Wadi Rum Bedouin Camps

Oct 15th, 2010, 09:40 AM
  #1  
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Wadi Rum Bedouin Camps

We are looking to stay at a bedouin camp in Wadi Rum in Jordan. Lady Egypt has recommended the Jabal camp, however in reading reviews from other travelers on TripAdvisor, the Bedouin Life Camp has received excellent ratings. Has any one out there used either of these camps and if so what was your experience? If not would you recommend any other camps?

We are just looking to spend a day and one night with them, doing a Jeep tour or camel ride.....

Thanks in advance for the assistance.
GG716 is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 02:00 PM
  #2  
 
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Do a search on this board as there have been a few threads on this subject. Including the camps you mention.
sandi is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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I just stayed at the Jabal Rum Camp through Lady Egypt. I did not really like it but that I think is more because I like nice hotels. It was hot, smelly and boring! The camp appeared clean and neat, the beds in the tents were reasonably comfortable, the linen supplied was clean. The showers and toilets were ok I guess, just there was a smell of sewage that wafted around the camp which made you think the showers were not as clean as they were. I swore I wouldn't have a shower whilst there as the showers had suspicious brown marks on them.. but I think it was rust! I had to have a shower as I was so hot and dusty after our desert drive.

We arrived at the camp at about 2 or 3 pm and after a few people left at lunch time there was nobody there and there was no service. We just lay on the couches in the communal areas, swatting off a few flies here and there.

We went on the jeep ride but from what Amanda at Lady Egypt told me I thought it was going to be in a luxury air conditioned 4 wheel drive. We were taken on a jeep ride in an old pickup with stained cushions and a driver who did not really speak english. We were told if we wanted him to stop, to bang on the window of the driver's cabin. The tour consisted of stopping at 2 "bedouin houses" which really was just a money making exercise. Yes I understand these people need to make money on tourists, however, I was just annoyed at not knowing what the tour was going to be about. I didn't have money with me.
MissGreen is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 03:59 PM
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I forgot to mention, my husband loves camping and he thought the camp was just fine.
MissGreen is offline  
Oct 16th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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<>

Do you think she misled you or did you fail to read the fine print or between the lines? Sounds like everything else was pretty first class that they provided (except for this whole experience) so I can see where you might assume the whole thing was supposed to be first class. Was there something you missed in the terms or description they gave you?

And don't you just LOVE those "Bedouin Camps you visit? They are just soooo - come in and see how much money we can get you to give us for some cheesy handcrafted (often handcrafted in China) items. Same as the Masi Mara villages in Kenya. I guess looking at the housing they live in is interesting, but everything else is so cheesy.

Having said that, I have to admit I've spent my fair share of money at those joints.... and for the most part I'm still reasonably happy with my purchases.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Oct 16th, 2010, 04:13 AM
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CC, I spoke to Ahmed our Rep about it and he seemed to be surprised at my description of our jeep and the tour. Amanda also said that we would go to a visitor's centre for our tour, but we didn't do that.. we were met at the camp which is also what made me think we didn't get what we were supposed to. They lucked out with the "money making side" of the tour with us as I didn't take my purse.(I just had a single note in my pocket for the driver's tip). I had no idea we'd go "visiting". In the scheme of things it isn't a big deal.
MissGreen is offline  
Oct 16th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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Your Wadi Rum trip didn't sound too good, MissGreen. I would be ok with the rickety jeep, but if all I saw on a two hours tour of WR were 2 bedouin houses then I would be extremely disappointed. I'll definitely talk to the tour rep when I arrive in Jordan in November. Thanks for the tip.
Axel2DP is offline  
Oct 16th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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Axel, we were not in love with the Jordan part of our trip unfortunately. Our rep that met us at the airport was not wonderful - he breezed us through getting a visa, expected us to get our own bags (hey, I don't mind doing that but, one would of thought he would be helpful so he could get a tip) then as we got out the front of the airport quickly said "I have to go, here is Yousef, your guide... have a fun trip". I do not remember his name, but after the "quick" service I wouldn't of even bothered talking to him about it. I did speak to Ahmed our tour rep in Egypt and he said that Desert Horizons were the best company in Jordan.

