Having booked for the Taif Roses Season Tour after seeing it advertised in the Destination Jeddah magazine, we thought there would be quite a few going. It turned out that there was only two going. Chris and I. So fortunately for us the owner of Explorer & Expat Tours of KSA, Fahad said he would pick us up personally. He arrived in his car instead of a bus with his wife Lara.
On the drive out of Jeddah toward the mountains we stopped for coffee and Fahad bought us breakfast. Beef bacon, egg, chips, fruit juice and water.
I hadn’t realised the mountains were so close to Jeddah. It was so good to see mountains, they reminded me of the Andes Mountains in Chile where I lived for 3 months in 2008. The many colours of granite, green stone and basalt rock.
As we were driving we saw many Bedouin camps with their camels. Some of them had their front or back legs tethered together with rope to prevent them from running away. They are given hay and water, as there is not a lot of greenery for them to eat. Many of the camels roam freely and come back to their camps for a feed.
The first place we went to was the Rose Farm. Most of the roses have been picked and taken to the warehouse where they extract by distillation the precious green liquid (ROSE OIL) and make two types of Rose Water, one heavy and one light. To start the process, they collect from the floor a number of rose heads and put them in a woven basket. This is placed on one side of a set of scales and weighed. They place another basket on the other side with an amount of rose heads that balances the scales.
It takes 3 full baskets of rose flowers to empty into just one of the boilers. They are boiled and the oil and rose water comes out the other side, where it drips into bottles. The ashes from the burned rose petals is used for incense burning. This is often used in Perfume shops in the malls. It takes 15,000 rose heads to make 1 small bottle of rose oil. That’s a lot of picking!!! The rose oil at Taif is known to be one of the best in the world.
We drove past area’s where the roses grow and we also saw some old stone houses. (what remains of them) Our guide was very knowledgeable and shared information on the history and culture of Saudi Arabia.
We travelled up to the top of the mountain to the baboons. They were happily playing on the rock edges overlooking the Zig Zag Rd.
Next it was time for lunch at the Intercontinental in Taif. A lovely buffet was provided and delicious sweets of course!
Our next stop was at a vegetable and flower farm. It is the biggest farm in Saudi Arabia, exporting and importing all over the country and around the world. There was rows and rows of hot houses. We were driven around by one of the workers on the farm in a v8 Mercedes. (very comfortable)
Saw beautiful rose bushes, gladioli’s, carnations and other flowers. Many vegetables and even some sheep.
Also went to a market in Taif and lastly we went to a herb farm where we had mint tea with some Bedouin Men. They gave us a load of freshly picked herbs and showed us their prize cockerel who is their special pet.
Had a wonderful day and came back with a bag each of roses, various waters, some gladioli corms, tomatoes and herbs. We thoroughly recommend going on a tour with Fahad. He does many different tours including camping in a Bedouin tent in the desert. For more information you can email him at [email protected]
Taif Roses … a shrub traveled through Centuries native of Sparta were planted Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt until settled in Al Hada area of Taif, where the weather and soil is the main factor cause of her fame, as recently Mentioned in Guinness record as the best in the world Among Greece, Turkey and Sparta and Egypt India and other production.
Taif roses season starts from the beginning of March till the end of April, taking into consideration the affected product rain and cold weather as well as the Value of product of rose oil essential.
Stages of Cooking Roses:-
• collect roses before sunrise was filled with drops of dew and
• fills in bags of cloth and
• transferred to Distillery Lap where weighed
• put in cooking pots (10000 to 14000 Rose) upon size of the pot
• adding A bottle of Bride water & a bottle of Normal water & cover the pot is so isolated from the air
• cook for 14 hours under Temperature of 380
• distillation filled drop by drop until mobilize 2 bottle ( first bottle is bride rosewater the First Squeeze intensive )
• 2nd Bottle is normal rosewater
• The rose essential oils what taking from the surface of the bottle which clear a spot of green color oil and oil content of the 2 bottles
• After collecting the oil and rose water in special containers are drying summary roses after cooking under the sunlight makes them incense and some cosmetics
Fahad M. Al Safh
Explorer & Expat`s Tours
Linked in :- Explorer Tours