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Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

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Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
11 posts
19 reviews
Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

Having just booked a holiday in Jordan I was very distressed to come across dozens upon dozens of messages here about the abuse of donkeys and horses in Petra. I read in other threads that steps are now being taken to raise the locals' awareness but nevertheless I'm worried it might just ruin the daytrip to Petra for me as I am extremely sensitive to any cruelty to animals. I have travelled widely and know this is an issue in many countries, but other animal lovers here will perhaps understand my feelings.

I am not looking to hear more details of the abuse as I read this in many other threads. My question is: is there any way to avoid particular spots where animal cruelty occurs most, or does it happen everywhere in Petra? I know there is now an incentive to report it to the authorities and I would definitely do this, but all in all I would most rather not witness it at all. Also I wouldn't like to get into a nasty confrontation with local children/youths although I will be travelling with an Arabic-speaker. I would love to hear suggestions from other animal lovers about how you coped. Or should I just skip the whole daytrip (which seems sad too)? Or is this less of an issue than I think? I have for instance visited the Giza pyramids several times and have somehow managed to miss most of the cruelty occurring there, so it was not a distressing experience for me.

Also another question concerning distances: I am currently not very fit and I'm worried about the walking to and from inside Petra in the heat. How long did entering and leaving the city take you? Is it completely exhausting (I'm thinking the Samaria gorge...)? What about once inside the city? Needless to say, taking a donkey is NOT an option! I would be travelling at the end of October so would love to hear about temperatures at that time. Thanks for your help!

14 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
528 posts
1. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

If you start early (7am) you will miss most of the donkeys and the temperature will be fine.

Perth, Australia
Destination Expert
for Syria, Aleppo, Jordan
Level Contributor
5,357 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

End of Oct.is a fine time of the year temp.wise.mid/low twenties



Amman Pasha Hotel

Edited: 5:54 am, August 06, 2014
Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

My sister is also am extremely sensitive to any cruelty to animals, she went with my this March for a whole week to Petra. She so much as doesn't want to kill a wasp or spider and apologizes if she has to kill an ant.. She didn't noticed any real cruelty. On one or two occasions she noticed rather overweight persons sitting on a donkey and sometimes three instead of the allowed two persons in a carriage. There is a brook hospital near the site.

the cats are well taken care of by the local people. you can see her reviews: tripadvisor.com/members-forums/LauraHedwig

If you have trouble walking you could take a carriage from the gate to the Treasury. And if you go early in the morning, you will be fine. I suggest leaving at 06.00 hours.Hardly any tourists and a beautiful sunrise on the treasury.

Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

As for the temperatures. Once I went mid October. Temperatures were somewhere between 25-30C, but in the morning and in the evening it can be quite chilly. At around 5 -pm a strong wind comes down from the mountains.

As for the distances : from the main gate to the Treasury is about 1,7 km and easy walking; for some 20 minutes, but there benches every 100 meters on the way where you can sit and rest and admire the gorge and its many decorations and carvings. Once in front of the Treasury there are some little tea places. From the treasury to the city center you walk easily on a straight road with restaurants/service places on the way for a couple of 100 meters. If you are not very fit then maybe you shouldn't climb to the High place of Sacrifice or to the Monastery. It not really very difficult but strenuous.

I once walked in one day from the entrance gate through the gorge to the Treasury, up to the High place of Sacrifice, then up again to the monastery and then back again through the city center and to the main gate with lunch and some rest on the way.. So I imagine you could easily manage the Treasury and the city center.

The gorge, the Treasury , and the view from inside the valley all around to the mountains are really worth while. Nothing you can ever imagine in its greatness.

Many people don't even go to the high place of sacrifice or the monastery and if you leave early in the morning you wont even see many donkeys and people around.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
169 posts
90 reviews
5. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

Animals there are trained and fit to take people. Those who own it will not abuse them and destroy their daily earnings. I did not see any animal abuse when I went. Donkeys, Horses and Camels are taking people from ancient days in different locations. Don't hurt yourself walking too long and it is not an easy walk. I walked from the entrance till Treasury building first time, but return was exhausting and used the animals for my 2 kids (aged 9 and 5). Second day, I and my wife took the animals all way with kids (3 horses for 4 of us).

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
56 posts
41 reviews
6. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

Hi Suresh,

Can you comment on the costs of the horses? I'm travelling with my wife and 7 year old. My wife suffers from migraine so I know that I will have to hire these way of transport for most of my 3 days there... I would like to prepare a budget for this..



Level Contributor
528 posts
7. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

A ride on those horses or carts would even give a healthy person a migraine! Very bumpy.

Level Contributor
209 posts
1 review
8. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

Where possible I always try to support local communities by using their services or buying some of their paraphernalia - I also think the riding of the various animals adds a cultural feeling to the whole experience . Notwithstanding, I do not agree with the way things are with the proffering of rides - exorbitant prices and very uncomfortable carriages for which you will be charged indecent prices.

With regard to the treatment of animals and the general care... it is true to say western standards and the standards in Petra are very different. Without making excuses - It should also be noted that the whole region is harsh and hostile and contributes to a certain behaviour. However, whilst standards aren't perfect, they are not also that bad and, improving gradually with education and training. So I believe things are moving in the right direction.

Many of the complaints highlighted are from isolated incidences from hyper sensitive people. So if we take things into general perspective - and all things being equal - the situation is good - up from satisfactory and on the road to being very good, in my opinion.

As a result of complaints, I did hear that the Petra Authority were considering dispensing with animals and introducing some kind of electrically motioned vehicles which I find horrendous and not in keeping with one of the wonders of the world. I personally wouldn't be happy to dispense with these wonderful animals and introduce a mechanized conveyance for many reasons.

Hopefully you enjoy your visit - see good husbandry - and write a glowing report on your return home.

Level Contributor
5 posts
7 reviews
9. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

Just back from Jordan and Petra. They have large signs at Petra to report animal abuse if you see it occurring. I did not. The horses, donkeys, mules and camels all looked well fed and cared for. I saw no beatings or whips being used. They do occasionally use a switch or rope tail to urge the animal on, much like a horse rider or jockey uses a riding crop. Bear in mind, these are working, pack animals; they aren't pets. But, by the same token, they are the means of livelihood to their owners, so they look after their investment. Donkeys all seem to have a look of resignation; it seems to be a part of their donkey-ness.

Pocono Pines...
Level Contributor
5 posts
16 reviews
10. Re: Recent visitors to Petra - animal abuse & walking distances

I was in Petra at the end of April 2015. We decided to take a cart back to the entrance because it was very warm and a long way. Our horse was very slow and did not seem to have the energy to pull us along. The driver kept whipping the poor thing. I was waiting for this poor horse to drop dead. When the ride ended, sweat was pouring off from the horse's belly. The man just picked up another ride and off he went. Also, my husband negotiated the price before the ride as our tour guide told us to do, but at the end of this horrendous ride the driver argued with my husband over the cost. It was a very poor experience for me. I could not wait for the ride to be over because of cruelty to the horse. I did report the episode to our guide,

Edited: 4:31 am, May 16, 2015
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