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Wadi Rum: One Night Under the Desert Sky

Wadi Rum: One Night Under the Desert Sky

Living in Jordan for almost four years it’s not a surprise exploring the desert more than once. Undoubtedly, Wadi Rum is worth several adventures – and because of that I was pleased being invited to this magical place once again. But this time it should be different…

As you may remind from one of my older posts ‘Wadi Rum – A Bedouin Lifestyle’ I already spent some nights in a Bedouin Camp; means a relatively convenient tent with electricity and water… and of course other guests. Many such camp offers circulate in the web. Actually you don’t even think about staying overnight in the desert could be something else.

Mosa was born in Wadi Rum. He is one of those Bedouins eager to share the authentic lifestyle, respecting his precious place and its fate, keeping it simple and without much interest changing that. Keen to introduce the Bedouin life to travellers he invited us for a night under the stars. I had my doubts… and plenty of images in mind of scorpions and bugs coming out at night crawling over me while sleeping. However, I liked the ‘authentic’ part Mosa was telling me about. Not least the many adventurous and breath tanking photos I found on his Instagram feed ‘Visit Wadi Rum’  made me feel right about my final decision.

As usual we took a bus from Amman to Aqaba and then a Taxi from Aqaba, which brought us directly to Rum Village, where Mosa already awaited us. After a short chat he introduced us to his brother Mutlak, our company guiding us through the day. We should meet Mosa again later at the sunset place. I was really hungry for the trip and riding the jeep over desert dunes enjoying sun and wind.

Leaving Rum Village we passed by Jabal Rum and made our first stop at Lawrence’s Spring – perhaps the most critical spot for Bedouins for drinking and watering the camels. Even nowadays you will find many camels around taking a rest at their refill station.

Certainly we were not just there for relaxing and enjoying the cool breeze from the jeep’s driving. Mutlak understood well to engage his guests and included some walking and even climbing. However, he always senses the thoughts and skills of his guests as I constantly experienced during the trip. He was there and ready when needed, but didn’t spread any feeling of rushing through a fixed route or time-table. Our tour passed by the Little Rock Bridge and later we stopped at the Burdah Rock Bridge, the bigger version… you can climb up the rock for the perfect view. I’ve to say we were a bit overwhelmed by the good amount of tourists there; it seemed Jordan’s tourism re-established after the years of suffering from the neighbouring countries’ struggles. On one hand a great thing for tourism on the other hand I hope it doesn’t mean losing the authenticity and an explosion of camps in a place where silence and simplicity attract.

Continuing our route we discovered another spring with large fig trees around – a special scene in middle of the desert. We walked through a canyon with some green and boulders to climb. Mutlak waited for us with a fresh cup of Bedouin tea at the other side. Meanwhile, he prepared a small fireplace fuelled by dry shrubs from the surrounding. It can be that simple. We grabbed that moment of break to listen to the sounds of the desert – which included Mutlak whistling, but also the far away screaming crow in the rocky hideaways.

The dusk was always my favourite when in Wadi Rum. There is no better sunset scene – just finding a place on an elevated rock watching the fireball setting and the shades growing. It’s a quick handover from sun to moon in Wadi Rum. The temperatures drop immediately… which can be very refreshing after a long day experiencing the desert.

Back down from the ‘sunset rock’ Mosa came by to show us our place for the night: a small and single rock in middle of the desert, where we set up our Bedouin mattresses and blankets. A bonfire for the dinner preparation and of course more tea was already waiting after our short walk around that rock assuring there is nothing scary at the other side.

We spent a few hours at the fire and enjoyed the homemade chicken and vegetables and Jordanian pastries for dessert. Sharing thoughts with Mosa and Mutlak under the starry sky, I guess it was the moment we caught the real Bedouin lifestyle our hosts tried to teach… without telling. Just as simple as during the day, Mutlak was there when needed, but disappeared when we were after some privacy as the fire went out. A soothing silence which I hardly sensed at any other place.

Certainly I woke up a few times during that night, perhaps excitement. I remember the first time must have been around midnight. The moon right over me as bright as you can imagine. Next time I woke up the scene changed; the moon left a sky with hundreds of bright and sparkling stars. As much as I love the moon, I was glad he handed over the stage for a moment. I tried hard not to fall back asleep… but dawn comes anyways.

At sunrise we took our blankets and climbed up ‘our’ rock we spent the night under. Mutlak brought some breakfast too…

Before eventually heading back to the loud and busy city of Amman we went for another morning Jeep tour. We got to see and climb red sand dunes, stopped at the Nabatean temple and some ancient Nabataea lettering and also the House of Lawrence of Arabia, which I especially like. There was a gang of cats around… such cuties. 

It was time to leave. Trade is one of the Bedouin spirits and I guess we learned that too: trading our crowded city stress for a ‘Jordan Desert Stars’ experience. At least for a weekend. We enjoyed the final chat and hearty goodbye with Mosa and Mutlak at Rum Village with a coffee in our hands, not leaving back any tent or evidence we ever visited. Moving ahead with nothing else than memories and stories to be shared at the next fireplace. I would not like it any other way.

Cheers with sunbeams.


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