After hours spent riding the dunes in Wadi Rum, the sun started to slowly slide behind the horizon and we rushed to the viewpoint to catch a glimpse of sunset in the desert.
While our two tour guides were hiding in the car, we – as proper tourists – chose to endure the battering wind and sand to document the moment. We found a less windy spot on rock formation nearby and watched the crowds arriving.
At first, there were the Japanese tourists. They didn’t disappoint. In a full-length skirt and the most fashionable appearance, they were repeating air jumps while throwing scarves in the air and smiling for the camera. Slowly more people, camels and cars arrived to find a quiet spot to wait for the sunset.
Half frozen from the cold wind, with sand in my teeth and hair, it was time to seize the moment and finally get the pictures we were waiting for.
The sunset was really beautiful, but I couldn’t help but wonder what it would look like if there wasn’t that much dust. Perhaps google will know the answers.
The epic sunset represented the end of our desert safari and it was time to head back to the camp. The moonlight was showing us the way.
At the camp, our tour guides quickly turned into cooks.
There was a hole in the ground with hot coal waiting as we arrived. We were assembled to watch the whole process and help shield the chicken from the wind and sand. This method of cooking in the desert is called Zarb and is used by Beduins who live here. All you need is a deeper hole in the ground and any kind of vessel that can carry your food. Some use pots but we used this grid.
At the bottom of the hole, they placed a big pot of rice with water and the grid with vegetables and meat goes on a top. After about an hour of cooking, all is done and served in the main tent!
Gathering by the fire to enjoy our dinner.
In my case, it was just a few carrots and rice, but it was very delicious. Simple food cooked well.
Our host Jamal was joined by some other visitors and treated us to a few Jordanian songs. Their singing and clapping was only interrupted by the strong winds outside and the cracking of fire. We settled comfortably in our sofas, sipped our tea and exchanged stories with other travelers. We talked until late at night and later headed to our tent.
Only after I got back I found out that you should always check your tent before going to bed as there can be all sorts of uninvited visitors waiting for you. Scorpions and spiders being the most frequent ones.
I only checked where my phone charger is, who cares about some deadly beasties.
The next morning, it felt like we woke up to a different landscape.
The sky has cleared up and revealed a beautiful blue blanket stretching behind the desert landscape. What a view first thing in the morning!
Before we leave the desert, I can’t forget to show you my casa.
There are dozens of camps in the Wadi Rum area, in different sizes, prices and offering a different level of comfort. What I found is that most are quite big and all have shared bathrooms and toilets. The Jamal Rum Camp was one of the few with private bathrooms and the price included breakfast, dinner and a 3 hour safari tour for two people.
If you book your accommodation online, you should call them and let them know when you arrive. They will normally pick you from the Visitor Centre by the entrance, otherwise there is no chance of you finding any camps.
The room was pretty simple and our camp only had 4 of these. A small wall was separating toilet and shower area, we had a small window above our head and two comfortable single beds.
What more can you wish for?
We said our goodbyes to Jamal and thanked for his hospitality. It was time to move back north to Wadi Musa, the home of the ancient city of Petra.
If you are looking into accommodation options in the desert, it’s a good idea to check the location on the map as some of them are actually outside the protected area. Also, the size matters – our camp was quite small and felt more authentic than being crammed in a big tent with 50 other tourists. Consider if you mind sharing toilet or bathroom with strangers, for me it would be ok for one night.
If you want a proper glam experience, there is an ultra-modern camp offering Mars style accommodation – it’s called Wadi Rum Luxury Camp. It costs a lot more but if it’s a special treat kind of trip, go for it!
Views on the way to Petra.
We drove a small part of the journey on the main highway, where we passed small kids walking around, random camels looking for food and a lot of rubbish flying around. I was actually surprised how messy the whole country was. There was rubbish everywhere, especially public roads and open places.
The ride itself was absolutely amazing.
You can’t see these spectacular landscapes anywhere else. The views have changed drastically as we took of from the highway and headed towards Wadi Musa.
As we headed closer to the village, we were climbing higher and higher on the hills and at one point we were literally driving inside the cloud.
We couldn’t see much, but I could safely say I had my head in the clouds. It was a surreal and exciting experience.
It was sad to leave the desert which until then felt like the highlight of the trip and one of the best experiences I had. I could happily stay for a whole week and would never get tired of watching the sand dunes, camels, desert sunsets, avoiding scorpions & spiders and enjoying the total peace and quiet.
It felt like you can escape the reality there and embrace a very simple life of just a few pleasure – nature & food.
PS: More updates from Jordan over here