The old town of Al-Mahwit is situated around a mountain fortress. Until the 1970s, Al Mahwit was extremely isolated. The town had a population of about 10,000 in the early 1980s, after which infrastructure was developed and water, sanitation and electricity added. 
The area is mountainous, set in the Haraz Mountains and attracts trekkers. Al-Mahwit is surrounded by several wadis such as Wadi Sama'a, Wadi Eyan, Wadi Juma't Saria, Wadi Hawar, Wadi Bour, Wadi Al- Hawdh, Wadi Thabab, Wadi Laa'a, Wadi Al-Ahjer and Wadi Naa'wan. Numerous villages are spread in the area that were built on and around rocks.