Axel, we did drive about the desert but I probably didn't enjoy it as I was waiting for our 3rd "house" to appear on the horizon!

Another thing we were disappointed about was the discription of an "unforgettable night of entertainment". Not exactly true, I don't think. The waiters all started to dance (it looked very much likie Greek dancing) and the guests joined in which for me, made it less enjoyable. I wanted to see Jordanians doing "their thing" fabulously but with the tourists joining in, it wasn't magnificent at all. It was just like watching a bunch of hacks trying to work out how to dance.

I hope you enjoy your trip there... maybe I was just hot, tired and cranky and was not willing to have an open mind.
MissGreen is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 12:42 AM
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Your descriptioni of the "unforgettable night of entertainment" reminds me of my New Years Eve from hell in the Sinai Mountains. They are right - I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT NIGHT! The only ones enjoying it were the tourists that were too stoned (yes, I said stoned) to notice the unbearable generator induced music reverberating off the canyon walls so loud you couldn't think, much less talk to someone else there, and the, as you said, HACK Bellydancer - someone's sister obviously - as she sure was no professional - that was there to "entertain" us.
It was awful!
And those were just two of the horrible things that we endured that night. Nights in the desert are not always as charming as one might hope.
Probably those that were stoned had the right idea. HA!
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 11:39 PM
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Maybe I don't feel so bad about my desert trip on the Explore! tour now! I was disappointed that the jeep and camel rides didn't take in any of the T. E. Lawrence sights, but at least there were no "village" visits! And dinner was fine, with the entertainment provided by the group sitting round the camp fire chatting.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 07:00 AM
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Interesting about Jordan since I just did a 3wk mideast trip with 4 countries and Jordan was my least favorite even though Wadi Rum, Petra and the Dead Sea are fascinating, my local guides were not great and I didn't find the people as warm as in Syria and Oman.
moremiles is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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Ok, some of these postings are not giving me a very warm and fuzzy feeling for my upcoming Jordan trip, lol. Maybe it's good that I'll only have a week there and 3 of those days will be occupied by Petra.
Axel2DP is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:14 PM
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would those who have gone suggest skipping staying in Wadi Rum and after seeing the desert going on to Aqaba? We have one night before heading to Syria...we are taking the plane from Aqaba
r_e_e_n_i_e is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Wadi Rum is spectacular and if you don't mind the rustic conditions at the camp(or maybe there are much better ones than the one I saw) and you enjoy deserts, I would stay overnight.

Hope you love Syria as much as I did-my Jordanian agent even recommended spending more time there than in Jordan. The small boutique hotels are great also.
moremiles is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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thanks for your suggestions....we are working with Desert Horizons to book boutique hotels for us that were recommended on this site...such good ideas come from here
r_e_e_n_i_e is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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I stayed at 3 in Syria so if you want any further comments, feel free to ask!
moremiles is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 06:55 PM
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I recently returned from a week long trip to Jordan. I really enjoyed Jordan, but my time in Wadi Rum and the Jabal Rum camp was not a highlight of the trip.

I do plan to report more on the trip, but here's what I can tell you about my Wadi Rum experience.

I was on a private tour that I set up with Desert Horizons which has been mentioned on this forum a few times. I did request to go to Wadi Rum and spend a night at a camp in the desert. I was not sure that I would enjoy the camping experience, but I know that I can stay "anywhere" for a night and so I thought we'd give it a try.

We left Petra around noon and headed to Wadi Rum. We were booked for a 2 hour jeep tour and a night at the Jabal Rum camp. When we arrived we had a late lunch. There was a small buffet lunch and the selections were fine. I'm a fussy eater and not fond of Middle Eastern cuisine but at this buffet, and the few other tourist stop buffets we went to, I was always fine with the selection and did not go hungry.

Our DH rep suggested we extend our 2 hour tour to 3 hours so that we could see the sunset, and because if we came back to the camp there wouldn't be much for us to do anyway. We agreed to the additional fee (not a lot) and time. DH rep advised us on the way to Wadi Rum that our jeep tour was not an actual jeep but was a pick up truck and we would sit in the back.

