Wadi Rum Camp – Experience Bedouin hospitality on an exciting stay at a Wadi Rum Desert Camp

Wadi Rum Camp – Experience Bedouin hospitality on an exciting stay at a Wadi Rum Desert Camp

If you’re planning your Jordan itinerary, it’s a no brainer that you probably have ancient ruins of Petra at the top of the list, closely followed by a float about the Dead Sea. 

But what about Wadi Rum? If a Wadi Rum Camp isn’t on your radar, you need to put it on there. Pronto. To experience a Wadi Rum Desert camp and the hospitality of the Bedouins needs to be on your Jordan bucket list and is up there as one of the best things to do in Jordan.

The name Wadi Rum translates to ‘Roman Valley’ although at times, whilst sightseeing around Wadi Rum all you see is a huge expanse of desert as far as the eye can see. It certainly doesn’t feel like a valley at times. Wadi Rum is also a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast

Located in the south of Jordan, it’s worthwhile spending at least a night at a Wadi Rum camp and making full use of the opportunity to explore the region. There’s a ton of things to see at Wadi Rum as well as various adventurous activities like climbing and dune boarding.

Spending time overnight at one of the Wadi Rum Desert camps also gives you the opportunity to see the red sandstone rocks illuminated into an even richer red against the setting sun. When the sun does go down, it’s a spectacular place for stargazing under the cool and clear desert skies.

 

So let’s go… read on to find out the full Wadi Rum Camp experience

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WADI RUM CAMP - EXPERIENCE THE BEDOUIN HOSPITALITY ON AN EXCITING STAY AT A WADI RUM DESERT CAMP

Before you travel to Wadi Rum, have you remembered to book your travel insurance? Get a quote from True Traveller.

In this article, I’ve included some of the highlights you can expect on a Wadi Rum Desert Camp. There are loads of things to do in Wadi Rum including adventure sports like climbing and sand surfing. Most activities and excursions can be arranged directly with your Bedouin hosts during your stay at your Wadi Rum Camp.

Things to do in Wadi Rum

      • Climb a sand dune
      • Ride in the open back of a 4×4
      • See ancient Nabatean Petroglyphs
      • Scramble up Umm Fruth Rock Bridge
      • Visit Lawrence of Arabia’s house
      • Come face to face with King Abdullah and Lawrence of Arabia
      • Watch the rocks glow red at sunset
      • Try traditional Bedouin food cooked in the ground
      • Drink Sage tea and smoke a shisha under the stars
      • Be adventurous and go rock climbing or sand boarding

Getting from the Airport to Amman and Wadi Rum

The main airport for Jordan is the Queen Alia International Airport, just outside of the nations capital, Amman. It takes about 45 minutes to most hotels in the city. Book your airport transfer direct to your hotel in advance.

A direct private transfer to Wadi Rum from Queen Alia International Airport takes about 3 1/2 hours.

Booking in advance saves you both the hassle and avoids the hefty inflated fees from the taxi firms at the airport.

Prebook now: Queen Alia International Airport Transfer to Amman

Prebook now: Direct from Queen Alia International Airport Transfer to Wadi Rum

A Brief History of Wadi Rum

  • Wadi Rum has been inhabited since prehistoric times. You’ll find various archaeological sites in the park dating back to the Nabataeans at around 6BC. Evidence of their civilisation can be seen in rock paintings in the area.
  • You’ve heard of Lawrence of Arabia? The 1962 British-made film was based on the life of Officer T. E. Lawrence. Lawrence passed through Wadi Rum several times during his time in the military. There is even a carving to commemorate him, keep reading to see it!
  • The main group of people who reside in the Wadi Rum desert now are the Bedouin. These ‘desert dwellers’ (yes, Bedouin translates to that) throughout history were nomadic tribespeople’s. Although most modern-day Bedouins will most likely live in a home with all mod-cons, they still have a strong holding on their heritage. You can experience a piece of Bedouin lifestyle in the guise of a Wadi Rum Desert Camp.
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
These Nabatean petroglyphs date back thousands of years

Is Jordan safe?

