Ever since the Haradrim allied with Sauron during the War of the Ring, Near Harad’s reputation has suffered, particularly among the peoples of northwestern Middle Earth. However, with the war long since over and new trade routes opening up between Harad, Gondor and the North, there has never been a better time to take advantage of a trip to Harad to discover its many hidden attractions. Here are The Times of Arda‘s suggestions for planning your perfect trip to Near Harad.
What to see
Harad is full of contrasts. Dramatic mountain scenery vies with endless desert vistas, and dotted here and there are jewel-like oases bursting with birdlife, gurgling springs, lush palm plantations and ancient mudbrick castles.
History buffs will love the mysterious First Age cairns and forts which are scattered in Harad’s remote mountain ranges, and those looking for local colour can take a stroll through Harad’s exotic markets and bazaars, where you’ll find handicrafts and snake-charmers.
Lovers of wildlife are also spoilt for choice. Local travel agencies offer everything from desert camping trips to swimming with dolphins in the crystal-clear waters of the Great Western Sea. Near Umbar, there are a number of mûmakil sanctuaries where you can get up close and personal to these fantastic creatures, some of which saw service in the War of the Ring but have since been honourably retired.
Where to stay
Harad’s greatest metropolis is Umbar on the western coast, a former colonial Númenórean outpost which has became Harad’s undisputed cultural capital. There is a wide choice of accommodation for travellers of every budget, but we especially recommend the Umbar Grand, which sits perched high above the city and enjoys fantastic sea views. Double rooms with breakfast cost from 38 castars a night.
What to eat
The cuisine of Near Harad is as enticing as it is exotic. Sample typical chilli-infused stews and grilled meats at the Ship’s Tavern in Umbar, which serves authentic food at reasonable prices.
This article was written in association with the Board for the Promotion of Tourism in Near Harad.