Wadi Rum. Ethereal, timeless and mystical. A red desert with landscapes so otherworldly it is where the movie Mars was filmed. A stay at a desert camp is a unique experience.
Wadi Rum or The Valley of the Moon
About 4 hours south of Amman in southern Jordan, is the desert of Wadi Rum, Arabic for valley of the moon. The area is a protected national park, a wilderness of dramatic mountains and vast, empty, silent landscapes. Whoever first wrote the words “deafening silence” must have been referring to Wadi Rum. Stand in the desert and listen. There is a total absence of sound, absolute silence.
I booked a desert stay at the Wadi Rum night camp, although there are several camps in the national park, all run by Bedouins. The meals were typical Middle Eastern and tasty. They make the flat bread in front of you and give it to you hot off the griddle. As many restaurants and hotels in the Middle East are dry, the Wadi Rum camp offers local non-alcoholic beer. I’d have to say that throughout my entire visit to Jordan, non-alcoholic beer is the only thing I found wanting. But everything else more than made up for this. After dinner the staff prepares a fire in the middle of the desert where the guests can warm themselves while the Bedouin staff serve their amazing jasmine tea.
Touching the desert stars
There are two types of sleeping accommodations; the pods, which are little bubble shaped rooms with plexiglass ceilings, so you can see the stars all night, and the traditional tents. You will be surprised to see how much a desert tent can be made to look like a standard hotel complete with shower!
Sleeping in the desert under the stars is unforgettable. No matter how clearly you think you’ve seen the stars in the night sky, only in Wadi Rum can you feel like you can touch them.After seeing the magnificence of Petra, we didn’t think there would be any other place in Jordan that would enthrall us. But Wadi Rum proved us wrong. Click To Tweet
Despite its barren appearance the desert is teeming with life; wolves, Ibex, foxes, hares and more. At night you can hear the soulful howls of wolves in the far, thankfully VERY far, distance.
Exploring the Desert from a camel
Exploring the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum by 4X4 is a unique experience. The camp offers 2- and 4-hour tours which can include a camel caravan.
Camels, of course, are a desert fixture. They can be stubborn and loud but there is a timeless beauty about them similar to the desert.
The desert Bedouins of Wadi Rum
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Wadi Rum is the gracious hospitality of the Bedouin inhabitants. At every step people were friendly and humorous. It was easy to understand where the legend of Arab hospitality came from.
Where is the place where you have seen the brightest stars at night?