During my stay in Jordan, I felt just as safe as I would at home. I dressed a little more conservatively than I would usually do on holiday, but it stopped any unwanted attention.

It’s no secret that every country has crime so most importantly use your common sense, be aware of your surroundings and don’t flash expensive items about. It’s worthwhile hiding valuable stuff, like your cash, in a money belt.

If you want to be a bit more stylish, then invest in a scarf with a hidden zip pocket instead.

The people in Jordan, on the whole, were very friendly and mostly wanted to offer cups of tea every time you go into their shop, or if you’re waiting about for a bus. I was a bit dubious at first (drink-spiking came to mind) but after I saw them also drinking from the same teapot, I eased up. By the way, their warm and sweet sage tea is delicious! this is mostly what you’ll get offered.

If you’re out and about for a whole day and need to carry stuff, it’s worthwhile using an anti-theft backpack to keep everything safe.

Finally, in terms of safety, you can not drink the tap water in Jordan, so instead of buying a fresh bottle of water every time you need a drink, don’t forget to take your water purification filter bottle with you.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
There are camels everwhere in Wadi Rum, these 'ships of the desert' are a part of traditional Bedouin life

What to pack for Wadi Rum

Check out this full article about what to wear in Jordan, which also includes hints on what not to wear. There’s also a handy downloadable and printable checklist for you to use.

If you are planning a trip to a Wadi Rum Camp, don’t forget to pack the following;

      • Sand and cameras with moving parts DO NOT MIX, the best way to get around this to use something more robust like the GoPro MAX or the GoPro Hero8 Black.
      • Take an informative Jordan guide book with you to give you tons of useful insider information, fun facts, suggested itineraries and beautiful photos.
      • It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the desert is hot and dry. Make sure you take your filtering water bottle with you to keep hydrated.
      • To keep the sand out of your nose when it’s breezy, it’s worthwhile using a multifunctional head scarf.
      • Finally, when the sun is out, which most likely it will, make sure you have a good quality pair of sunglasses to stop you squinting from the glare.
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Yeah, I may have got a bit trigger happy with the camels
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
...and another one, but look at that adorable pout and enviable long eyelashes

WADI RUM DESERT CAMP EXPERIENCE

Want the easy option to see some of Jordans highlights, including Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea? then why not book a private tour and guide to see the best bits of Jordan the easy way.

Prebook now: Highlights of Jordan 2 Day Tour

Where to stay in Wadi Rum

There’s a range of Wadi Rum Camps to stay ranging from high-end-all-mod-cons space capsule ‘tents’ to the more rustic and authentic style Bedouin camps.

Here are two popular choices which are worth taking note of.

Luxury accommodation suggestion

If you’re looking for luxury accommodation in Wadi Rum, then check out Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel. This takes the idea of Glamping to another level! There isn’t much this hotel doesn’t offer.

Think of it as a moon capsule, with 360° views of the surrounding desert. Considering this Luxotel in the middle of the desert, it’s got all mod cons like aircon and wifi throughout. Some of the capsules have a sun terrace and private Jacuzzi, just imagine watching the stars at night from a hot tub!

Seriously go take a look at the pictures and read the reviews. It’s clear to see how this is listed as one of the top 5 star rated places to stay in Wadi Rum.

Mars"Mars" by soomness is licensed under CC BY 2.0Wadi Rum Camp - Experience Bedouin hospitality on an exciting stay at a Wadi Rum Desert Camp 1Wadi Rum Camp - Experience Bedouin hospitality on an exciting stay at a Wadi Rum Desert Camp 2

Budget accommodation suggestion

If you’re looking accommodation on a budget without skimping on service then, then take a look at Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp.

Owned and run by a Bedouin family and surrounded by dunes and rocks, this accommodation in the heart of the desert offers more rustic and authentic Bedouin camp compared to the Luxotel. The site is family-friendly, and tours and excursions can be arranged at the camp. This is a great option for budget-conscious travellers.

