Jordan, Middle East

Jordan: Wadi Rum (Desert Camp)

Wadi Rum is governed by a special branch of tourist police and they do not mess about. I contemplated why they seemed so angry and on edge as they checked my passport and wrote down my details of how long I would be staying in the camp and with whom. I heard their job was to keep the desert safe and free from illegal activities so I respected that. You leave your taxi at Wadi Rum village and have to be picked up in a Jeep as you enter the desert, adventure was calling!

It had been a long emotionally demanding trip so as a treat to unwind before heading home I had booked a stay at the luxury desert camp. It was just like a big hotel room and a HUGE bathroom, very comfortable. Some of the tents where transparent so you could look at the stars at night. Looking out at the setup, it just did not look real.

As dinner time came I ventured to the extravagant dining room in the middle of the desert! It felt really out of place but I made sure I made the most of that buffet. The food was nice. lots of choice, but nothing could compare to that I had cooked in the cave itself.

As the night fell, I sipped mint tea brewed on the open campfire under the moonlight as light projections were shone onto a mountainside. I watched as tourists and Bedouins smoked shisha and relaxed to Arabic music.

Something didn’t feel right in this luxury camp, I wanted to be among the Bedouins as I had been in Petra, so I took off for a walk in the desert. Playing in the sand I didn’t give any thought to the possibility of snakes and scorpions, but I had been told because winter had started they were now deep underground. I walked to the nearest boulder which I climbed and sat on for a while as I contemplated everything that had happened in my trip, my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, but I did not want to get disorientated.

The next day I was ready for some adventure and activities. I went on a Jeep tour with my guide Rashid who made me climb rocks, sand dunes and boulders. I really enjoyed some of the challenges he set me, at one point driving off and my only option to find him was to climb over some rocks to reconvene with him. It was great fun. Also very fascinating, I saw some old Arabic and Canaanite inscriptions painted in caves from early civilization. I felt very honored to see this with my own eyes.

During the jeep tour, we stopped to have lunch in the middle of the desert cooked on an open fire. Very simple yet delicious. Especially after all that climbing.

I also had a go at driving the jeep, which had to be hotwired to start, had missing door panels and no headlights!

I witnessed a thunderstorm in the desert, it was quite something. Unfortunately, it rained so heavily, that the highway back to Amman was closed due to flooding so I ended up missing my flight home. I went into Wadi Rum village where I was able to connect to wifi and book a new flight in a couple of days time. I made the most of the situation, it wasn’t too bad to spend a few more days in the desert and spend more time with the Bedouins and their families. I also got to have another meal that was cooked underground with few spices.

On my last day as I was getting ready to leave, was in Wadi Rum village I heard very loud multiple gunshots and as I looked outside the window children were running. Fortunately, I found out it was just a way of celebrating a marriage in the village.

I really enjoyed my time in Wadi Rum, great hospitality and a very different experience to be living in the desert for a few days. I was able to capture this beautiful sunset the night before I left.

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