Jordan- Sunrise Camel Ride

Riding a camel as the sun rises in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan requires you to get up early, really early. I was up at 5 AM to meet the camels after a late night in the desert camp. We slept in Captain’s Desert Camp, which has an active party atmosphere. As live music was played, I ate plentiful mansaf for dinner. Mansaf is a Jordanian dish made with lamb, yogurt, rice, egg and spices. It was served on a big platter and to my surprise there were no plates or silverware. Everyone dug in with their right hand, rolling the rice, sticky with yogurt sauce, into a ball and sticking it into their mouth. Think of it like eating buffalo wings or BBQ chicken with your hands. You want some sort of hand wipes or something afterwards.

We hiked out to meet the camels in the morning. Riding a camel isn’t like riding a horse. I think camels are a lot harder to control, but maybe these camels weren’t that well trained, just as horses can be. My camel was better than Ibrahim’s, my guide’s, but he kept wanting to sit down! We took off from Captain’s Camp toward a higher ridge, where we could film the sunrise. It was beautiful.

Right beside Captain’s Camp is a racetrack where they hold camel races, something that would be funny to see. Camels can run pretty fast, 25 mph for a longer stretch and up to around 40 mph in short bursts. Our camels were simply walking, enough for me on camelback at 5am.

Darley Newman is the host of the Emmy Award-winning Public Television series Equitrekking®, which takes viewers on horseback riding vacations around the world. Equitrekking is broadcast on PBS stations and on international networks in over 30 countries.

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