If you have read Petra – with Grandma and Kids, then you might wanna know how we continued our trip to Wadi Rum. Coming from Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp in Little Petra Friday afternoon we took a nice scenic route through some small villages and the King’s Highway until reaching Wadi Rum. From the Police Checkpoint, depending on if you stay in one of the Northern camps or more Southern, you will either turn left or go straight until you reach Wadi Rum Visitor Center, after a few more minutes. Once there, you have to buy your ticket there, which is 5 JD when you are a non-resident, 1 JD for residents or included, if you are a Jordan-Pass holder. From there you will make your way towards Wadi Rum Village, where you usually will meet your host.
We booked “Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp” (the actual name of the camp) via Booking.com, as I wanted to have something confirmed since we had my mom visiting us. Of course, this is just one of the ways, and if you don’t want to book in advance you can also organize a camp from Wadi Rum village or contact the hosts directly if you have their numbers. If you are coming from outside of Jordan, then it probably gives you more peace of mind to book in advance.
Of course, it is just one of the many camps in Wadi Rum and I also heard good things about Hasan Zawadeh, but it seems very close to the road, then there is Desert Star or the luxury camp Aicha with the Bubble tent. You might also opt for something smaller, more remote, since the idea of going into the desert, is to experience true Bedouin lifestyle as close as it gets. I personally think that regarding sustainability and environmental reasons, people should opt for less luxurious options. In our camp, you would actually find showers, but the water is heated via solar panels and if it is cold and cloudy, so the water is. So, it was totally OK to skip the shower. The small huts also don’t have anything fancy except a light bulb. The beds were quite comfy and there are blankets to keep you warm. If you go in the very cold season between November and February, you might want to take a sleeping bag.
Mohammed’s brother picked us up and on the back of the pickup, we drove into the desert. We were kind of late and just in time to watch the sunset if we only were able to see the sun. We quickly dropped off our stuff in the tent huts. Next to Mohammed’s camp, there is a very nice spot that you can climb up and watch the sun going down from there. On our day it was pretty cloudy though, so it was not as spectacular.
After the sunset, you can wander around, sit in the big communal tent, and enjoy some Bedouin tea or sit next to the fire until dinner is served. Around 8 PM, the traditional food (Zarb) was pulled up from the ground. If you don’t know it yet, it is chicken and vegetables with potatoes grilled/smoked over charcoal underground. Depending on the number of people, you will have some layers filled with food, that is then slowly smoked until ready. It is really delicious and the buffet was enlarged by some simple salads, mezze, khubz and other food such as meatballs, rice, and vegetables.
After dinner, you are welcome to reside in the large communal tent, next to the open fire, enjoy the view of the stars or go to your hut to sleep. Titus very much enjoyed listening to the Oud and running around the tent. There are two- and three-bed huts as well as family rooms. Also, Mohammed is building some more spacey, luxury rooms with a small terrace facing into the desert. However, these were not finished, yet. They might be nice for families, bigger groups, or if you desire more space.
The next morning, we opted for a jeep tour after Titus sat on a camel for some time, which he, of course, couldn’t resist. You can discuss with your hosts, what you want to do, for how long you want to drive, and depending on that, you can explore some special sites in Wadi Rum, such as natural bridges, canyons with Nabataean, Islamic or more recent inscriptions as well as the red sanded mountain or the spring that was featured in the movie Lawrence of Arabia right next to the only two trees in the Wadi Rum desert.
Again, keep in mind that we kept things short because of our young kids and my mom but you can, of course, stay more than one night, go hiking, explore on foot, cycle, go by quad, do sandboarding or even fly over Wadi Rum in a hot air balloon, which is still on my bucket list. The more time you have, the more likely you will get off the beaten track and explore some more remote and lonely sites, which you might appreciate rather than being dragged from one spot to another like a mass tourist. Our tour was nice for the 2-3 hours we had and when I climbed up a mountain above the water springs, I was able to discover a lizard and got some nice pictures and also a video from very close by. Of course, you can also decide to go by camel instead of a jeep if that is what you are looking for. Either way, it is a great nature reserve, a protected area which you should respect and treat as such. Again, when I compare to how it was 10 years ago, I would tend to say, it is already too crowded but it is difficult for me to judge that as it also creates livelihoods for the local community in Wadi Rum and around.
Last but not least, it is still one of my favorite spots in Jordan, as it is something truly unique and I haven’t seen and experienced in any other place or country before, so it will always remain a highlight. When it is warm enough, most places will give you the chance to just drag your bed out of the tent and sleep under the stars, while you won’t hear anything. You can enjoy pure silence – no cars, no people, no animals, no plants, just emptiness.