Wadi Rum a Bedouin Experience

Up until a short time ago, I had never heard of Wadi Rum. It wasn’t until travel blogger Gary Ardnt mentioned it in one of his posts a year ago that I was introduced to it.

Wadi Rum sounded extremely remote and exotic and not knowing much about the Middle East, I knew I had to get there one day.

Nomadic Life

When the Jordan Tourism Board invited us to come and see their incredible country, we finally had our chance.

Wadi Means Valley in Arabic

nomadic life rocks

We started our day off with a 4X4 adventure through the desert beginning at the Wadi Rum Visitors Centre.

It overlooks the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: an imposing rock formation named after the autobiography by T.E Lawrence of the same name.

As the main jumping off point for tours out to the desert, the visitors centre is a bustling place.

Jordanians are a very Welcoming People

A group of men invited us over to have our picture taken and one of them even offered to be our photographer.

We enjoyed talking with them and unlike many other places in our travels, they never expected anything in return.

They simply said, “would you like to have a photo with us?” We happily replied, “yes.”

nomadic life group

Once we had everything in order and said our goodbyes we joined our guide for our very own 4X4 tour of Wadi Rum. It’s not only a scenic tour of the desert but a fun adventure riding in the back of a truck over bumpy terrain.

Want to visit another popular sight in Jordan? Check out Jerash, The Ancient Roman City

As it was everywhere in Jordan, the landscape of Wadi Rum was astounding.

Our driver told us to rap on the truck’s roof whenever we wanted to stop for a photograph and we ended giving our knuckles quite the workout. We constantly wanted to take a closer look or picture at every turn.

nomadic life arch

It was the famous Rock Bridge of Wadi Rum that was our first “official stop” of the tour.

This is the photograph that everyone wants to get. Overrun with tourists when we first arrived, we patiently waited for the clamorous group to finish up before making a run for our own shots. We had exactly 10 minutes to grab our pictures before the next wave of tourists came through.

jordan desert nomadic

And we are happy to say that we accomplished our mission.

wadi rum nomadic cave


It was now time to move onto our next stop, the Khazali Canyon. This is a small but fascinating canyon filled with Nabatean inscriptions dating back to the 4th century BC.

Khazali Canyon – Wadi Rum

Our guide Ali explained to us that he can read these inscriptions as they are an ancient form of the Arabic language. I thought that was pretty cool, but then again, he never did explain what the inscriptions said.

petroglyphs nomadic

I am captivated by ancient carvings and structures. How can these inscriptions last for thousands of years when the entire landscape has changed over time?

Erosion and wind should have wiped them away and yet here they are.

inscriptions life of nomad

While the inscriptions are impressive, it is the walk farther back into the cave that is jaw-dropping.

We couldn’t believe when another group coming in asking us how long of a walk it was to the back of the canyon. When we replied about a minute, they decided to turn around and head back out. Curious.

cavern jordan nomadic

After our glimpse into history and our walk into the spectacular display of nature at its finest, we needed a refreshment.

Acting like true Bedouins, we walked through the sand to a nearby camp where we sipped on sweet and spicy tea. The Bedouins drink their tea with a lot of sugar and we followed suit.

They explained that they do not have a lot of sweets in their diet and the tea satisfies that craving.

Tea in Jordan

Known as Bedouin Whiskey you will be served tea wherever you go in Jordan and we developed quite a taste for it.

tea caves jordan nomad

We love this tea so much that we bought two packs to bring home to keep a little bit of Jordan with us.

deb drinking tea nomad

It was one final quick stop at the red sand dune before heading back to the Visitors Centre.

This is where we finally caught up with the rest of the crowds and where we opted out of hiking up to the top to join the throngs of people.

bedouins jeep nomads

Instead, we were captivated by the guys trying to fix their jeep. Sometimes it’s the oddities in life that are more enthralling than the stunning landscape in front of us.

It seemed so surreal to have these men dressed in traditional garb working on a carburetor in the middle of the mystical Arabian Desert.

Wadi Rum is worth the Visit

Wadi Rum may be overrun with tourists but it is worth visiting. If you have more time, I would suggest going on a  longer jeep safari or camel trek. Like everywhere on earth, it is becoming more difficult to get off the beaten path. But if you work a bit harder and travel a bit farther, you will travel away from the crowd and quite possibly will find yourself among the true Bedouin of Wadi Rum.

