We leave Petra in the late afternoon and drive for 2.5 hours to reach our desert camp in Wadi Rum. Also known as the Valley of The Moon, it is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in the southern part of Jordan. Scenes of Wadi Rum were first made famous when Lawrence of Arabia was filmed there back in the 1960’s and now more recently the live action version of Disney’s Aladdin. And any movie that takes place on Mars, such as The Martian with Matt Damon and a few Star Wars movies. Fun activities you can do here are rock-climbing, horseback riding, stargazing and ATV rides through the thick sandy desert. Our digs for the night are at Captain’s Camp.
We are lucky to get an upgrade to deluxe tents with bathrooms inside! Woo hooo! I end up sharing with a girl named Nikki, and we score a massive 5 bed tent with a couch.
We arrive around 6:30 and the sun is just beginning to set so I rush out with my camera to get a few shots. But the tall rocks around the camp are blocking a good view of the sunset so I settle for whatever I can see.
It’s almost time for dinner, and wow we are in for a treat! First, we watch the camp guys pull the meat out from the ground.
That’s right, we are having zarb which is a Bedouin way of cooking chicken, meat and rice. It is buried in an oven with hot coals beneath the desert sands. Now we line up around the buffet to fill our plates with the delicious food. There are a few other tour groups here, and let’s just say some of them don’t get the concept on lining up in an orderly fashion. Annoying! Ian and I grab a table and I dig into my plate that is full of rice, melt in your mouth potatoes, veggies, homemade pita and of course, that sumptuous zarb.
The flavor of that underground cooked chicken is amazing! And to my delight, there are tons of cats and kittens running around and I love them! They want food of course and I don’t blame them. But they’re not annoying or desperate because they are not hurting for a good meal around here.
After dinner Ian and I find a place to sit and relax and work off that food coma. We just so happen to sit in front of a pot of tea on the fire, so Ian gets the job of tea pourer because the teapot is quite heavy.
I’m not sure what kind of tea it is; typical Bedouin camp fare. We think the night is winding down, but then traditional music starts playing and the guys that work at the camp are encouraging everyone to dance. I don’t really feel like it but Ian makes me go dance. Haha. It was basically just going around in a circle and doing this hopping move while kicking each foot out into the centre. You can do this in a circle, or with a partner…it’s that easy!
Before heading back to my super awesome deluxe tent, I sit in the reception area for a bit because it’s the only area that gets a WIFI signal. The most adorable kitty comes to join me and makes itself very comfortable in my lap.
I’m in love! When I eventually head off to go to bed, kitty follows me to my tent. So cute! But foreign kitties are not allowed in my tent. Haha.
The next morning, we have another fantastic meal at the camp and then pile into a bunch of trucks to head out for our desert safari. Before we leave, I get one of the cute Bedouin guys at the camp to properly tie that cool scarf I bought in Petra around my head.
I haven’t bothered to try on my own; why would I when I can get a cutie to help me out?
We drive through the vast Wadi Rum desert; there are many cool rock formations to marvel at along the way.
In the distance, a herd of camels wander with their master.
You can also hire them if you prefer a camel ride over a truck ride…let’s just say the truck is a much more comfortable ride, but it’s also pretty cool to ride a camel in the Jordanian desert.
The first stop we make is at this sandy ramp that leads up to the top of a rock that will offer some fantastic views.
I find out that it’s difficult to walk up this ramp because the sand is so thick. I feel like I’m not making any progress, and my short legs and crappy knees are not helping the situation so I settle for the views from down here.
I discover some tiny animal prints in the sand and I ask Khalid what it could possibly be since it seems like nothing lives out here. He doesn’t know. Wow! Something he doesn’t know about, or need to go in to a half hour explanation about!
Back on the truck and we drive past this really cool rock formation that looks like a human face. Is it natural, or has it been carved into the rock?
Along the way we stop to admire some of the carvings and sketchings made into the rock.
We make another stop at a cool lookout point…. I’m scared to get too close to the edge because it’s a long way down. We don’t need any freak accidents in Jordan.
The last stop is at another Bedouin camp and they serve us…tea!
I seriously love this tea. And just like that our Wadi Rum desert adventure is over as we trade ATV’s for our large coach bus and head back towards Amman. But we have one last stop along the way…
The Dead Sea. Getting off the bus, it is hot as hell. And I mean probably the hottest day I’ve felt the entire time I’ve been in Jordan. I’m assuming it’s also because we are way below sea level. 430 metres below to be exact. This is the lowest land elevation on earth. Pretty neat!
We enter through some sort of resort area and grab our rental towels. Even though I have sunscreen on I can feel the sun’s heat burning through it real quick on my walk down to the sea.
I walk slowly into the super salty water and as soon as I get deep enough, I begin to float. It is so weird…I’m trying to take some pics but I have to keep myself from rolling face down. And I can put my feet up in the air while floating!
It is so salty in the Dead Sea that it makes for a harsh environment, preventing plants and animals from living and growing here. I only spend around 20 minutes in the water…mostly because I don’t want to get raging sunburn and I have a couple of minor cuts on my feet from my shoes and they are currently ON FIRE. Hahah literally “rubbing salt into the wound”. I head up to the open-air showers to rinse off some of the salt and these two super hairy dudes from Saudi Arabia want to have a chit chat. They are happy to hear I’m from Canada, but I don’t want to give off any inkling of interest so I keep it short.
Even though I rinse off, I can still feel so much salt in my hair and I can’t wait to get back to the hotel and wash it out. We arrive back in the late afternoon and I thought of going to explore more of Amman, but I end up going back to Carrefour instead to grab some last-minute souvenirs such as Jordanian cookies, Dead sea salts and face masks, and olive oil soap. Much cheaper to buy it here than at tourist shops. Ian and I order pizza from the hotel and enjoy our last night in Jordan. And to sum it up, a bunch of people from the group decide to have a farewell get together and not invite us. They even see us sitting at the table eating our dinner, and don’t ask us to join. Just seriously the worst group I’ve ever traveled with.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed my time exploring Jordan. It should be high on your bucket list of places to explore!