We met our tour driver in the Jabal Rum lot. I was coming over from the bathroom and, in retrospect, I think it was intentional that our DH rep did not bring us over to greet the truck and driver. Another couple at the camp was going on a tour at the same time. Their vehicle was an actual jeep and for a second there I thought we were paired with them. Not so.

Our vehicle was the pickup with driver who did not speak much English, and who brought along his 9 year old son. The driver knew enough to say hello and say "welcome" (a word warmly and constantly used by Jordanians throughout our trip). We got in to the truck. It was shabby. I was not expecting luxury, but this was not what I expected. Unfortunately we did not know/realize/check right away to see that the seat cushion was not fastened to the seat (imagine that on a bumpy ride for 3 hours), the windows were dirty, the windows could not go down since the window crank is ripped from the door, and the boy sitting in the front seat would constantly put his seat back into the knees of my average height husband.

We drove along and stopped a few times and the driver would point things out to us. His English was limited. He could talk though, his cell phone - both of them - were ringing constantly throughout the ride (so yes there is a signal in the desert). That was annoying too. I don't need lots of tourguiding for a ride through a desert but I think some description or conversation would be helpful. The car would stop and we got one word descriptions "mushroom," "dune," "bridge."

DH rep asked beforehand if we would want to stop at a Bedouin tent for tea during the ride. I said it would be fine. Well, we stopped within 15 minutes at the first tent! We had some tea, the man in the ten talked with driver then played his string instrument. They had trinkets on a table that I didn't bother to look at. We gave a generous tip and left.

Then at the bridge stop my husband climbed but I didn't feel up for it so I just waited to take pictures. Driver was on the phone for a while, and then dozed off lying in the sand. We were at that stop for about 20 minutes

We left and went to another bridge for a shorter time.

I think it was after this that we stopped by a second tent. We got out of the truck and the driver pointed out some carvings and then went to the tent. I had no need for tea or trinkets so we walked in the opposite direction and looked around and took pictures. About 10 minutes later or so the driver came back and we drove some more.

Then about 6:05 or so we stopped at a place to see the sunset. The driver wrote 620 in the sand and then pointed, so we understood. So we're just hanging outside and then 2 minutes later the driver walks over to us and points to his son's feet and says "Shoes. I go. You wait."

Translation: the boy left his shoes at one of the tent stops. Driver wanted to go get them. Driver wanted us to wait where we were, in the desert, where the sun will be going down in the next few minutes.

I like to think I'm fearless traveler, but I guess I'm not. There was no way I would have this man leave us in the desert where nobody but he knows where we are so he can go get his son's shoes. And while we have paid for this tour and his time.

So I say NO. I said we would go together. He understood. Next thing I know he's on his cell phone and a few minutes later Zappos comes over with the boy's shoes.

The sun goes down, we hang out a bit more and then driver brings us back to camp. The DH rep is in the lot when we get back, we still tip the guide and proceed to our tent.

I can expand more about the conversation, make that the conversationS with DH rep, but will not get in to that here. Suffice it for now to say that we said it was not what we expected and we were disappointed. I pointed out the conditions of the truck and told him about the situation with the boy's shoes. So the tent stops are annoying, maybe there would have been more than 2 if we actually came within 20 feet of the 2nd tent, but that's the least of my complaint.

In sum, sure it's nice to see the desert, but our experience made Wadi Rum seem less than we expected it to be.

Getting back to Jabal Rum. The camp was better and more comfortable than I thought it would be. We were in a tent that was about 8x8 with 2 cot beds. I pushed the beds so they were right next to each other with the support pole in between. I tied the bag in important stuff around the poll so it was between us when we slept. The sheets and towel provided were clean. There is a lightbulb in the tent.

The communal bathrooms were not bad. Not great, but I've seen public bathrooms in worse shape. For one night I opted not to take a shower, but if I stayed 2 nights I would probably be OK with the facilities. I recall 6 sinks, 6 toilets and 5 shower, more or less. We did not get the odors described above. (Miss Green - we were in Jordan the same time, maybe we crossed paths.)

