Hadhramaut or Hadramaut , region, S Arabia, on the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, occupying the southeastern part of Yemen. Historically, the name refers to the former Hadhramaut states, a collective term for the Quaiti and Kathiri sultanates. The chief port and city of the region is Mukalla . The Hadhramaut extends c.400 mi (640 km) from east to west. It consists of a narrow, arid coastal plain, a broad plateau averaging 4,500 ft (1,370 m) high, a region of deeply sunk wadis (watercourses), and an escarpment fronting the desert. – The Columbia Encyclopedia
The Southern Gates of Arabia: a Journey in the Hadhramaut, by Freye Stark (various editions; Modern Library edition, 2001, most recent)
In 1934 the “famed British traveler” Freya Stark began a journey along the ancient “Incense Road” on the Hadhramaut plateau. Her narrative, Southern Gates of Arabia, is no less engrossing because illness kept her from reaching her final destination of Shabwa, “described by Pliny as a city with sixty temples.” Stark’s descriptions of people and landscape, whether looking out from a guesthouse window in "Makalla", or by “donkey, car, and on foot through desert and mountain villages,” transport readers back to her own time and into the ancient history of the Middle East.
Yielding to a passion I have always had for roads or rivers, I thought last year to try to reach Shabwa by way of the Hadhramaut. Thence I would follow either the main route by Harib and Marib to Ma’in in Najran – the ‘single narrow road’ which led…through the capitals of the four Arabian empires; or if this proved to be impossible, I would do what I could round Shabwa and return to the ancient port of Cana – somewhere near Bir Ali on the coast – along what must once have been the main thoroughfare through the hills. – from The Southern Gates of Arabia: a Journey in the Hadhramaut, by Freya StarkPublisher’s Website