The horses used on this horse riding holiday in Jordan are Bedouin Arabs, Pure Arabs and Anglo Arabs, ideal for the climate and terrain. Incredible riding and camping in the middle of the desert surrounded only by hills of granite and desert sand. Your luggage is transported for you. Depending on the time of year you go, the programme includes an opportunity to spend a full day in Petra, an afternoon in Aqaba to swim & snorkel at the Red Sea, and one full day to swim, float & relax at the Dead Sea.
Read about riding trip David LO Smith did in Wadi Rum.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from VS of london on 21/04/2017

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response I would have loved to know we could bring our own gel pads for the saddles, my tack was the one in the worst condition of the whole group.
What could we do to improve this ride? A part from the tack and the rain, which was a bit annoying it was all truly perfect.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced? 5
Please explain why you scored it as you did It was a very much walking trail with few burst of trot and canter. Under our request we had a few gallops in a very controlled way which was good fun
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments All perfect!
Unicorn comments Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a good time! :)

Day 1
Arrival at the airport, where your guide and your driver will meet you.
Then we will drive you to Amman, around 20 min drive . Dinner and night in Amman/Madaba in a 3* hotel.

Day 2
Early morning at 7.30, our bus will collect us to go to Petra (around 2h30 drive). Arrival around 10 am, full day to visit the site. The group will have a 4 hours guided visit with an official guide. Everyone will be free to walk inside the site or to go back to the hotel after this. There are many small restaurants inside the site to get lunch.
Our 3 * hotel is located right at the entrance of the site; everyone is free to go back to the hotel at anytime. Dinner and at the hotel.

Day 3
After breakfast, our bus will drive you to Wadi Rum (around 1h30 drive). Arrival in the village of Wadi Rum in our stable around 9.30am.
Time to drink the first bedouin tea, meet the horses and the team.
First ride through Um Ishrin valley, on the way visit of Lawrence’s house. After lunch we will ride through an open valley with a view over the red sand area. Dinner and bivouac in Abu Hassaran.

Day 4
After breakfast, we will cross Rash Rasha valley with its red sands and go to Qatar mountain. There we will see the spring and have lunch. After lunch, ride to Um Raza, its red sands and its canyons, where we will set up camp for the night.

Day 5
After breakfast, we will ride to Arab Antar, a natural cave famous for its legends. Lunch near Arab Antar, then we will go to Sweibat valley, that is located 5 km from the saudian border. Dinner and bivouac in Sweibat.

Day 6
After breakfast, we will cross through Cerdan valley and see a Neolithic well that is still used by the Bedouins. We will have lunch in Um Umgur. Then we will cross narrow canyons to arrive in Abu Rashaba where we will set up camp for the night.

Day 7
After breakfast, we will ride from Abu Rashaba to Jebel Burdah and see the natural rock bridge on its summit. After lunch we will ride to the red sand dunes and Jebel Um Feshiyeh and its nabatean inscriptions. Dinner and bivouac in the red sand dunes area.


Option 1:  9 night programme:

Day 8

After breakfast, we will cross Barragh canyon, that is the longest canyon in Wadi Rum, having a look at its monumental cliffs, famous for rock climbing. Then we will cross the Disseh plain to go back to our stable. Lunch in the stable.
Afternoon transfer to Madaba, overnight in hotel.

Day 9
Transfer to Amman, morning visit in the Old City. Afternoon leisure at the Dead Sea beach and a visit to Mount Nebo. Overnight in hotel.

Day 10
Transfer back to the airport in the morning for flight home.


Option 2:  8 night programme:

Day 8
After breakfast, we will cross Barragh canyon, that is le longest canyon in Wadi Rum, having a look at its monumental cliffs, famous for rock climbing. Then we will cross the Disseh plain to go back to our stable. Lunch in the stable.
Afternoon transfer to Madaba, overnight in hotel.

Day 9
Transfer back to the airport in the morning for flights home.

Weight Limit
A strict weight limit is enforced on this ride due to the Arabian breed and sandy nature of the ground.

Alcohol
Please note that if you wish to drink alcohol whilst on the camping portion of the trip you will need to purchase this in advance and bring it with you.

Non-Riders
Non-riders are welcome to join the itineraries and can choose to either follow the ride travelling in the logistical jeep or to take part in a camel trail, meeting up with the rest of the ride at lunch times and in the evenings.

