If you’re visiting Jordan, one experience you absolutely cannot miss is spending the night desert camping in the protected desert wilderness of Wadi Rum. Before you balk at “camping,” hear me out: There are a wide array of camps to choose from, meaning you can opt for a more traditional Bedouin tent or spring for a camp with luxury tents.
On a recent trip to Jordan, I chose the latter, getting a true glamping experience at Memories Aicha Luxury Camp that I would highly recommend. Read on to learn about how you can experience this incredible part of the world without roughing it in the slightest!
THINGS TO DO IN WADI RUM
While the desert camps may differ in the quality of their accommodations, they more or less provide the same activity options. Here’s what you’re in for if you do decide to spend a night out in the desert.
TAKE A JEEP TOUR
This is the most popular activity in Wadi Rum, and one your camp can almost certainly arrange for you. Jeep tours normally last three hours and take you to several sights, and if you time it correctly, sunset may be involved, too.
We ended up missing the group tour that left from Memories Aicha, but our driver arranged a private tour for us. We visited four different areas, seeing sand dunes, ancient pictographs, amazing rock formations and more. Our tour guide even showed us how a local plant could be made into soap!
RIDE A CAMEL
I skipped out on camel-riding this time around since I’ve done it before, but if you haven’t, it’s worth trying out! You’ll see camels everywhere in Jordan if you’re hitting the major hotspots, and nothing says “true desert experience” like getting up there and giving it a go. In my experience, camels seem less temperamental than horses, so don’t be nervous!
The stargazing in Jordan is absolutely unparalleled. The night sky is incredibly dark over many parts of the country, making it an ideal place to observe the cosmos.
Memories Aicha led a group stargazing expedition, with staff leading us away from the lights of camp and into total darkness. Laying back in the sand and watching the star-filled sky above is a memory I won’t soon forget.
SAMPLE BEDOUIN CUISINE
It’s hard to pick a favorite thing about my Wadi Rum experience, but if I had to, it may have been the traditional bedouin feast we had for dinner. When I say feast, I really mean it: The gigantic, domed dining room featured tables and tables of local dishes, and each one was fantastic. The nicest staff members were ready and waiting to replace things that were running low and fulfill any special requests.
I sort of doubted the rave reviews of the food at Memories Aicha and other camps that I’d seen online since I can be kind of a food snob, and I was completely wrong to do so. Prepare to stuff yourself.
WATCH A SUNRISE/SUNSET
There’s nothing like the pinks and oranges you’ll see when you watch the sunrise above or dip below the horizon in the desert. Add in the solitude and serenity you’ll find at a remote desert camp, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect beginning or end to your day.
We spent at least an hour at camp watching the light change and pastel colors illuminate the sky for sunset. What more do you really need in the way of entertainment?
Photography buffs, you’re in for a treat in Wadi Rum. From the magnificent and otherworldly desert landscapes to a night sky like none you’ve ever seen, you’ll find so much to take in with your camera during your time in the desert.
Luckily for me, the staff member leading our stargazing trip was also a photography enthusiast, and he encouraged me to bring my camera and tripod out with me to do some astrophotography. My friend and I spent an extra 45 minutes with him after everyone else had returned to camp, and he taught us so many neat tricks and effects you can do with long exposures. Just make sure you have protective gear and a camera cleaning kit with you—sand will get everywhere! (No joke, there is STILL some stuck in the legs of my tripod months later.)
CLIMB A SAND DUNE
It gets hot in Wadi Rum (and maps are scarce), so hiking isn’t really a great option unless you have a Bedouin guide. But there’s nothing stopping you from scrambling up the sand dunes you may find either near camp or on your Jeep tour, and in fact, scaling them is encouraged! Bring closed-toed shoes along if you’re thinking of giving it a go. While they’ll fill with more sand than you thought possible, the alternative is burning your feet (that sand gets hot under the scorching sun!).
Shisha, also known as hookah, is part of the Bedouin experience. Memories Aicha provided shisha to smoke for a small extra fee, and they had a beautiful open-air lounge with music playing where you could sit and linger.
VISIT THE MUSEUM
On the way to your desert camp, you’ll have to stop at the visitors’ center to pay admission to the Wadi Rum protected area (the entrance fee is 5 JD). Once there, there’s a small museum you can explore with some information on natural history.
As we quickly learned upon pulling up to our camp in Wadi Rum, there is absolutely no cell phone reception in the area, and at our camp there was no Internet, either. I have to say, the Internet part kind of surprised me: For some reason, I just assumed there would be Wi-Fi, not necessarily in our tent but at least at the check-in area, despite the fact that we were in the middle of the desert.
As you’ll see when you get there, the fact that there’s no connectivity in the camp is a great thing. Take time to relax, digital detox a bit and take in the incredible landscapes around you.
THE BEST WADI RUM CAMP
I would strongly recommend Memories Aicha to anyone looking for a luxury camping experience in Wadi Rum. Aside from some payment snafus (the staff was unable to process credit cards for add-ons such as the Jeep tour, and we didn’t have cash), everything about the experience was lovely.
We booked late in the game, and by the time we did, everything was sold out except for an executive suite tent. Suitable for up to three people, the tent had a king-sized bed as well as a pull-out couch and full living room.
That said, we hardly minded having the extra space, and the tent itself had all the modern conveniences you could need, including outlets and various lighting settings.
While some Wadi Rum camps have shared bathrooms, the rooms at Memories Aicha have en-suite private bathrooms complete with showers. In all honesty, it almost pushes the boundary on what you can even consider glamping!
If I went back, I’d definitely want to check out the “bubble tents,” which went into use shortly after our stay. These bubble-shaped domes have clear panels overhead, making them perfect for stargazing.
Memories Aicha is bookable on Hotels.com, which is my go-to when it comes to stays on which I can’t earn or use points. The reason? It’s a reward system. After 10 paid nights, you get a night for free. So if you have one of those in your back pocket, you can actually stay at Memories Aicha without paying!
Another way to stay for free would be to use a card such as the Capital One Venture. Its purchase eraser feature allows you to use your points to remove any travel charges from your statement.
OTHER PLACES TO CAMP
WADI RUM NIGHT LUXURY CAMP
If you’re looking for a different spot with bubble tents, Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp is your place. Like the bubbles at Memories Aicha, these feature king-sized beds and en-suite bathrooms with showers. This camp is bookable on Hotels.com.
SUN CITY CAMP
Sun City doesn’t have bubbles, but it does have “Martian domes,” which offer panoramic views out the front despite being covered on top. They also have king-sized beds and en-suite bathrooms with showers, and like the others, it’s bookable on Hotels.com.
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Hope this post helps you find the best Wadi Rum camp for you! Do you have any other questions about glamping in Wadi Rum? Let me know in the comments! >>
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