We’ve camped in many a desert during our travels.

We’ve slept under the stars with nothing more than a rug and a thick blanket to block the wind in the White Desert of Egypt, Used our camel’s saddle as a pillow in the Thar Desert of India and camped through the Nubian Desert of the Sudan and the Kalahari of Namibia with our state of the art North Face tent but we have never stayed in an actual Bedouin Camp set up as it would have been centuries ago.

Bedouin Camping and Camels at Sunset in Wadi Rum

Check out our Camel Safari in Rajasthan Inida Around the World for more desert adventures.

In Wadi Rum, Jordan, we had our chance to sleep in a Bedouin Camp that felt as if we had stepped back in time. One could imagine the nomads from long ago setting up their temporary camp for a season as they made their way through the Arabian Desert. Captain’s Desert Camp is designed to replicate an authentic Bedouin camp.

bedouin camping wadi rum night

We arrived at the Captains Camp after our jeep safari through Wadi Rum.

Campfire

As we pulled up to the tents, we were greeted with smiles from men enjoying tea around the fire. The camp is located in a spectacular setting.

Built beside giant kharst like formation and surrounded by mounds of high rocky cliffs in the middle of the Arabian Desert we truly felt away from it all. Our tent was situated right beside said cliff and we knew we’d be protected from the wind and the cold of the desert night chill.

bedouin camping tent

Bedouin Rents

Tents are made traditionally out of goat’s hair with the desert sand as its floor covered in Jordanian carpets made of wool. Ours was a basic tent with bed, cozy blankets, a couple of chairs and a small light.

These bedouin tents are made with great skill by the women of the tribe. It takes 30 days to make a tent with several women working around the clock to complete it. Once the tents are finished, the goats hair is weaved together so tightly and skillfully that they are waterproof.

They are also solid enough to protect from wind and sand. I can imagine these holding up just fine in a desert sand storm.

inside bedouin tent

After we settled in we made our way out to the back of the compound where we met a baby camel. Our driver Mahmoud had helped to give birth to a baby camel two weeks earlier and he wanted us to meet his new arrival.

Mahmoud had the honour of naming the camel and he gave it the strong and regal title of Wolf; Diab in Arabic. Diab recognized Mahmoud immediately and ran up to say hello.

guide in camp

A beautiful moment in Wadi Rum

Our days were jam packed in Jordan, and it wasn’t long until we met up with our guide for a sunset camel safari.

deb dave camels

Camel Safari

The landscape was stunning as expected, but the camel safari itself was disappointing. I would have liked our guide to be on a camel rather than walking in front of us on foot.

We have been on camel safaris before and this one felt like nothing more than a pony ride at a fair, albeit set in a better location. The guide stumbled slowly along in front of us holding onto the camels reigns while we plodded along behind attached to one another.

bedouin camping desert

Within an hour we were out at a small mountain to enjoy the sunset. We didn’t venture too far out into the desert and could still see our camp from our vantage point, but it made for a beautiful view.

The desert lit up into different hues of orange and pinks as the sun set quickly over the rolling landscape.

bedouin camping sunset

Unfortunately several jeep tours came whizzing into our serene scene to ruin the moment and blog the views. As the tourists noisily piled out of their trucks, I commented on how they managed to disrupt our quiet moment. They didn’t seem to care.

We walked high upon the rocks to gain an unobstructed view and enjoyed the warm glow of the sun reflecting on the rocky landscape.

wadi rum sunset

Bedouin Meal

When we returned to camp we were treated to a feast and were invited around back to see the preparations. This is truly a special event for a Bedouin meal.

Lamb, chicken, potatoes and vegetables are cooked in the earth making for the most mouth wateringly delicious meal you will ever have. It is difficult to put into words how they cook it and how much preparation goes into this, so we took some video to let you see the work that goes into preparations.

After digging in and feeling completely satisfied, we joined the men outside by the fire where we drank tea and they passed around the Sheesha. We didn’t last long as our day had been filled with excitement and adventure.

tea at bedouin camp

It was time to tuck in for the night. The generators were turned off and the paths were lit by candles leading safely to the different sections of the camps.