Getting about in Wadi Rum

There are three methods of transport for Wadi Rum; by foot, by ‘ship of the desert’ aka a camel or by 4×4.

I went in a 4×4. You could hire a 4×4 of your own and visit the highlights by yourself. However, you need to be confident of where you are going plus trust that the car isn’t going to break down and leave you waiting for an expensive pick-up in the middle of no where..

It’s much easier to book onto one of the small group jeep safaris which will take you on the quickest and most efficient route to see everything or hire a driver and have a private tour for a day (or two or three days).

In the jeep, opt to sit in the back for at least part of the journey. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the warm desert air blowing through your hair. I did the whole journey sat on the back, it gives you the best views but all the most matted and dustiest locks ever!

Let someone else do the driving, so you can sit back and enjoy the Wadi Rum dersert. Check out these options for 4×4 day tour of Wadi Rum.

Prebook now: Wadi Rum Full Day 4 x 4 Small Group Tour

Prebook now: Wadi Rum Full Day 4 x 4 Private Tour

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Ridingi n the open top back of a 4x4 through the desert was one of my highlights

THINGS TO DO IN WADI RUM

Climb a sand dune

You’re in the desert so one thing you can be sure of is that you’ll get to climb at least one sand dune. Expect sand to get everywhere!

Climbing a sand dune is easier said than done, it’s a great leg workout because every step you take, your foot sinks in and you seem to slide back down the dune. It’s slow progress. But so worth it when you get to the top for the awesome views.

The sandstone rocks, on the other hand, are super easy to climb due to the gritty surface giving your shoes some decent traction. Just watch out for your knees and elbows, I was covered in scuffs and grazes after enthusiastically climbing the rocks.

If you enjoy hiking, then you might be interested in this 3 day hiking tour of Wadi Rum.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Sand dune climbing is a great workout for the legs

See the ancient Nabatean Petroglyphs

You can find ancient Petroglyphs carved into the rockface of Jabal Anfishiyyeh. Symbols such as camels and people are etched into the rock.

I asked our guide what the difference was between a Petroglyph and a Hieroglyph; He said a Petroglyph is basically pictures telling a story, like a modern-day comic strip. And that a Hieroglyph is actual writings or a language.

You can view the Petroglyphs from the ground, but to take a closer took there is a climbable boulder which takes you up to the same level as them.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
The ancient Nabatean petroglyphs at Wadi Rum

Test your nerves at Umm Fruth Rock Bridge

Sandstone is super soft, as far as rocks go. And because of the soft rock in the Wadi Rum desert, you’ll find are tons of amazing rock formations. Natural bridges like the Umm Furth rock bridge have been cut out through millennia of corrosion.

Umm Fruth rock bridge is relatively easy to climb up to the platform, although probably not recommended if you have a fear of heights. Like most stuff in Jordan, there’s a bit of a disregard for health and safety rules. Just don’t fall is my advice.

During the late afternoon as the sun begins to set, it casts some great shadows as well as being at the correct angle for some amazing sunbeam photos of the arch. A certain highlight of my time in Wadi Rum.

Want to see more arches and rock formations? Why not check out this hiking in Wadi Rum tour?

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
It's impressive to think that the wind carved this epic bridge from the rocks

Visit the Lawrence of Arabia House

This is the location of the actual house used the 1962 British film, Lawrence of Arabia. Although it’s in a bit of a dishevelled state, it was still great to be able to see a bit of the original film set.

If you go behind the house, you’ll find a climbable route up to a plateau. Up here you’ll find a ton of cairns where people have left their mark over the years. They are everywhere!

Heading up a bit further to the top of the mound and you’ll be rewarded with a great vantage point for a fantastic panoramic shot of the surrounding desert. It’s immense and crazy to think we’re still only at the edge of Wadi Rum park!

