My excitement was building; we’d been picked up from the airport by our Driver Ibrahim, and we had been travelling for almost four hours now with a couple of pit stops. When booking, we didn’t realise that the international airport was so far from our first destination. However, it was only an hour or so from our last, so it was ok.

Wadi Rum is a protected area in Jordan. The desert is probably most famous for Lawrence of Arabia, and lately as film locations used in Star Wars and The Martian.

Wadi Rum Protected area

Watch this video about Wadi Rum to help you understand why it’s a protected area.

You appreciate the beauty of this rugged landscape as soon as you enter the protected area—the colour of the sand, the rocks and the mountains sculpted through aeons of weather-beating. You’re greeted with another ’ reveal ’ around every corner or as you drive along in a straight line. It’s breathtaking.

On the ride into the camp, we appreciated the views less as the back of the pickup truck was rough and windy. Our camp, for some reason, didn’t allow outside tours to operate with their guests, so we had, for instance, to book one of their Jeep Tours directly with the host.

Dark skys (stars and constellations)

Flood lit camp Wadi Rum

Flood lit camp Wadi Rum

My photographic goal for choosing this camp was to be able to not only photograph the vistas and monumental structures but also to spend time photographing the night sky. I had researched timings and directions, and it was favourable for photographing the Milky Way and the night sky.

As ever, though, this was thwarted by weather. The clear skies we had in the morning and early afternoon gradually became more and more cloudy. This happened on the second night of our stay as well. In addition, the camp was floodlit at night (so we, as guests, could find our way around). Unfortunately, the position of the Milky Way was in the same direction as the floodlights. There was no way the Milky Way would be visible under those conditions.

Dark sky photography in Wadi Rum guest camp

Dark sky photography in Wadi Rum guest camp

This is a lesson I have learned and in the future I will ask whether they are a dark sky camp, as it’s essential for astrophotography.

Cooking in a Zarb

The food at Wadi Rum Guest Camp fell at the end of two extremes. While dinner was fabulous and quite a spectacle, breakfast was a bitter disappointment.

Our hosts gave us insight into how they prepare meals in a Zarb, a traditional underground oven. A deep pit is dug and the fire is lit at the bottom. Meanwhile the food to be cooked is prepared and placed on a tiered platter with the rice at the bottom, the vegetable onr the middle tier and the meats on the top. The food is cooked underground for several hours, while cooking the juices from the meat trickle down and flovour the food on the lower tiers. If you like slow-cooked food, this method provides a sumptuous feast in the evening, and all the guest gather around to see the ‘reveal’.

Meals at the camp were included in the price of the stay, but although the evening meals were absolutely worth it, it might be better to bring breakfast food as in my opionion it was one of the areas with much room for improvement.

Jeep tours

Another area of service from the camp was the quality of the Jeep Tours. This service may be juvenile in operation. Since it’s my first trip to the area, I can’t comment past my initial experience.

Our driver spoke very limited English, so he couldn’t provide as much background information about where they were taking us.

The tour started nearly 45 mins later than booked, due to waiting on some other family - to do what I still don’t know -

The trucks were filthy and full of debris, including discarded water bottles and other people’s clothing; this was not impressive. When we asked the driver to clear it, he merely shoved all the items on the floor ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We had a mini sandstorm brewing while we were waiting to start, so that didn’t improve the mood in our group. Still, when we got going, the adventure in the desert enhanced our mood, so by the time we got to sunset (obscured by sand and clouds), we’d had a fun time.

Here are some of the things you’ll see on your tour (there are lots more if you go on a full-day tour, but ours was only a half day)

Camels, the taxi of the desert

Camels, the taxi of the desert


You will climb up and ‘surf’ down plenty of these during the tour. I wore walking boots, but we soon worked out that it was better to walk them barefoot (be aware of any debris that may lay under the sand in less well-kept areas)

rock formations

As mentioned, The rock formations were beautiful and varied in colours and striations. I wish I had the correct vocabulary to describe them, but as they say about pictures and words.

Lawrence of Arabia

I watched the movie before going to Jordan to understand what the obsession with the man was all about; apart from that, I don’t have much more to say other than you’ll get to see where he lived and will hear his name a lot.

Lady sitting on the sand dune

Lady sitting on the sand dune


It’s fantastic to know that in the desert of Wadi Rum, there are over 20,000 inscriptions and petroglyphs written in four different scripts: Arabic, Islamic, Nabatean and Thamudic. Drawings of humans and animals and symbols exist throughout the area. Scholars speculate about the meanings of the inscriptions, but it’s agreed that they illustrate over 12,000 years of stories and the region’s history.

Camel trains

One thing that you’ll need to see are these wonderful desert animals. If you’re lucky, you may even see a train of them striding home in the evening sun.

tickets to enter

There is an entrance fee to enter Wadi Rum. This is Jordanian Dinar (JOD) 5 if you’re an international visitor, though children under 12 go free. The money collected goes towards preserving and protecting Wadi Rum and is also used to help local Bedouin communities.

Wadi Rum Accommodation Options

There are many options for staying in Wadi Rum, from basic to luxury. If you are staying in the desert, you would have booked one of the many desert camps to immerse yourself in the environment, the culture and the adventure of nights sleeping under the stars.

Our booking was at Wadi Rum Guest Camp, which we found via It was a mid-level camp that we chose because it had bubble tents, which I, in particular, wanted so that if the night was too cold, I could photograph the stars from inside the tent (by the way, this was unrealistic, as I found out due to the quality of the ‘glass’)

On arrival at the camp, we were happy with our choice. It was Eid at the time of our travel, so we were quickly running out of options during this popular holiday.

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