Travel in Jordan: Camping with Bedouins in Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum translates to ‘Valley of the Moon’, which is fitting, since this place looks like it could be found on a completely different planet. 😮
DSC_7537In fact, this valley was the recent filming location for The Martian, starring Matt Damon.
lead_960The movie is supposed to be set on Mars, which makes Wadi Rum perfect, for its vivid red rocks and desert sand.
DSC_7602DSC_7567All I’m missing is my space suit. 😉15122986_10105997095175077_6570272981723842577_oThis valley was created many years ago, by natural splitting of granite rock and sandstone, through the vast Jordanian desert.
DSC_7568DSC_7680The first inhabitants of Wadi Rum were the Nabateans, and their inscriptions can be seen on numerous rock facades.
DSC_7657The carvings are of animals found within the desert, camels along the trading routes, as well as, religious Talmudic inscriptions, similar to those found in the Quran.DSC_7607Another famed figure springing from this desert was T.E. Lawrence, more commonly recognized in the Hollywood film, Lawrence of Arabia. T.E. Lawrence was an early 20th century author and officer who used his military background to help guide nomadic Arabs to revolt against the Ottoman Empire. His success in this desert, and contribution in this Arab coup led him to write the novel, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. omar-sharif-peter-otoole-lawrence-of-arabiaCurrent inhabitants of Wadi Rum are Bedouin nomads. They traditionally sustained a living through goat herding, using them to produce milk, meat, and yogurt.DSC_7339More recently, with the fame of Lawrence of Arabia, the Bedouins have earned a living through eco-adventure tourism.
DSC_7707The Bedouins have set up camps in desert, where visitors can tour the valley of Wadi Rum, and end their day sleeping beneath a blanket of stars. ❤DSC_7779

Camping with Bedouins in Wadi Rum

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Getting there

To get to Wadi Rum from Petra, I took a local bus, which cost 7 JD (10 USD) and took 3 hours.

Accommodation 

There are heaps of camps to choose from, but based on reviews I found on both TripAdvisor and Facebook, I chose the Bedouin Lifestyle Camp.

Tour Package 

Among the many excursions available at this camp, I chose a full day jeep safari, which cost 65 JD (91 USD).DSC_7548It included a 7-hour jeep tour across the desert, packed lunch, sandboarding excursion, complimentary tea and water, traditional Bedouin dinner, tent accommodation, breakfast the next day, and transportation to and from the Wadi Rum visitor’s center. Not too shabby for all that! 😀
DSC_7676Along with the New Zealander, there were four other people on my jeep. There was an accountant from Germany, an after-school teacher from Seattle, who was originally born in the Philippines, as well as, a LA based animation designer, originally from Thailand, who currently works for Walt Disney. Here is my crew. 😉DSC_7693Also at our camp, but in a separate jeep were a group of travelers from Bangkok. They all bought matching Jordanian outfits, and made this tour into their own desert photo shoot. 😛
DSC_7582Our guide for the day was Fayez, a Bedouin who grew up in Wadi Rum, and learned English to work in the tourist industry.DSC_7668

Attractions
Nabatean Temple: Marble columned ruins dating back to the 14th century B.C. built to honor of the Gods of good foliage and fruit.DSC_7512DSC_7514
Lawrence’s Spring: A natural water source, based high on the mountainside.DSC_7522 DSC_7534DSC_7554Now the water is sent down a pipe to the valley basin, for both the nomads and camels to enjoy.DSC_7545DSC_7557I used this stop as a chance to bond with the camels. ❤DSC_7523I figured, with my camel pants, they might accept me as one of their own. 😀DSC_7530Apparently I was wrong! Look out! He’s gonna spit! 😮DSC_7531
Home of Lawrence: The home and hideaway of Lawrence of Arabia, when he was leading the Arab Revolt. DSC_7671

Burrah Canyon:  A long and deep canyon filled with desert foliage, as well as, brightly colored red and white sand.
DSC_7680DSC_7687DSC_7691

Khazali Canyon: A deep fissure in the mountainside, filled with ancient Islamic drawings.DSC_7608 DSC_7612DSC_7613DSC_7605
Um Frouth Rock Bridge: A gorgeous natural rock arch that’s quite easy to climb.
DSC_7711DSC_7717Although it’s easy to climb up, it’s recommended to crab crawl down. 🙂DSC_7719We also drove around to look at a smaller arch, a mushroom shaped rock, and overall just enjoyed driving around this gorgeous desert landscape. 😀DSC_7679DSC_7674DSC_7743DSC_7678

Activities

Sandboarding: Similar to snowboarding, it’s easy to ride the slopes of Wadi Rum’s high desert sand dunes.DSC_7615The bindings on the board don’t really matter, since you are unable to turn once you’re on the board.DSC_7636My advice is just to stand up, balance your body, and try to enjoy the ride. 🙂15137534_10105994083889717_2305562212556411286_oDSC_7634If you have any doubts about standing, butt-boarding is just as fun. 😛DSC_7623
Food

In the beginning of the tour we were given a packed lunch, with the option of tuna or hummus. The bag was full of pre-packaged snacks, along with fresh veggies and humongous pita rounds.
DSC_7502DSC_7665I’ve never had hummus in a box before, but the portable option came in quite handy. 😀DSC_7506Sneaky cat trying to steal snacks during our lunch break. 😛DSC_7675We also stopped for a few tea breaks throughout the day. The tea here is called Bedouin whiskey, and is made with black tea, sage, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. If you prefer without sugar, ask for Bedouin beer. 😉
DSC_7552During the rest stops I also bought this solid perfume, which is perfect for travel, and smelled of sweet amber. ❤DSC_7556After a full day of desert activities, we were all exhausted and ready for a hearty nomadic meal. This is the dinner tent, imported from Saudi Arabia. 😀DSC_7745They had roasted chicken, onions and potatoes that they had cooked all afternoon in a kiln under the sand.DSC_7747 DSC_7748DSC_7749The meat was tender and juicy, the onions were caramelized, and the potatoes had nice crispy edges.
DSC_7753Alongside the main, they served cucumber and tomato salad with tahini, rice and veggies, lentil soup, and chunks of crusty pita.DSC_7755DSC_7759DSC_7761Afterwards, we sat around the fire listening to some traditional Arab music, and the woman from Thailand even got up to do a little dance. 😉DSC_7773

I slept like a baby in my tent, partially due to exhaustion, but also because I had two warm blankets to crawl under, plus my guide, Fayez, lent me his black, camel-skin coat to wear. ❤DSC_7789DSC_7788The next morning, we enjoyed tea, coffee, pita, hummus, cheese, jam, and hard-boiled eggs, while taking in the last of this spectacular view. ❤DSC_7785DSC_7786DSC_7783Well, that wraps up my time in Wadi Rum. From there, I took a local bus back to Amman, which cost 14 JD (20 USD) and took 6 hours. Stay tuned to hear about my next travel itinerary, and find out where I’ll be heading next. Until then. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Travel in Jordan: Camping with Bedouins in Wadi Rum

      1. Honestly though, if I were traveling with friends, I could have easily spent a week here. The desert is absolutely breathtaking! I don’t think anywhere else I’ve been has even come close to its beauty. I’d highly recommend staying longer, if you are traveling as a couple or in a group. 😀

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