Transfers
A transfer will be arranged from Amman Airport to the hotel in Madaba/ Amman. This transfer will meet the arrival of the flight and will be in the evening of Day 1 of the trip itinerary. At the end of the trip there will be a transfer from the group hotel in Madaba/Amman to Amman Airport timed to meet the check in for the flight back. This transfer will be in the early morning of Day 10 of the trip itinerary (Day 9 for the Christmas or shorter 8 night programme). A representative of our local agent will assist with the transfers between the airport and the group hotel.

The transfer is included in the price for arrival and departure as follows:

2017: Arrival: Day 1 between 16:00 and 00:00
2017: Departure: Day 9/10 until 14:00

If these transfers do not work with your flights, we will charge an extra transfer from/ to Amman Airport

The price for an extra transfer is 40JD in 2016

Accommodation upgrade
The trail in Wadi Rum involves camping or sleeping under the starts in the desert en route with basic facilities. For those wanting a higher level of comfort there is now a comfort camp option.  Each night after the ride you can be transferred (about 20min) to a remote but comfortable based camp in the valley of Abu Hassaran ( 15 km away from the village of Wadi Rum). The camp is equipped with traditional tents on stilts (to avoid sand and insects) with a wooden floor and made up beds. There is a large traditonal style sitting/dining tent and an ablution block with flush toilets and hot showers provided by solar heating. Please see detailed prices for this option.

The sample itinerary above is the Spring and Autumn itinerary and takes place in March, April, May, October and November.
Here are shortened versions of the Winter and Christmas and New Year Itineraries, the riding details will be as above:

Winter Itinerary - January, February, September
Day 1 = Arrive
Day 2 = Visit Petra
Day 3 = Riding Wadi Rum
Day 3-8 = Riding
Day 8 = Aqaba/Red Sea
Day 9 = Overnight Amman on Day 9
Day 10 = Depart

Christmas and New Year Itinerary - December
Day 1 = Arrive
Day 2 = Visit Kings Road/Dead Sea
Day 3 = Visit Petra, overnight Wadi Rum
Day 4-8 = Riding, overnight Amman on Day 8
Day 9 = Depart


Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

The Birds of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan - Ian J. Andrews. The best ornithological field guide from a longtime leader of birdwatching tours to Jordan.
The Antiquites of Jordan - Lankester G. Harding
Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans - Jane Taylor
Jewels of the Kingdom: The Heritage of Jordan - Peter Vine
Jordan: A Land For All Seasons - Zohrab Markarian

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses are mostly Bedouin Arabians with some pure Arabs (WAHO Registered), Part-breds and some Anglo Arabs, average size 15hh. They originate from Jordan, Syria, & Iraq. They are mainly mares & geldings, and a couple of stallions. They live outside in the desert most of the year, so they are tough, strong, spirited, fast, and responsive. They are also very sensitive and sensible. They are all extremely well cared for and are looked after to the highest standards. The tack is all English general purpose saddles, mainly synthetics made by Wintec. Leather and synthetic bridles are used mainly with snaffle bits and some pelhams. There are saddle pads with a big pocket on each side suitable for water bottle, camera or other personal belongings. The ride has 6 consecutive riding days. There are about 5 to 6 hours riding a day, starting with 3 to 3 1/2 hours in the morning, a lunch break 2-3 hours, and then 2 to 3 hours ride in the afternoon. This covers between 25 to 35 Km per day. There may be some walking each day leading the horses and at the start & end of the ride for 5 minutes to warm the horses and cool them down. In general the pace of the ride is moderate, but changes according to terrain and time of the day. The landscape and trails are generally open and flat, which provides good opportunities for long trots and fast canters. There are usually nice long gallops as well, but that depends on the riding ability and wishes of the group as a whole. The terrain of Wadi Rum is generally sandy, vast & open. You may pass nomadic Bedouins living in traditional Bedouin tents on the tours.

Rider requirements

• Comfortable spending up to six hours a day in the saddle.
• Comfortable at all paces including gallop.
• Able to ride over rough and challenging terrain.
• Fit and able to accept an adventurous environment

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:

1. As the horses are fine Arabians they can't bear to carry more than 13.5 stones (85 kilos). This is a strict requirement for the safety of riders and the horses well being. For this reason your hosts have a set of scales in their stables and riders may be required to be weighed.

