I knew from the time I’d seen pictures online that if I was going to make it to Jordan for Petra, I definitely wanted to go to Wadi Rum as well.
I’m so glad I saw those pictures and decided to go! Wadi Rum is a desert that’s essentially in between Petra and Aqaba, and it’s a popular place for tourists to go on Jeep rides, camel rides, camping, etc. I definitely wanted to spend a night at a camp there!
So I did. We drove into Wadi Rum, and it’s truly otherworldly. The rock formations are giant and gorgeous, and we got in right around sunset, which made them even more beautiful. We came upon the camp, and it’s definitely more “glamping” than “camping” – they even had dome huts where you could see the stars through the ceiling! Next time, I’m reserving one of those. (And they had AC!)
The domed huts are made to mimic the Martian, which was filmed in part in Wadi Rum because the producers thought it really encapsulated what you expect Mars to look like. The Jordanians are quite proud of this fact – I was informed no fewer than 11 times by 5 different people (I counted. My guide accounted for 5 times on his own…).
To me, the magic of Wadi Rum was so much more than “The Martian” was filmed there. The desert is so quite, so silent, and so majestic it’s awe-inspiring. There’s also a feeling overall of warmth emanating from the environment. (Maybe that’s just the heat? But it was something more…). The energy of the area is very nice, and it’s definitely a place I’d go back to for a few days of quiet and solitude.
The camp I was at also does a traditional Bedouin dinner. This involves putting meat, potatoes, carrots, etc in this incredible vat which they then cook underground. I have no clue how it all works, but it was a sight to see to watch them pull dinner up from a tube in the ground! The food was pretty good (though maybe the chicken was a bit dry… but that’s just me being picky).
The night I was there, I went stargazing for about an hour. Wadi Rum is officially winning my ranking of best places to see the stars. For the first time in my life, I could actually see the Milky Way galaxy. I always thought people were sort of making it up – but you can really see it! It’s like the heavens opened and poured out stars. I could have spent many more hours stargazing but I was very tired!
I also knew I had quite an early wake up call. I needed to be at the main entrance to the camp, ready to go at 4:45am. It was worth it though – I’d scheduled a sunrise camel ride through the desert. It was the first time I’ve ever ridden a camel! It’s a lot bumpier than a horse, and I definitely thought I would fall off when the camel went up and down. And I was quite cold! The desert air really cools in the darkness, and I ended up wishing I’d brought a jacket on the ride. (Note: sadly, this is the best picture I have of me on the camel… maybe should have gone with self timer over having the Bedouin guide take it. 🙂 )
But watching the sun come up over the rocks was worth being cold – it was so peaceful and serene. It was just me, my camel, my guide, and his camel, and the desert around us. I feel so blessed because it’s feeling like every day I get to make memories I’ll have the rest of my life – this is definitely on that list!