Day 24: Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum Travel Blog

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our taxi in the morning

We had to say goodbye to Alessandro last night. He was picked up at 6 in the morning and brought back to Rum village, from where he could take a but to Amman in order to catch his flight back home tonight.
I was sad to see him leave. Despite his limited English we had had such an incredible amount of fun with him these past 5 days. Really great company to have around.

We also had to say goodbye to Sabah. We were done with the Jeep and the walking part of the tour, so it was time for him to leave and go pick up his next group.
The two guys who had prepared dinner last night drove Alessandro to Rum, leaving us three, Derk, Will and myself, all alone in the camp.
Just when we started to wonder whether or not we would be picked up a guy in traditional Bedouin clothes walked into the camp: “Hi, I'm Sallah, I'll be your camel guide for today”

The best way to experience a desert is by camel, so we had arranged that we would return to Rum village by camel back.

Setting out on the camel trek

Camel riding is a strange experience. It is much more bumpy than riding a horse for example and it takes a while to get used to the feeling of the motion and to be able to sit without thinking you're falling off all the time.
On top of that, these animals are quite high. You're sitting at least 2-2.5 metres above ground! Not recommended for people prone to suffer from vertigo!


Travel by camel is not fast. To travel from the camp to Rum village takes about half an hour by jeep, it took us nearly 5 hours to travel the same distance by camel. Sure, camels can run (they even have camel races in this country) but if you aren't in a hurry it is much better to leave the animals to walk in their own tempo, even is this means letting them stop every once in a while to nibble on some fresh flowers or a little bush.

My camel. I'm afraid our relationship was a bit one-sided
That said, if you are not used to it it is not really advisable to sit on a camel for too long, as it will result in very painful limbs in the end. Especially the abs and back muscles will start to ache due to the constant rocking, but also the insides of my thighs and my arse were bruised by the really tough and very uncomfortable wooden saddle. This being a dromedary camel (and not the two-humped variety which has a natural saddle) a saddle is needed to stay atop the hump, and for some reason no Bedouin ever thought of making this out of comfortable materials. Aw, that was really really painful after a while.


Fortunately we had a full hour's tea break halfway.


But despite the pain camel riding is a surprisingly relaxing experience. Once you're used to the rocking tempo it is just so relaxing, I really loved to just sit there and soak up the fantastic desert atmosphere and the surroundings - I even closed my eyes at times to enjoy the silence and the gentle rocking.

camel trek through the Wadi Rum desert
I had a hard time not to fall asleep.


Once we got to Rum village and had to walk on our own legs again it was a strange sensation. Not just the muscle aches, but I also felt as if I was falling over all the time, and the ground just seemed so unnaturally close.


Sallah invited us to his house for a tea and a hearty lunch (once again stunning us with the genuine and humble hospitality of these people)
After lunch we arranged for a taxi to take us to our next destination, Aqaba, the southernmost city in Jordan. This took several hours, because first we had to wait for our luggage to arrive from the camp (the guys who had done the barbecue last night were supposed to have taken care of our luggage, but they had left in the morning while we were still sleeping to drive Alessandro to Rum - slight miscommunication).

Me on the camel :)

And of course, with 99% of the tourists in this country travelling in a tour group there was no onward transportation out of Wadi Rum and we had to arrange for a taxi to come from Aqaba to pick us up.


We spent several hours just sitting and waiting at the visitor's centre. A bit of a waste of the afternoon, but then again, after the camel trek I could barely walk any more, so I didn't mind lying down in the soft sand and closing my eyes for an hour or so.
The past three days had been the highlight of this trip. Or well, maybe not *the* highlight, as there have been many many highlights, but at least one of the highlights. Three days without a watch, without electricity, in the middle of nowhere, just absolutely terrific.

Wadi Rum desert
And everything had been superbly arranged: a guide who knew exactly what he was doing, excellent food (something which as we realised is quite rare in this country), great activities and a varied programme. And all that combined with the quietness, just four people in such a vast and impressive environment, that made these three days an unforgettable experience.  

Biedjee says:
It was! Definitely one of the highlights of all my travels!
Posted on: Feb 14, 2009
Koralifix says:
Very nicely written! Sound like an amazing time!
Posted on: Feb 14, 2009
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our taxi in the morning
our taxi in the morning
Setting out on the camel trek
Setting out on the camel trek
My camel. Im afraid our relations…
My camel. I'm afraid our relation…
camel trek through the Wadi Rum de…
camel trek through the Wadi Rum d…
Me on the camel :)
Me on the camel :)
Wadi Rum desert
Wadi Rum desert
tea break
tea break
camel trek through the Wadi Rum de…
camel trek through the Wadi Rum d…
still enjoying it, despite a painf…
still enjoying it, despite a pain…
Wadi Rum Hostels review
Sample Bedouin hospitality away from the crowds
If you are going to Wadi Rum, you should do an overnight tour, spending at least one night in one of the many desert camps within the national park. A… read entire review
Wadi Rum
photo by: vances