When planning our Jordan trip, an overnight trip into the Wadi Rum desert to live the Bedouin life was a definite must do. The Wadi Rum Stars Camp reads like a winner and so we book a ‘one day – one-night’ camel tour with Ahmed, the very friendly owner of the operation.
Arriving in Wadi Rum, we’re greeted by bedouins. Quickly we are pointed in the right direction, pay 5 JD and leave the visitor center behind. 5km down the road one of Ahmed’s cousins awaits is in a pickup truck and we follow him through Rum village to their house and welcome area. Three cups of crazy sweet tea later we are ready to mount our camels.
The desert sun is already scorching at 10am when we set off.
Covered with a light long-sleeved shirt, a hat and sunglasses, riding the camel is actually pleasant as there is a light breeze from the slow pace.
Our first stop is Lawrence’s Spring. We dismount the camels and scramble up the rocks towards the tree that’s growing at the spring. From this perch, you have a fantastic view over the desert amidst lavender bushes that smell beautifully.
Another cup of sweet tea back at the foot of the hill helps to cool down and then we continue our journey to a sand dune, that invites for sandboarding.
From here the next stop isn’t far: Petroglyphs depict camel caravans and hunting warriors. They are edged into the smooth rock surface and are very clear and well preserved.
By now it’s lunch-time and together with the camels we lie down in the shade of large rocks and after a light lunch and cold water snore away for a two-hour siesta.
We awake to find that shadows have grown longer and the air has cooled down a bit. Refreshed we are ready to ride onwards. Next stop: Lawrence’s house.
Not much remains of this stone house but the view from the rock ledges above which are reached via am easy scramble across the red sand dunes is fantastic.
Once again seated on our furry friends we ride through rock formations, valleys and across sand dunes and shortly before sunset arrive at the Wadi Rum Stars Camp.
The Bedouin Desert Camp
Our bedouin tent is ready, our luggage has arrived by 4WD truck and after a whole day in the saddle, we are happy to lounge in the common area over yet another cup of sweet tea. It’s a sage tea that is sweetened with so much sugar it doubles up as afternoon pastry, post dinner dessert or whatever your sweet tooth requires.
As the sun sets over the desert we are joined by a group of German girls who currently study in Amman as well as a group of Chinese from Beijing.
Dinner has been cooking all day, buried in a pot over fire underground where vegetables and chicken have slowly been cooked to soft perfection.
After dinner, with a very full belly, there’s nothing left to do but to gaze at the stars. They sky is alive with shooting stars, the milky way seems to be close enough to touch and it is still warm enough to sleep under the stars.
I awake at 5.30am – after such a spectacular night I don’t want to miss the sunrise. As the desert slowly turns from black to red another cloudless day begins.
After a typical Jordanian breakfast: boiled egg, hummus, flatbread, sweet tea – we pack up and leave the desert by 4WD pick up.
If I have to mention one drawback it’s the same as all over Jordan: the trash. It’s left behind everywhere and the desert is no exception.