Camel Trekking in Wadi Rum

The Vast, Silent and Colorful Desert of Jordan
By Belkis Kambach
Page 1 of 4   |  

Wadi Rum is famous for three things: its spectacular desert scenery, the Bedouin tribe that inhabits the area, and as a site of the exploits of the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, whose footsteps you can trace.

Before flying out of Helsinki, I sent an e-mail to all my friends and told them I would be off to explore a warm, beautiful place, and if any of them cared to, they could join me in a Middle East adventure trek. Only two mad adventurers replied—my friends Timo Alakoski from Finland and Magadelena Metker from Germany.

Just a half-hour drive west of Eilat, we arrived at the Jordanian-Israeli border. "Salam alikum, Greetings and welcome to Jordan," said our Jordanian tour guide Samir Afifi, who met us at the border. He said he was a businessman in Amman, recruited by our Israeli travel agent to be our Jordanian guide.

We stopped for a photo opportunity at the Red Sea port of Aqaba, then continued to the magical, majestic Wadi Rum—a vast, silent landscape of ancient riverbeds and pastel-colored stretches of sandy desert. There we made our second stop, as we were near Petra, Jordan, our final destination this week.

Here Jordanian turbaned camel drivers hawked rides, while Samir checked them out vigilantly. After a few moments of calm bargaining with the owner of three camels, we hopped aboard our dromedaries for a little trek into the Jordanian desert.

Muhamed, one of the turbaned Jordanian camel owners and a Bedouin himself, laughed behind his dark mustache as Timo, Magdalena, and I spread our legs wider than we'd thought was possible. Without warning, we lurched forward toward the ground, then rose several feet into the air as our full-grown camels stood up, snorting their oversized nostrils and batting their beautiful long eyelashes. The imposing colors of Wadi-Rum were there facing us. As we watched the fiery red sun go down over the horizon, the sky turned successive shades of pink, apricot, orange, and purple.

We shuffled into the shimmering horizon, carried along by loping spongy camel-feet. All around us, we saw the most impressive sienna colored desert cliffs and robed men wearing bright turbans.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 5 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »