Camels & Horses, Petra
The Camel is the main beast of burden of the middle east and north africa and even in Petra, you will see a lot of Camels in the Complex and you can take the slow tour of petra complex riding the tall camels. A camel ride wil start in front of the Al Khanzeh (treasury buidling) where there are lots of camels and bedouin camel herders and you must haggle for the price as a two hour ride along the petra complex will cost you JD 20 to 40, depending on your haggling skills, if you also pose in front of a camel, the camel herders will askd you JD 1 for the picture (unless you are renting the camel for the ride, then it is inlcuded in the price).
there are two kinds of horses for transportation in Petra, the "free" horse ride from the Ticket entrance to the Entrance to the Siq and back which is included in the admission ticket you paid for (the ride is 600 meters to the entrance to the Siq) but the horse guides will ask for JD 3 to 5 tip from your either way and the horses inside Petra (that are at the front of the Al Khazneh or the treasury building), where they can take you around the Petra Complex and they cost a lot more at JD 25 to 40, depending on your haggling skills and usually lasts for 2 hours and you can go unmount the horses and do photo and video stops of the various attractions around petra.
I was disappointed about the condition of horses, camels and donkeys at Petra, during our stay the horses and donkeys were never watered or fed they were made to gallop on slippery surfaces and the state of their tack was nearly always terrible. I wanted very much to ride into Petra but I did not have the courage to sit on one of those poor tired animals, there is no reason for the horses (I include Donkeys and camels) to have ill fitting and cruel saddlery , there are cheap and kinder ways but until the tourist keep on using the animals and are not aware ,or worse don't care about their well being nothing will be done to improve their conditions, that made what was supposed to be a wonderful experience a little sad for me
For the elderly and/or handicapped the Visitors' Centre close to the entrance of the Siq will issue a special permit (at an extra fee) for the carriage to go inside Petra to visit the main attractions. Once inside the site, you can hire a donkey, or for the more adventurous, a camel - both come with handlers and take designated routes throughout the site.
Along with the horses there are also buggies to ride. These drivers can take you all the way through the Siq to the Treasury.
It is not permitted for motorized vehicles to enter the site.
But if you don’t want to walk, you can hire a horse or a horse-drawn carriage to take you through the one kilometer Siq.
Just past the main gate you will be offered horses to ride, or even small buggies for two people. The rides are very inexpensive ($3) and help the local Bedouin make a living. You will be asked several times and then they will politely let you walk on if that is what you wish to do.
The horses at Petra are well groomed and cared for at this site. If you are interested in Arabian horses this is a great place.
You can watch my 3 min 17 sec HD Video Jordan Petra Horse ride out of my Youtube channel.
Of all the animals at Petra I think the camels have it best. I know that other cultures/countries have different views on animal welfare and I probably am at the other end of the scale. Throughout our two days there I never saw any animals being offered any water and donkeys and horses seem to be on a diet of just whole oats/barley which appear to go straight through them. I took the time to examine numerous donkeys that were teethered (usally without shade) and noted lots of saddle sores, extremely tight head collars and open wounds under their tails from the crupper. We refused to ride one (take a taxi in the local lingo) as we are both larger adults, however, we were assured they'd happily put 200kg tourists on them! I also saw a carriage horse with large sores under its girth, but I couldn't get a photo as it was being driven extremely fast through the siq despite the cobblestones and scattering tourists. Also witnessed one beduoin whipping a horse around its head when it was refusing to go forward. The horse was attempting to rear and buck him off and had strayed into the pedestrian area which sent a lot of tourists scrambling. Unfortunately, despite my calling out encouragement to it, it didn't manage to get him off!
When we bought our ticket it stated that the horse ride to the siq is included, however, after we had finished the ride, the horses handlers insisted on a large tip and got quite annoyed at the size of the tip we offered.
I would recommend other travellers to closely examine any animals they get a ride from in Petra and let your conscience decide. We chose not to ride the horses the second day and discovered we had missed a lot of information panels.
I suppose to be on a camel's back is part of a holiday to the Middle East.
In Petra, you can choose to ride on horses, horse-carts, camels and donkeys.
I did not have a problem with these animals being used, or the way they were used, but I did not enjoy seeing the donkeys carrying tourists along the steep and sometimes slippery uphill to The Monastry.
Some kids(guides) were using metal chains to whip these poor animals, carrying obese tourists.
Decide fo yourself.
If people have problems walking the one and a half kilometer through the siq then they can take a horse carriage through the siq to the treasury.
The price for a returen trip is around 20 jordanian dinar at the time of writing (october 2008).
Be aware though that it´s a very bumpy ride.
Apart from your feet, there are three modes of transport within Petra: camels, horses and donkeys. Even if you are fit, a day walking around Petra, especially up the mountains, is going to make your legs really ache. You might be tempted to let the animals take the strain. Camels are obviously the coolest, and the biggest draw, but they can only travel on the flat areas. Horses are the quickest, and most versatile, but can't make it up the steepest inclines. For those, like the stairs to the Al Deir monastery, you are going to need a donkey.
There is no shortage of pack animals to take the strain, but prices are negotiable depending on the distance, the animal, the desperation of the owner, and how much of a sucker you look. To get the best prices, hail a guy walking back to one of the main transport hubs, like outside the treasury. The fact that they have got custom without having to walk all the way back and wait will help you in getting a lower price.
Another way to get to the Treasury or at least half way is on horse back. I did this once and it is great fun riding away from your panicked guide :-) A photographer takes photos of your horse ride and you can purchase the picture afterwards in the souvenir shop close to the parking lot.
The Horses & Carriages only can bring you to the Treasury (approx. 20 JD round trip plus tip), burrows and camels can bring you the rest of the way. I thought, I certainly outweighed the burrow, however I was reassured that they are pack animals and can carry much heavier.
The Carriage and Horse drivers will arrange to meet you back at the Treasury, after you are done, to bring you back up to the visitors center. The ride is bumpy, as the road is mostly cobblestone, but you're not doing any of the work. And depending on where you are staying they may very well take you all the way to your hotel (Crown Plaza or Movenpick.)
As the park was once home to The Bedouins, they run all of the businesses within the Park, & they offer different transportation at different locations. And that is why the Horses and Carriages can only bring tourists to the Treasury.
These 2 tips are dedicated to the girls of The-Wandering-Camelwho are well expertised in "ship of the Desert"'s issues.
All I can say is that the camels are hard working, patient, and not complaining.
And they don't drink mineral water, you know.
At the end of the day they are totally exausted.
To get through the siq to reach Petra takes some time. The options are: to walk, ride a horse or camel, or take a horse and cart. In view of our age and fitness we opted for the latter. To begin with the cart is not the most comfortable vehicle. Then then poor horse was having great difficulting walking on the cobbled areas where he slipped and slithered, and had to endure his owner's whip; whereas on the tarmac he went at a cracking pace. By the time we got back at the end of the trip, we felt it would have been better for us and the horse if we'd walked.
Riding a donkey or a camel in Petra can be very useful transportation method. Donkeys can ride you up to the monastery. The ride can be a little risky, as donkeys go fast along the big slopes of the climbing up. But still, it's a very intelligent way of preserving energy. Also, a ride in a camel back from the restaurant to the Treasury will save you some more self energy and is a nice way of sightseeing all the monuments on your way out of Petra.
When you are in the middle of Petra ruins, there are several options to move around.
You can walk around.
You can somebody to carry you on their back !
Or you can hire a camel or a horse, offered by The Bedouins; Please negotiate the price first !
Ask them how long their animals can take you on their back !