Gawking at the Red Rock and Dreaming of Lawrence!
Going to Jordan in winter with limited time we knew we’d be missing out on one of the quintessential Jordanian adventures, a night under the stars in a Bedouin camp at Wadi Rum. While this sounds very touristy, and I’m sure it is, I just can’t resist being in the desert at night with a small, crackling fire casting its warm glow around the camp and the Milky Way shining down from above. I can imagine myself in just the same spot Lawrence of Arabia camped while plotting the morning’s battle.
We knew we wouldn’t be overnighting so we didn’t really research it too much. If yo’re lucky enough to go during the right time of year, there’s plenty of information out there, just be sure to do good research and don’t get scammed.
Instead, we decided to go ahead out to the visitor’s center on our way north between Aqaba and Amman and just see what was available for a day tour. The visitor center was quiet, not much happening; and, at the time, it was possible to buy tickets and an official guided tour right from the main desk. This avoided all of the solo guides that we had read about in warnings on various forums. It might have been one or two dollars more, but we knew we had a sanctioned guide.
We had a thrilling day roaring through the desert in our open top 4X4. Of course we went to all of the typical sights, climbed atop the natural bridge formations, climbed up and rolled down dunes, and sat in the shade and drank tea with some Bedouins. The coolest part, however, came as we were driving back to visitor center to pick up our rental car and head up the road. As we came out of the sand dunes and were approaching the center, we spotted two young men on their camels racing for the village. It was an all out, full speed ahead race and neither was backing down. The sand rolling off their camels feet caught the red glint of light from the setting sun. Needless to say, we won the race but I bet those guy’s sure had fun out there in the desert sand.