After visiting Petra we thought that nothing that we were about to see in the following days would match the feeling of seeing Petra. And we were so wrong.
The Desert of Wadi Rum is one of the world’s most beautiful deserts. It is like stepping in another world with dramatic and unique red sandstone and stunning mountains, perfect rolling red dune a brilliant night sky.
Everything combined is creating a unique place in the world.
Beyond its beauty, Wadi Rum has a rich history going back to prehistoric times. Ever since different cultures inhabited the Wadi Rum desert. Their petroglyphs and inscriptions can be found all around in our desert. It illustrates the 12.000 years of human occupation in the Wadi Rum desert.
But Wadi Rum was introduced to the western world by a British officer, T.E. Lawrence, known as “Lawrence of Arabia,”, who was based in the area during the Arab Revolution.
These days, Wadi Rum belongs to the ancient Bedouin tribes, who used to be nomads, herding their goats and sheep around the desert, moving frequently and setting up temporary settlements as they went. Only a few of them continue the traditional nomadic lifestyle, most now live just outside the desert in the permanent, Rum Village, being involved in the tourism industry- a new way of living for most of them.
Spending a night at a Bedouin camp in the red Wadi Rum desert is one of the most incredible experiences you can live in Jordan.
This was the reason why we visited Wadi Rum.
We arranged our stay in Wadi Rum via booking.com with Wadi Rum Sunset Bedouin Camp. We booked 3 nights in the middle of the desert.
We arranged with the camp everything from pick up, tour, meals, etc.
There are many camps in Wadi Rum and they are made only for tourists but still, it an incredible way to discover the beauty of the desert right in the middle of it.
We drove from Petra to Wadi Rum Village and arrived quite late. After picking up our park permits from the Wadi Rum Visitor’s Center, we parked our cars in the village and hop on a jeep that drove us for about an hour, through the darkest desert, to our camp. It was incredible the way our driver found its way in that complete dark. How he managed to drive that night, I will never understand. It was simply unbelievable!
The Bedouin styled camp.
The camp was nestled at the base of tall desert cliffs that offered spectacular views over the desert. It was so remote that we didn’t have any mobile signal.
The heart of our camp was a communal tent, an indoor sitting area. The places where most things happened. We used to eat our meals there, drink tea and shared stories with our Bedouin hosts.
Scattered around the communal sitting area our tents which were made of goat hair, old clever Bedouin custom.
This type of tent has been home to the Bedouin since ancient times.
It was the duty of women to make them. They used goat hair and sheep’s wool to weave strips which they sew together afterward. It could take up to one year and can be used all year round.
In summer, the sun warms the outside of the tent to be very hot, but the tent inside remained cool.
In winter when it is cold outside the tent stayed comfortably warm with just a small fire inside.
And in the rare case of rain the weave contracts letting no water through.
We had a double bed tent with all the necessary things like pillows, bed linen, and big, thick blankets to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night.
Thanks to these blankets were able to go through the night.
In December there were 0 degrees during the night. So cold!
They brought water from the village, kept it in tanks, and used solar panels for electricity and hot water. Of course, there are times when the hot water isn’t hot enough or electricity doesn’t work, but after all, we were in the middle of the desert and pretty lucky to have these facilities.
First night in Wadi Rum
It was already very cold when we reached the camp.
We dropped the backpacks in our tents and went for the communal tent. It was a very spacious place having thick mattresses and pillows at the side, surrounding the fireplace, perfect for a cold night.
Soon after our arrival, they called us outside the tent to watch as the chefs prepared our dinner.
It was cooked in a traditional Bedouin style. The food was left to slow-roast in a charcoal-filled pit dug deep into the desert sand. It was a delicious meal of chicken and vegetables was pulled from the ground. We spent the rest of our night around the wood fire, drinking hot tea, having interesting conversations, making jokes with the local Bedouins and relaxing and enjoying our host singing.
