Whether you want a traditional camel tent or a luxury mars tent, there are plenty of options in the desert. Read more for everything you need to know about desert camps, tours, camels and bedouins that call this place home.
Wadi Rum Camp | Bedouin Camping in Jordan
- Wadi Rum Camp | Bedouin Camping in Jordan
- Where is Wadi Rum?
- Wadi Rum Camp Information
- Types of Wadi Rum Camp Tents
- Wadi Rum Blog: What is Wadi Rum known for?
- Rum Village and Al Disa Village
- What to Expect – Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp Experience
- Respectable Dress
- Wadi Rum Tours and Information
- Getting to Wadi Rum
- Wadi Rum Weather
Where is Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum is the Jordan desert in the south of the country. Driving from Amman to Wadi Rum takes about four hours. Aqaba, the southern port city to Wadi Rum is less than an hour’s drive. While the desert highway passes through this desert, access to Rum village and Al Disa village is by a side road off the highway.
On arrival, you will find a visitors centre, a police station and two villages made up of cement buildings and home to Wadi Rum bedouins, the only prominent residents of the area.
Wadi Rum Camp Information
There are dozens of camping choices in Wadi Rum. There are traditional goat hair tents with a basic bed and shared washroom facilities, there is cave camping and there are luxury domed tents allowing you to see the stars on a clear night. From basic to luxury there is EVERYTHING in between. Some camps you can drive into. Others you will be picked up at the visitors centre and taken by 4×4 into the desert.
Some camps have dance parties late into the night (these are awesome in my kids’ opinions) and others have quiet evenings, bonfires and tea. What you are looking for in a camping experience will dictate the best Wadi Rum bedouin camp for your visit.
Camps inside the Wadi Rum protected area will be more quiet, as loud music is not permitted.
I have stayed at both a typical camp for Arabs, and also a camp that caters to tourists. The main difference is that the camps that cater to the Arabs have limited speaking English staff. My favourite camp is called Rum Magic Camp, and is one of these camps that caters to Arabs. But do not get me wrong, there are always tourists there as well, and they do have staff that speak English.
Rum Magic camp offers excellent food, you can drive in, it has wifi (in the cafe area), offers a super fun dance party (my kids love it) in the evenings (this is sometimes only on Thursdays and Fridays as they also have guests who just common from Aqaba for dinner and entertainment). I have also been here and been the only guest. It made for a nice quiet trip where we explored the nearby sand dunes, watched the sunset, and were made a private meal by the staff.
Rum Magic camp has basic bathrooms (bring some of your own tissues) and showers, and basic tents, as well as a cement building option. Why not stay in a goat hair tent if you have the chance in my experience, but the choice is yours. they are also working on luxury tents with private showers and bathrooms. I am excited to see these finished and try them out!
The complete opposite to Rum Magic camp, is Hasan Zawaideh Camp. It always gets excellent reviews on Booking.com and you can see my full review here. Mahmoud will ensure you have a great stay and their camp offers luxury tents, excellent food and they are happy to arrange any excursions that you may wish to take. Hasan Zawaideh camp is also drive in, but they are happy to pick you up at the visitor’s center if you arrive without a vehicle.
Types of Wadi Rum Camp Tents
A goat hair tent is your basic choice when it comes to Wadi Rum tents. They are often arranged in rows, with connecting side walls and a zipper closed door. They offer beds with linens and they will have separate shared bathroom facilities.
Cement Style Room
These are also basic accommodation but with cement walls instead of tent walls. These are better if you are easily disturbed by noise. They have an actual door that closes, and basic beds.
Luxury tents are exactly what they sound like. Beautifully coloured walls inside a goat haired covered house. They usually have their own bathroom and shower and queen sized beds. Some camps also offer these for families or with single beds.
If you are looking for a luxury tent, they are abundant now in Wadi Rum. I personally enjoyed Hasan Zawaideh Camp but other popular ones are Sun City Camp, which is known for great service and Captains Camp.
Something that I recently saw at Captain’s Camp Wadi Rum is the option to sleep IN A CAVE. A LUXURY CAVE! Everything that you get in a luxury tent including a sky light and your own private camping experience. I am hoping to visit Captain’s Camp and try out this cave soon!
Mars Tents or Bubble Tents
These are luxury bubble tents that offer star gazing and a view of the desert from the comfort of your own room. Perfectly positioned for a view of the desert, these luxury tents also feature double or queen beds, air conditioning, and private washroom facilities. One of the popular camps offering this is Sun City Wadi Rum Camp. Note that these are not totally glass style and only offer a large viewing window of the desert. They do offer privacy.
If you are interested in a Martian tent while you visit Wadi Rum, check out Sun City Camp. This camp is popular with tourists and groups and should be booked in advance.
If you want to read more, check out the Best Martian Experience
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Wadi Rum Blog: What is Wadi Rum known for?
Wadi Rum a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular eco-adventure destination for Jordanians and visitors to Jordan. It offers sandstone cliffs and mountains for trekkers and climbers as well as camel safaris from 1 hour to multi day rides. It is a frequent day-trip spot, but also popular for camping, as luxury camping spots and star gazing experiences are sought-after by tourists.
Its Mars-like landscape is covered with red sand and its towering mountains reaching 1750m. Sometimes referred to as the Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum’s landscape was the backdrop for the movie “the Martian” and was also used as the moon Jedha in StarWars Rogue One movie. It was also the backdrop of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
The best way to explore is on a Wadi Rum Jeep Tour. These can be arranged on arrival from the Wadi Rum visitors centre, and prices start at JD35. If you are short on time and can only spend a few hours here, this is the best way to get a good taste of the desert. However, I highly suggest that everyone who visits should spend the night at a Wadi Rum bedouin camp
T E Lawrence of Arabia spent a significant amount of time in Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt during World War One.
