Some of my most memorable media trips have been with Ford, like being a part of the Ranger Odyssey in Namibia back in 2014, and going to Silicon Valley last year, where I got to drive a Mustang for the first time. I’ve just returned from a trip with Ford Middle East to Jordan where I had a unique opportunity to drive Ford’s SUVs across the country, taking in the most beautiful scenery along the way. Jordan Tourism Board made sure we had a smooth entry into the country – and as a South African passport holder, I loved – for a change – that it was a visa on arrival; so no lengthy, stressful paperwork beforehand. I obtained an international drivers licence a couple of weeks ago, which can be done at any AA approved outlet, and takes about 5-10 minutes. Quite honestly, it seemed way too easy; there’s no tests etc. Not complaining though.
Ford’s truck and SUV lineup is a huge part of what the company is known for. To give you an idea of how extensive the lineup was, we were given the opportunity to drive them, which includes the Ranger (built in South Africa; exported to 148 markets!); F-150; Edge; Explorer; Expedition; and Escape. Yes, the naming can get confusing, and there’s also the EcoSport. Ford sold 2.6m trucks and SUVs in 2015 globally (9% of the market).
Why Jordan? Ford recreated the scenes from Lawrence of Arabia, following the path of TE Lawrence and the Arab army over 100 years ago, to take Aqaba. The two-month journey was completed by international media and bloggers in Ford’s toughest SUVs in several hours, covering Wadi Rum, where the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” is located.
I was most excited to get into the F-150 first, you know since we’re probably not going to see it in South Africa. It’s a 5L V8 of beast, and the new model we drove had some improvements like being 700 pounds lighter, an improved dent and ding resistance, and all the latest tech I’ve become used to in Ford vehicles. I quite enjoyed driving it, despite the journey being mainly a straight road. Although it is massive, I didn’t “feel” it as much as I felt the Expedition. The drive was comfortable and with the aircon at 16.5°, it didn’t feel like almost summer in the desert.
I also drove the Edge, which is not coming to South Africa. It was quite windy in Wadi Rum, but so beautiful. The off-road driving was enjoyable and the views were magnificent.
The driving was split between 3 media/bloggers/’influencers’ so it didn’t feel monotonous. Every time we thought we took a good pic, the scene changed, leaving us taking more, thinking each one was the best. If you’re a photographer and love traveling, you should make a point of visiting Jordan.
From a travel perspective, Jordan would make a great stop in the Middle East, for about 2-3 days, if you ever find yourself that side. Food is halal and the scenery is breathtaking. From top to bottom, Jordan is about 370km in length.
Amman is about less than 3 hours from Dubai. We stayed at a hotel right by the Dead Sea, which was an hour away from Amman/the airport. Also: the Jordanian dinar is stronger than the US$.
I had an absolutely amazing time driving Ford’s SUVs and trucks through Jordan. At times it felt we were driving for a long time, but the stops and views made up for it. It was just unfortunate that we couldn’t go to Petra on Saturday due to violent protests and nobody, including tourists were allowed.
One of my highlights of the trip was all vehicles had a Huawei CarFi dongle inside, with unlimited data access, provided by the network Zain in Jordan. How to keep media happy at a motoring event? Stick a CarFi dongle into it! I was also impressed by the coverage, there were only a handful of times were we lost signal. While some of you think it’s okay to switch off once in a while and enjoy the scenes, it’s also possible to do all that with an internet connection. Why choose?
Thanks Ford Middle East and Ford South Africa for showing us how beautiful Jordan is, and how comfortable it was in your trucks and SUVs. Thank you for another memorable trip! 🙂