Stargazing in Wadi Rum
A special aspect of visiting the Wadi Rum is the ability to see a clear sky of stars at night.
Later that night, we climbed the rock formation close to our camp and simply watched and photographed the sky.
It was vast and overwhelming. Not often have I seen so many stars, hundreds of bright and sparkling stars.
It was unbelievable!
Sleeping in the tent in Wadi Rum, in December, it was cold. During the night temperatures drop below zero degrees and in the tent there was no heating system.
But morning came, the sun came up and all thing changed.
The jeep tour in Wadi Rum
This is, probably, the best option to see the desert.
We booked a tour with our camp and immediately after the breakfast the jeep was waiting for us, ready to take us in deferent places.
But only riding that jeep in the desert was amazing.
Our first stop was at a canyon where we saw impressive ancient inscriptions on the canyon walls that dated back thousands of years ago. It was the Khazali Canyon: A long, narrow canyon. The first 100 yards are accessible to all visitors; beyond that point, you’ll need rock climbing skills.
Then we drove around the desert to different places until we stopped for an authentic Bedouin lunch in the middle of the desert.
It was really basic but our host prepared with an open heart while was telling stories about this family and the Bedouin old customs.
Then he drove us along with the rock formations, natural rock bridges, red dunes, canyons, rock paintings and lots of great viewpoints. We just kept looking at the astonishing landscape before us for hours.
This dessert is like a movie set, simply amazing.
In the evening the jeep took us back to the camp and we all gathered in the communal tent for our dinner. Then we sat back and relaxed by listening to the traditional Bedouin music. It was a new chill night by the fire.
That night we had the opportunity to speak with our hosts about the Bedouin customs and the way they prefer to live their life.
They told us that this is the way that they can live free, here in the desert, sleeping outside under the stars.
They were very proud of their culture and traditions bases on a code of honor calling for total loyalty to the clan and tribe.
It is said that Bedouins are outside the governing authority of the state and that tribal legal code in many instances overpowers Jordanian civil law.
To share unique insights on the Bedouin history, lifestyle and culture at a cup of tea around a fire is an unbelievable experience.
Trekking in the desert
A new day in the desert came.
We decided to have a walk in the desert for a few hours, by ourselves. To feel the air and the sand at our own pace.
We wandered around our camp and saw incredible canyons, rock bridges, mountains, and huge dunes.
We took our time to play with the reddish sand or to stare to this amazing place.
This is one of the must-do things here in Wadi Rum.
Later that day we booked a camel ride around sunset.
The Camel Trek here was one of my highlights as it allows to be close to nature and to travel slowly. It gave me time to appreciate the beauty of the breathtaking orange-pink landscapes.
It is a unique desert travel experience like some Bedouins still do.
The sunset in Wadi Rum is something out of this world.
When the soft glowing light from the sky is below the horizon, the rock formations turn into fire and the sand is changing into the moon landscape.
That evening we had a wow moment.
After a long day in the desert, there’s nothing better than finding a great spot to watch the sun go down. At this time, Wadi Rum puts on a show.
For us, Wadi Rum was amazing: sleeping under the stars, discovering this moon-like landscape, the camel ride and the sunset. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
How to reach
This is the best option to reach the desert or to travel around Jordan
There is one bus a day from Petra that leaves at 06:00 and costs 7 JOD.
The trip generally takes 1.5 hr and tickets should be booked through your hotel at Petra, it will then collect you from your hotel directly in the morning.
The bus stops at the Visitor’s Centre and Rum Village and returns to Wadi Musa for visitors traveling on to Petra.
Taxis from Petra cost 30-35 JD.
The easiest way
There is usually one direct bus from Aqaba to the Wadi Rum Visitor’s Centre and the Wadi Rum Village per day. The minibus journey should cost around 3 JOD per person.
A private taxi from Aqaba will cost you 30-35 JOD
Still the easiest way
No bus goes directly to Wadi Rum