Ride through the Wadi Rum Desert with me and my Bedouin guide, Atallah Swalhen. This video features the desert’s beautiful expanses. The Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan is called ?The Valley of the Moon?. Having ridden the lunar landscapes of Iceland as well as the dramatic landscapes of America?s Southwest, I found the Wadi Rum to be a mix of the two. It’s much more diverse than the moon with its variety of pink, red and white sandstone formations, which are striated with lines of black, pockmarked with crevices and decorated with 2500 year-old petroglyphs.
The desert is stunning with surprisingly diverse scenery. There are areas of rocky sand mixed with large dunes, prickly green shrubs and imposing mountain monuments rising up to bright blue, cloudless skies. Dramatic? beautiful? and I wouldn?t want to ride there without a guide, as weaving through those canyons, I would certainly get lost. You might want to get lost, as the desert is wonderful and peaceful, but not during the midday heat. I quickly learned from my Bedouin guide to always be on the lookout for shade.
Even though I was there at the end of September, a cooler time to ride in Jordan?s deserts, temperatures still soared midday. For our Jordan equestrian adventures, we would rise early to ride in the cool of the morning and break for many hours during the heat, finding refuge under the shade of a canyon. The Bedouin are masters at finding shade. Whenever we had the chance, we would make for a canyon to ride among the shadows for our benefit and for our horses.
In the video above, you can see a typical desert lunch. My Bedouin friends would lay out mats on the sand, light a fire and cook simple but delicious meals, followed by piping hot chai, tea with various herbs and spices. For lunch on our first day, Ibrahim made a dish called bazelleh that consisted of sliced tomatoes, onions and garlic sauteed with beans, oil and a multitude of spices. It may sound elementary, but it tasted wonderful. We ate without silverware, using small pieces of pita bread as spoons. It was zesty and filling. I savored it, along with the water and hot chai. Then, everyone lay down and slept until it was cool enough to ride again.