We slept peacefully dreaming of caravans and silk traders stopping in this same spot for thousands of years.

  • Captains Desert Camp is located in the Disi Area out side the Wadi Rum reserve.
  • They offer: Desert jeep tours, Special Beouin Meals, Camel and horse tours, hiking trips and visits to Petra and other locations around Jordan.
  • Standard Double rooms start at $70 USD
  • They also have a mobile desert camp that ventures deeper out into Wadi Rum and an Eco Desert Camp located near Um Infous Mountain
  • To find out more about Captain Tourist Services around Jordan visit their website.
  • To Find out more visit C

For More Adventures in Wadi Rum, Check out Travel Dudes, The Moon Adventure

For a different Experience, try seeing Wadi Rum from above by Ultralight or Hot Air Balloon.

Read More

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

19 thoughts on “Wadi Rum a Bedouin Experience”

  1. Wow! Looks like you had great time in the desert. The picture of bedouins trying to fix their car in the middle of the desert is classical! Looks like they can do any work by themselves. Also loved the pictures you have made. Thanks for the article 🙂

    Reply
  2. Absolutely stunning photographs, my favorite one is the rock bridge for the location and the picture following it for the composition. Perhaps you could run a tutorial on HDRs some day??

    Reply
  3. Well done Dave, Wadi rum is a great place for photos. Wish I would have had more time there, and better times of day to shoot in. It would be nice to do a 1 week trek in Wadi Rum all on Camels, and camping out in tents would be nice too. Hopefully one day I’ll get the chance to go back to explore a lot more of what Wadi Rum has to offer.

    Reply
  4. Wadi Rum does look beautiful. I really like the colors of the rocks and sand. It makes for a very unique landscape that is beautiful in its own right.

    Reply
  5. Thank you for sharing another great tale Deb, really quite disappointed I missed out on the chance to visit Jordan when I was in Egypt last year, hoping that will be a mistake that is not regretted for too long. I am not a great tea drinker but have to agree that the mint tea drunk throughout this part of the World is exceedingly welcome whenever it is offered. I even have it instead of coffee sometimes!!!
    Wadi Rum is one of those evocative names that inspire people to travel often without even seeing a picture, my determination to see it one day is even more resolute now.

    Reply
    • I hope you make it there too. We went to Egypt in 2008 and felt the same way. We wished that we could have ventured over to see Petra and more! It only took us three years to make it back to this part of the world.

      Reply
    • Hi Vi, I used HDR processing for that particular image. It allowed me to bring out the details in the shadows on the rock. I really have to start tips on photography section on this blog. If we ever settle down for more than two months, maybe I will:)

      Reply
    • Hi Marwan, Thanks for leaving your information. I will check out your facebook page. Everyone is always so very helpful and friendly in Jordan.

      Reply
    • I saw your comments on Jordan and had to reply! I am EX-pat American who has lived in the Middle East (and other places in the world) for a couple of years and I love it. Jordan has to be top on my list in the region, it has so much to offer and really nice people.

      I have recently opened a Tour Comany in Jordan called Discover Jordan with a group of other expats. We specialize in Eco-tourism, hiking and classic advernture tours/trips.

      http://www.discoverjordan.co

      Look forward to seeing you in Jordan soon!

      Reply
    • Hi Christine, hopefully you will make it there soon. Wait until we post our Wadi Rum at night article. It was amazing camping in the desert.

      Reply
  6. Jordanians are among the friendliest people in the world, aren’t they? Haven’t made it to Wadi Rum yet, but it’s high on my list. Beautiful photos here.

    Reply
    • Great photos! Wadi Rum is like no other place on Earth, Jordan is an amazing country with such friendly people. For anyone who loves adventure, outdoors and hiking Jordan has it all. Not to mention Dead Sea & Red Sea…. It’s a must!!

      Reply
      • You are right Laura, there is so much to do in Jordan. It is a stand alone destination i the Middle Est.

    • Yes they are Sophie. Wadi Rum is a beautiful place. If we had more time, we would have taken our own advice and gone further out into the desert. That is the wonderful thing about a sponsored trip though, we get to sample the best of the country and make our list of what to see when we come back.

      Reply