The highlights of this amazing desert can be best accessed by a Jeep on a Wadi Rum Tour that can be arranged at the visitors centre (rates start at JD35).
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom – visible from the Wadi Rum Visitors Centre
- Lawrence’s Spring – beautiful views of the desert can be seen from Lawrence’s spring
- Lawrence’s House – while famously known as where Lawrence of Arabia stayed while in Wadi Rum, it is not much more than rubble in the desert.
- Anfashieh Inscriptions – carvings on the rocks depicting early caravans across the desert. These date back to the Nabatean and Thaumadic period (over 2000 years ago)
- Umm Fruth Rock Bridge – a steep scramble up to this wadi rum rock bridge is worth it to see the desert in front of you, and to pose for a great photo!
- Siq al-Khazali – this narrow canyon contains many Nabataean rock carvings of people and animals. It is worth a stop to walk into the small siq and look at the carvings up above you.
Rum Village and Al Disa Village
As a visitor to the Jordan desert, you probably will not notice that there are actually two villages in Wadi Rum. These villages are quite small, mostly one main road with a few local shops and a gas station. Inhabited by the local bedouin tribes, tourism in the desert is their main source of income. Many will drive 4×4 trucks, conduct camel treks, own bedouin camps or sell souvenirs. Other residents work in local shops or raise goats or chicken to support the village.
Wadi Rum village is accessed by passing the Wadi Rum visitor’s center.
Al Disa village turn off is before the Rum visitors centre (where you see the police checkpoint), but you need to register your arrival at the visitors centre, pay your JD5 for your entrance fee, before going back to the Al Disa turnoff.
While it may seem trivial to register your arrival in the desert, it is for your own safety. If something was to occur, the tourist police in Wadi Rum know which camp you are in and can provide any assistance if required. While I have never had any problems requiring the tourist police (expect trying to figure out how to renew my Jordan visitor visa), they are an important part of maintaining safety and security in the region should any guests of Jordan require assistance.
What to Expect – Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp Experience
Many camps will provide traditional bedouin meals and sweet bedouin tea. Your camp price will likely include dinner and breakfast, and many camps offer tea through the day and evening. This sweet, aromatic tea is kept hot by the fire and is served in small cups. If there is no fire, they will likely have it in a hot thermos. Still good, but not as good as by the fire.
Dinner will lily be a selection of salads, with rice and meat cooked in a “zarb.” A Zarb is an underground oven which has layers of meat and veggies cooked under the sand. Once cooked, the sand is shovelled away, the lid is removed and the meat is taken out and served on a large platter. It is so moist it mostly falls off the bone.
Make sure you bring some water into the camp, or most camps will have water, soft drinks and shisha for sale. You might also bring a few snacks if you like to snack between meals.
Always dress modestly while in Wadi Rum. While the sun is hot, short shorts and tanks tops is considered disrespectful. Local bedouins will likely never say anything to you, but you should respect their culture and ensure your dress is modest while you are in Wadi Rum.
Read my Packing List for Jordan post for clothing tips and my other must have items for visiting Jordan!
Wadi Rum Tours and Information
Wadi Rum Entrance fee for tourists is JD5 (If you have a Jordan Pass, your pass includes this fee)
Jeep Tours start at JD35
Rates for camping start at about JD20
Camel Safari’s start at JD20
These can be arranged on arrival at the visitors centre.
Getting to Wadi Rum
The Wadi Rum visitors centre is 30 kilometres off the desert highway. While it is not an area served by tourist transport or even a local bus, there is some information online about busses that may run once a day to the area. You can also take a local bus and get dropped off at the turnoff to Rum and make your way into the visitors centre. On arrival, there are a few souvenir shops, washrooms and an office where you pay your entry fees and can book tours.
Taxis from Aqaba to Wadi Rum cost about JD25
I do not have personal experience with taking the daily bus from Petra to Wadi Rum or Wadi Rum to Petra, but you can ask about it from your hotel. I have read online that it does exist but have no information on it. Jordanians are all very welcoming and helpful, it is not the kind of country where you will be given misleading information or poor information about how to do things. The biggest problem is sometimes their understanding of English, but in the hotels and tourist places, Jordanians english is excellent.
I prefer to rent a car from Amman ( about JD25 a day ) since I have two kids and it makes our travels much more comfortable and allows us to stop along the way. There is a lot more info on this on my post called Getting around in Jordan.
Wadi Rum Weather
The weather in Wadi Rum depends on the season. I have visited in March and it has been less than 5 C at night and quite cold. I have also been in April and it has been over 20C at night and hot! Ensure you pack layers, if you are visiting in the winter or early spring bring a warm jacket and do not be afraid to ask for extra blankets if you are sleeping in a goat hair tent (the only way to go in my opinion! you are camping!)
Bring a hat and sunglasses for your Wadi Rum tour as the sun can be very hot on the back of a 4×4 and after these tours happen in the middle of the day. Wear a hat and long sleeves for your camel trek as well. Read more about packing lists for Jordan here.
If you want more tips about planning a visit to Jordan or more information about the country start with this post I wrote about Safety in Jordan. Also check out things to buy in Jordan so you have an idea of what to look for when you visit. I have plenty of other Jordan content, feel free to drop a comment with many questions and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
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Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.