There are countless tour operators who arrange excursions of any kind to give travelers a memorable desert experience and adventure. You can even easily organize it upon arrival at the entrance to the protected area. Among the myriad of activities in Wadi Rum there are hiking with a guide, going for a Jeep tour, taking a camel ride, going rock climbing, discovering the rock paintings of the different cultures who have inhabited the desert throughout the centuries, hiking up Jabal Al-Hash to see Wadi Rum from ‘up there’ or even taking in the sunrise from a hot air balloon. It’s really up to you to decide what to do depending on how much time you have.
Now, I made my peace with the fact that this world is all beautiful and wherever I go I can never see everything so, I do what I can do, savouring every moment without rushing.
Given the limited time available since we were staying only one day in Wadi Rum, we decided to visit the desert by Jeep. We also made this choice because four years back we had already done a camel ride in Lompoul desert in Senegal, so doing another one didn’t really intrigue us. And come on, let’s be frank, the camel can be the ship of the desert but it is terribly uncomfortable. Moreover, contrary to what you can sightsee by camel which is very slow, exploring in a jeep allows you to visit all of the must-see sights of Wadi Rum in a few hours. So, ours was the right choice.
A jeep tour in Wadi Rum is also the most popular way to explore the Desert and we did it with Starlight Bedouin Camp, the place where we were staying.
That day in January we arrived at Wadi Rum in the late evening and since the sun goes down quite early in Jordan, around 5 pm, the day of our arrival we could do nothing. But thankfully, we were staying overnight in the desert. It turned out to be a brilliant idea to start exploring the area the next morning. We got up early at seven and just after the breakfast and check-out, we left the camp with the staff for a jeep tour. The local young Bedouin showed us around some of the touristic spots of the desert but also some hidden gems. This tour offered a great balance between driving, stopping, & spending time at each place. I can’t list for you exactly the names of all the places we stopped but I can guarantee that the desert really offers a lot. Each point where the eye falls is something impressive. During our Jeep Tour in Wadi Rum Desert we went through scenic canyons, rock arches, sand dunes, Nabatean sites, rock bridges and much more.
We relied on him completely also because the desert was beautiful everywhere and who can be better than a Bedouin? They know their land very well and we can only be happy with our choice. At each stop the driver patiently gave us the opportunity to hike and explore in our own time and way. The time passed too quickly and we, as usual, were spending too much time at each place.
At one point, at the exit of the Canyon, our jeep got a punctured tire and we had to wait a bit before it got fixed again. Before your departure make sure with the driver that there is a spare tire and necessary tools. We had nothing and our driver had to walk here and there in the middle of nowhere before finding the solution, but it was quite an experience.
By the way, for the best hiking experience remember that taking good trekking shoes and a backpack is rule number one. We had normal trainers and we couldn’t do our best.
Around 1 pm, the staff brought us back to our car which we had left the day before at the Wadi Rum village. The Bedouin then bought us some sandwiches for lunch at Friends of Villa Restaurant and he even paid for that. After that we left to Petra by our rental car.
So, summing up, what I really want to suggest to you is to choose the Bedouins for your trip in Wadi Rum desert. They have been able over the years to develop a successful form of eco-adventure tourism as their main source of income and if you choose them it is certainly going to be an experience of a lifetime. Yes, we had this opportunity. Be careful because unguided hikes might be too dangerous.
Half-day jeep tours can give you a taste of the desert, but for a richer experience, I highly recommend that you take the one day jeep tour in Wadi Rum. All in all, I don’t suggest you stay more than two days in Wadi Rum but it is a special place that I recommend to any traveler heading to Jordan.