After some group decision making paralysis we let our helpful agent Maher organise a minibus and act as our guide on the trip to Shibam. As promised he arrived directly after morning prayers and we were off soon after 6.30am. Once we'd picked up our armed guard from the tourist police we were soon climbing the valley northwards and onto the arid highlands. There's little vegetation or population here, with the occasional sight of women (it seemed to be exclusively women) goat herders covered in black and wearing tall conical hats with the occasional camel roaming the plains.
Our final destination was Shibam, known as the Manhattan of the desert. A walled city in the valley striking for its ancient high-rise buildings.