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
The crumbling remains from the Lawrence of Arabia house used in the 1962 film
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Climb up behind the house and find the plateau covered in cairns

Come face-to-face with King Abdullah and Lawrence of Arabia

To commemorate, both King Abdullah and Lawrence of Arabia, their heads have been carved into the sandstone. It’s not exactly Mt Rushmore though!

The heads are actually smaller than life size and even though I’m not 100% convinced on the likeliness of either of them, it’s still pretty cool to see these faces carved into the rock of Wadi Rum.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Carvings in the sandstone of Lawrence of Arabia
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
King Abdullah carved into the rocks at Wadi Rum

Watch the rocks glow red at sunset

The setting sun at ‘golden hour’ make the already red rocks glow even more intensely. The whole landscape looks absolutely stunning,

It’s at this time of day when you will see lots of the Bedouins herding their camel’s back to camp. Until my trip to Wadi Rum, I’d never seen a camel up close. First impressions, they stink. Despite the smell, they do have enviable long eyelashes. They’ve also got a constant duck-lip-pout about them; enough to give Kylie Jenner a run for her money.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
As the sun starts to set, the Bedouins walk their camels back to camp

Try traditional Bedouin food cooked in the ground

Experience Bedouin hospitality, they won’t let you go hungry! To cook their food, the Bedouins dig a cylindrical shaped pit into the sand. At the bottom of the pit is a fire with coals. The food is placed onto a grill and lowered into the pit and then covered with matting before being left for several hours to cook.

Everything from the meats, the vegetables and bread were cooked in this way. I’m a vegetarian, so opted out of the meat, but the vegetables were delicious and made for a hearty and healthy meal which we ate, sitting around a campfire.

Finish off the day with a cup of sage tea while sharing a shisha under the stars

Because Wadi Rum is miles from a city, it’s a great place to watch the stars. The evenings can be chilly in the desert, so be sure to have something warm if you’re not sat around the campfire.

The traditional sweet sage tea makes for a well-earned treat at the end of the day. I seemed to have a bottomless cup of it, not that I was complaining, which was down to the hospitality of the Bedouin hosts who wouldn’t let your cut run dry.

You can opt to share a shisha with the other guests and the hosts. I loved the sweet apple flavour, taking puffs on the warm sweet smoke between sipping on sage tea all whilst relaxing in the gentle breeze watching the stars. A perfect end to a perfect Wadi Rum camp experience.

Note on Riding Camels; the 'Ships of the Desert'

I’m always dubious and conscious about ‘animal attractions’ as part of tourism.

However, the camel has been a major part of the Bedouin culture for centuries, these uniquely adapted creatures were used to transport goods and people across the desert before 4×4 which is more commonly used now. However, the camel is still a massive part of their heritage. The Bedouin people not only used the camel for transportation but also their milk, wool and even meat!

I’m introduced to a 10-year-old big boy, with enviable eyelashes. He was a barrel of a creature and I don’t think I could have spread my legs much wider to sit on him! When he stood up, it was a long way to fall.

Their massive hoofs and long gait made walking on sand look easy compared to the 4 legged scramble up the dunes I was doing yesterday. Their natural swagger and the early morning sun makes it a relaxing journey.

But a wonderful lasting memory of my brief time in the desert.

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast

You might also find these other articles on Jordan useful

Pin it for later

I hope after reading this article that Wadi Rum is firmly on your Jordan bucket list. If you loved this post, or know someone that will, then please like and share. Or if you’re planning a trip to Jordan, then why not pin it for future reference so you know exactly what to expect on your Wadi Rum camp experience?

Have you visited Wadi Rum before? Did you do anything amazing that’s worth adding to this list? I’d love to hear about it. 

Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast
Is a night at a Wadi Rum Camp on your Jordan bucket list? It certainly will be after this. Experience true Bedouin hospitality & life at a Wadi Rum Desert camp. #WadiRum #Jordan #MiddleEast

Wadi Rum Camp - Experience Bedouin hospitality on an exciting stay at a Wadi Rum Desert Camp 3

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

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