Camel Trekking in Wadi Rum

By Belkis Kambach

The following information will help you plan your trip and enjoy your visit especially if you are visiting Jordan for the first time.

Entry Requirements: Visas and passports may be obtained from Jordanian consulates outside the country, or from Jordanian immigration authorities at the airport on arrival. Visas issued at the airport are valid for one month and can be extended at the Directorate of Foreigners and Borders in Suleiman al-Nabulsi Street in Amman. In the U.S., at the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, NW Washington, DC 20008 Tel: (202) 966-2664/Fax: (202) 966-3110.

Airlines: The most frequent international flights are served by the following airlines: The Royal Jordanian Airline, which links Amman with many of the capitals of Europe, South Asia and the Arab World, and operates wide-body jets to New York. Many other international air carriers also operate regularly to Amman. Other airlines that fly to Jordan are Gulf Air, Aeroflot, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air France, Air Yemen, Olympic Airways, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Qatar Airway, British Airways, Emirates Airlines, etc. The Queen Alia International Airport south of Amman is one of the most modern facilities in the Middle East.

Getting Around: From Amman, head south on the Desert Highway or more scenic King's Highway. Allow around four hours for the journey. From Aqaba, head north—the journey time is less than one hour. At the Wadi Rum rest stop, you can hire a four-wheel-drive vehicle to explore the area. Or—for the more adventurous—hire a camel. It's easier than you think, and surprisingly comfortable, taking less than a 20-minute lesson from a Bedouin to learn the ropes.

Driving: Taxis are available and offer a fixed rate per vehicle or per person to all points from Amman. There is no public transportation into Wadi Rum but there are good international roads linking Jordan with surrounding countries. Travel within Jordan is efficient and enjoyable with a good road system constantly being expanded and upgraded, and many of the sites a visitor would want to see are at most within a few hours' drive from Amman. Jordan's road signs are marked in English and Arabic, and there are petrol stations and rest houses at regular intervals throughout the country.

Where to Stay: Wadi Rum makes a perfect combination before or after a visit to Petra because preserving the pristine wilderness, there are no hotels in Wadi Rum itself, but Petra and Aqaba make good bases from which to explore the desert. The Rest house offers the only restaurant in Wadi Rum, and there is a small general store beyond the Desert Patrol Fort. This is also the place to find a guide to help you explore the desert safely.

Camping is permitted (for a minimal fee) on the grounds of the Government Rest house, which also provides showers and luggage storage. Note that desert nights are cold, even in summer. Camping is also permitted in the Dana reserve, and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature can provide pillows, blankets, mattresses and tents. A bathroom and kitchen are available. To make a reservation, contact the RSCN Tel. 837931/2 fax 847411. Private stays with a Bedouin family are a must and can be arranged there as well.

Safaris: There are many travel agents organizing safaris—including ones from Wadi Rum to Petra—that range from 3-7 to 10-day expeditions deep into the desert areas of Wadi Rum all the way down to the Saudi Arabian border and the Disi mountains.

Riding Skills: For most riders you will ride 5-6 hours each day on camels or purebred Arabians and Arabian crosses.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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