2. It is imperative that riders respect the instructions of the extremely knowledgeable guides. The pace is dictated by them according to the group, always with the safety of horse and rider in mind. The terrain here is peculiar to the desert and although the long sandy expanses may inspire riders to want to ride at a fast pace the guides know where the terrain is trickier, stony or uneven for example, and riders are required to follow their guidance carefully.

Your hosts reserve the right to dismount you should either of these factors be compromised.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 13 st/187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodations in Amman, Petra & Aqaba are in 3 and 4 stars hotels –with en suite rooms with TV, phone and mini-bar. Meals provided are breakfast and dinner in the hotels. All nights on the tour will be spent camping at picturesque campsites. Generally speaking the weather is pleasant most of the time for sleeping under the stars. Single & double dome tents that are fast and easy to erect with sleeping mattresses are supplied. For the fixed camps and mainly for the New Year Ride we have a big traditional Bedouin tent that is used for dining, entertainment and sleeping. Please note that sleeping bags are not provided. A shower tent and warm water are available in the evening and there are various protected private areas suitable for showering around the camp sites should you not wish to use the shower tent. All meals are provided during the camping part of the trip. All of the meals on the tour are prepared by the cook & staff. It is local food, always fresh, balanced and plentiful. Local and continental breakfasts. Lunches are usually light, consisting of salads and other local dishes. Main meals for dinner, mainly rice, chicken, vegetables, lamb and other delicious local dishes. Fruit is available after meals. Mineral water, juices, coffee & tea at all time. Vegetarians can be catered for. We eat on a carpet on the floor with mats around, in the traditional Bedouin way. Alcoholic drinks (only red wine and beer) are sold on the tour. You are welcome to bring any other drinks you would like. You are asked to assist with grooming and saddling your horse and can assist with erecting your tent if you like. All baggage, camping equipment, water, food and horse supplies are transported by 4X4 back up vehicles. Generally there are one to three vehicles on the tour depending on the number of participants. All staff including the cook are local Jordanians, Bedouins & Egyptians.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Climate Summary

Jordan has a combination of Mediterranean climate in the north and arid desert climates in the majority of the country. Average temperatures range from 12 to 25 0C with summertime highs of 40 0C in desert regions and lows to zero C at night. Average rainfall is as little as 50mm in the desert and higher in the northern hills some of which falls as snow.
November to May are the best times to visit, December to February are pleasant in the day but cold at night.

Climate Chart




Health

We strongly advise you to consult with your General Practitioner before travelling. The best medical advice regarding suitable immunisations and prophylaxis to enable you to travel safely requires knowledge of your medical history and therefore cannot be covered in this advice sheet. Recommendations are also subject to change and it is important to obtain the most up to date information available.

Film and Camera Equipment

There are opportunities to charge videos and cameras in the hotel nights. On the same nights it will be possible to buy film and batteries. The desert is very sandy and dusty, be aware this is hard going on camara equipment!

Packing List

Riding trousers - jodphurs/breeches/jeans
Lightweight/comfortable trousers for non-riding days
Bandana / sarong / light scarf
Riding boots, paddock boots or riding trainers (with heel)
Riding hat with brim
Half chaps (optional)
Riding gloves
Long sleeved shirts/t-shirts
Lightweight fleece or sweatshirt
Warm jacket for evenings (plus Goretex style waterproof jacket from December to late January)
Warm clothing & underclothing for winter (from Decemebr to late January)
Informal wear for evenings

Pocket Knife
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Sunblock
Sunglasses
Plastic bags for wet clothing and for taking your rubbish home
Camera and film/batteries
Torch or headlamp with spare batteries/bulbs
Copy of your passport
Warm sleeping bag and sleeping sheet
Pack luggage in large soft bags and be aware that temperatures can drop quickly at night in the desert.

Toiletry kit (washcloth, towel etc)
Wet wipes
Lighter to burn toilet paper after use
Plasters
Mosquito repellent

Non-riding days:
Lightweight/comfortable trousers
Trainers/sandals or hiking boots
T-shirts/long sleeved shirts to cover up from the sun
Ruck sack / day pack

Please note for ladies it is polite to cover your shoulders and wear long trousers/skirt - this is much appreciated in the bedouin culture.

Saddlebags are provided

Programmes

Trails run from January to May and September to December.
This 9 night trip (8 nights over Christmas and New Year) which includes 6 full riding days in Wadi Rum covers most of the Wadi Rum Protected Area with a changing landscape all the time. You can also enjoy a full day in Petra, and Aqaba to swim & snorkel at the Red Sea, and one full day to swim, float & relax at the Dead Sea on the winter program.

Departure Dates

2017: 21 Jan; 4, 11, 25 Feb; 4, 18, 25 March; 8, 15, 29 April; 20 May; 2, 9, 23 Sept; 7, 14, 21, 30 (Monday start) Oct; 11, 18 Nov; 2, 17, 24 Dec

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6double pp1,575
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement hotel115
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement tent35
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6non rider1,089
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6Camel trail1,575
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6double pp1,435
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement hotel115
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement tent35
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6non rider995
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6Camel trail1,435
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6double pp1,799
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement hotel129
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement tent40
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6non rider1,249
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6Camel trail1,799
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6double pp1,645
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement hotel129
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement tent40
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6non rider1,139
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6Camel trail1,645
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6double pp1,985
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement hotel145
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement tent44
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6non rider1,375
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6Camel trail1,985
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6double pp1,809
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement hotel145
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement tent44
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6non rider1,249
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6Camel trail1,809
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6double pp17,545
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement hotel1,275
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6single supplement tent389
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6non rider12,175
2017 10d/9n 10d/9n6Camel trail17,545
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6double pp15,995
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement hotel1,275
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6single supplement tent389
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6non rider11,069
2017 9d/8n 9d/8n6Camel trail15,995
Wildlife

Jordan has a great variety of wildlife, not least because it lies at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Arabia and Africa. The deserts, which may initially look devoid of life, turn out to contain a rich flora and fauna especially adapted to the harsh environment, and there's even life in the Dead Sea – you just need a microscope to see the two species of bacteria which are known to occur.
Mosaics, rock art and frescoes paint a picture of Jordan's wildlife at a time when its significance was as a source of food and later sport. Ancient rock art in the eastern deserts depicts gazelles, ibex and ostriches, and stone corrals remain as evidence of systematic trapping by previous generations of Bedouin.

Other Activities

The ride includes an opportunity to snorkle and swim in the Red Sea, as well as a swim in the Dead Sea. There are opportunities to shop and buy souvenirs at Petra, Aquaba and Amman.

Camel Trail for non-riders:
You will progress in the open valleys surrounded by spectacular sandstone mountains, and come to appreciate the silence that using camels as your mounts provides. Riding camels is a very pleasant way to be in contact with bedouin culture, by moving at a natural pace. These trips have the advantage of fitting most of people, both family and sports-oriented. Moreover, camel riding, unlike horse riding, doesn’t require any specific skills or experience.
The local camel guides are local bedouins from Wadi Rum village. They don't speak fluent English and can not work as touristic guides. Their only source of income is to graze camels and guide for camel riding tours. They will really take care of you, they know the desert and the camels perfectly, they will make tea and sing bedouin songs. If your guide can not understand or answer some of your questions, your English speaking guides will be happy to do it in the evening at the camp.

Other Information

Please note when travelling in the Middle East you need to be aware that some Western familiarities can be misconstrued. To avoid any misunderstandings try to remain politely formal and dress modestly (long trousers and covered shoulders for ladies).

Other Country Information

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy. While many aspects of Jordanian life are modern and the government is Western-oriented, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday.

Jordan is one of the most welcoming and hospitable countries in the world. It is a rare place where you can leave your belongings on the side of the road and still find them there when you return, or be invited into a complete strangers home to eat with their family in a completely altruistic gesture. Due to the problems associated with the Middle East tourists usually steer away from Jordan, but this fear has little basis in fact and you will find a beautiful country that is relatively trouble free.

Do be aware that Bedouin culture is wonderfully friendly however there is a fine line. Invitiations to watch the stars and the like should be regarded the care and be absolutely sure they are platonic before accepting!

Jordan is two hours ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code is +962.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Amman International Airport (AMM)
Transfer:
Included from meeting point at set times on set arrival and departure days. For transfers at other times or on other days a charge is payable, please enquire. Transfer time is approximately 30 minutes.
Flight Guide:
London - Amman return £430 - £600. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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