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Camping at Wadi Rum…Bedouin style

The absolute highlight of my Christmas in Jordan trip (yes, I liked this even more than Petra), was camping overnight in Wadi Rum.

When I was in the Middle East on my round-the-world trip, everything was always about the Bedouins. In Sinai we had Bedouin tea and sat on Bedouin chairs and ate Bedouin food. This was all in the Sinai backpacker beach resort town of Dahab, but still…Bedouin became an adjective for just about everything we saw or did.

Bedouin seems to have been a term co-opted by the travel & tourism industry in much of the Middle East to give tourists a more “authentic” experience. This was the case at Wadi Rum, but it didn’t matter. It was the highlight of my trip in Jordan.

Camping overnight at Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a desert valley in southern Jordan. You’ve probably heard of it because of the movie Lawrence of Arabia which was famously filmed here. The desert has also been used as a backdrop in several contemporary films, such as Transformers and Red Planet (both clearly not as good as Lawrence of Arabia).

T.E. Lawrence, as a British soldier, based his operations from Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans. Lawrence allegedly described Wadi Rum as “vast, echoing and God-like.” And with a reference like that, you might go in having high hopes and expect to be let down. But Wadi Rum doesn’t disappoint.

The desert is popular with tourists interested in rock-climbing and other adventure activities, but to me, a desert should be quiet and still. So I was content with just watching the sunset and then taking a night-hike in the evening to do some star-gazing. Our campsite wasn’t very big so our small group was able to hang out and relax all night around the campfire. (It was December and pretty cold outside…even more so because deserts can get cold at night.)

The colors of Wadi rum are truly spectacular and catching the sunset on the rock formations in the desert was the most memorable part of my trip. In the nighttime, the sky is so dark, it’s almost easy to spot falling stars (I caught two!). Our tour guide took us for a nighttime hike through the desert from our campsite (with a GPS navigation which was absolutely necessary).

Wadi Rum is without a doubt the most amazing scenery I’ve seen in a long time. There’s something special about this place.

  1. ebe says:

    These pictures both remind me of the desert areas of my home state and look like a place I’ve never seen. Beautiful!

    • Adam says:

      Thanks Ebe! Wadi Rum is a really unique place. I guess that’s why they use it as a film backdrop for so many different types of movies.

  2. Mica says:

    I only did a day trip to Wadi Rum but I can imagine camping would be a magical experience.

  3. Alison says:

    Great pics Adam – and lovely happy pic of you! I’d love to visit Jordan, it looks beautiful. The more I read, and see, about this place on people’s blogs, the more I want to visit.

  4. Zach Ball says:

    Wadi Rum sure looks like an amazing place to visit! I just don’t know if I would like to camp in all that sand. You are a much better outdoorsman than I am for sure.

  5. Paul B says:

    Gorgeous pics. If I got a chance to go to Israel I’d try “cave” camping. I’ve heard it’s big there.

  6. ashley says:

    That looks amazing! So jealous of your adventures!

  7. Vicky says:

    Absolutely agree with everything you said here. I spent 2 days in Jordon, split up between Petra and Wadi Rum and absolutely loved the Wadi Rum.

    • Adam says:

      Hey Vicky… yep – Wadi Rum was absolutely incredible. Can’t believe you had such a quick trip to Jordan…but I suppose you hit the two best sites :)

  8. brulionman says:

    cool trip and pics

  9. Old Camper says:

    Never been to that part of the world but my son did a bit of backpacking in that region. The lighting and the colors in your pics are outstanding and the tents look great too. Will have to try and get there sometime for a holiday.

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