Devon.

In her lifetime she was famous for her experiences in the Middle East, her writing and her cartography. Freya Stark was not only one of the first Western women to travel through the Arabian deserts (Hadhramaut), she often
More about Freya Stark...
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels A Winter in Arabia Baghdad Sketches (Travel) The Journey's Echo: Selections from Freya Stark (Travels) Ionia: A Quest

Share This Book