Haraz Mountains are in Yemen.
Haraz is an area named after the mountains which run through it and is home to some of the best qat and coffee in Yemen. For the tourist, outside of Manakha and Al Hajjerah, there are not too many places to go on your own (due lack of facilities and language barriers). It is fantastic for hiking but you should have a guide to make it easier travelling through the villages. It is one of the most conservative areas but offers some if the best hospitality and spectaclar views.
Manakha is the main city in the Haraz mountains and was an ancient stronghold. It is perched on a mountain-side overlooking the valley which leads to Hodeidah on one side and the mountains leading to Sana'a on the other. Most visitors are western tourists or Ismailis going to one of their pilgrimage sites behind the city. It is a "city" in relation to the rest of the villages in the region, but by western standards is definitely a village. Mahweet is a northern city in the mountain range, but Manakha has more to offer for visitors and is easier to get to.
Because of its conservative nature, a guide is really recommended in the area unless you are really experienced in Yemen and its culture. It is one of the most beautiful areas in Yemen and worth the visit, but be aware of how easily westerners can offend people (mostly by accident) and how that affects the visitors that come after them.
Arabic is the language, but outside of the Manakha area the dialect gets very thick and seems almost like a new language. For this reason, unless you are very fluent you really should have a guide with you.
From Sana'a you can go by bus, taxi or private car to Manakha and from there set up your trip. To go by bus you would take the bus to Hodeidah and get off in Al Mughraba and take a taxi to Manakha from there. Taxis leave from Bab Al Yemen or from 'Aser.
- The whole area offers views more than anything. It also gives the tourist an opportunity to see traditional Yemenis and traditional ways of life- it is like stepping back in time in this region.
- Dancing- the dancing in Haraz is one of the more amazing sights you see in Yemen. Take the opportunity to watch when you can and if you can't find a wedding or occasion see the performance at the Al Hajjerah Tourist Hotel in Manakha (locals call it Funduq al 'Agel).
- Beni Ismail is a spectacular area that is famous for its coffee and the special technique used to grow it.
- Manakha rally is the only place for visitors to stay, but using the city as a basecamp of sorts will allow them to tour the region by foot.
- Haraz Wildlife Sanctuary.
See the performance at the Al Hajjerah Tourist Hotel in Manakha. They serve the best meal in the area (a full traditional Yemeni meal with Hareesh, Saltah and Bint Assahan as the highlight, as well as some other dishes) and after your lunch a local musician comes to sing and Abdullah Al 'Agel (the owner) and his sons come out and dance. They are famous in the area for their dancing and hospitality.