There are some deluxe tents that are more like suites with space for seating and an attached private bathroom.

The food at dinner was OK. There is a communal area with low table and benches set up. Our camp had about 80 people or so that night. It was mostly 2 groups of younger people (late teen to 20 something). I later learned that one group was only there for the night, but not sleeping - they left after midnight I think. The entertainment for the night was underway as soon as we returned from the tour - that is blaring dance music.

I was told later in the evening there would be some folk dancing by the camp staff. It kind of happened but I think got interrupted by the kids dancing too.

If I was looking for peace in the Middle East, it was not to be found at the Jabal Rum camp. The dance music and sounds of the partying crowd carried on well past 1 am. There were still people carrying on after 3am when we woke up.

In the morning the breakfast buffet includes vegetables, bread and hard boiled eggs.

I don't know that the camp atmosphere is always like this, maybe it depends on what group(s) are booked at the camp. I noticed one other lonely group of 2 like us. All the other were part of bigger or smaller groups. Otherwise it may have been nice to socialize with some of the others but it just wasn't conducive to that.

I don't regret the night of camping in Wadi Rum, but it was far from being a positive, wonderful memory.

I hope to post more of trip report before too long, but if anyone has any questions about Wadi Rum or Jordan, please let me know.
hamlet is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 01:24 AM
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Hamlet... I loved the story. I am giggling as your experiences on the desert tour sound so much like mine! It definitely wasn't me tootling off in the deluxe jeep whilst you had the old pick up ute! I get a feeling that I may of had the same driver as you as my driver spoke endlessly on his phone and had one word "descriptions"!

We too saw deluxe jeeps as we bumped along in our old jalopy! At least your "bedouins" got a tip from you. I had no money.

I was a bit annoyed when I saw those 'deluxe' tents. Actually, I was really, really annoyed. When I booked with Lady Egypt I stipulated my love of 5 star (lol) and expressed my "concern" with camping. I was not given a choice to hire/pay for one of these tents.

We had no issue with our guide, he was actually a bit concerned that we were not happy. He tried hard and was pleasant and perhaps it wasn't his fault. One other couple that asked if they could sit near us were having a few more troubles (I saw a staff member pick up their camera that was on a bench when nobody was around except me and hubby - and I suggested they wait for their guide and have their guide ask for it). This couples guide had "gone somewhere" and I could hear them on the phone with him asking him when he'd be coming back. Then later I would hear them phoning their guide at about 10 pm and again asking when he would be back as they had no idea where they were sleeping. At least our guide questioned us about our evening and if we were happy.
MissGreen is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 05:15 AM
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Do you think it would be better to ask DH to drop you off at the Visitor Center and then you can try for one of the dessert trip arranged at the center instead of the one by DH itself ?

For myself I'm not really concern about not having a luxury jeep. I do, however, want to see as much of the dessert as possible since I like doing photography. Were you guys happy with what you saw in the dessert? I think I'll decline any invitations to visit Boudoin tent for tea though. Thanks for that tip!

Are there taxi/ driver around the campsite itself? I think I have a few hours in the morning to kill before I depart, and I think I might want to go back to the Visitor Center in the early morning and take in the view of the 7 pillars. You think that would be possible to arrange with someone at the camp, or maybe I should have a talk with the DH guide at WR?
Axel2DP is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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Just returned from Jordan yesterday, so my thoughts are still rolling around in my head, but I need to put some things in writing now.

Our tour was organized by Desert Horizons and was excellent with the exception of Wadi Rum and Jabal Rum Camp. We have camped extensively during 38 years of marriage and have spent more nights on the ground than in hotels, so our expectations were not high. To say they were not met is an understatement.

Our "two hour jeep ride" was a one hour twenty minute buzz through the sand with our "bedouin guide" in the back of a Toyota pickup, which included a bathroom break of 5 minutes or so when he disappeared around a rock. When I said something to our tour rep. he suggested the "guide" might have been in a hurry to get back and take another tour. Quite the capitalist he is! Our rep. said he would talk to him and came back offering to "make it up" by giving us a morning sunrise ride. We declined.

When we returned to the camp we were greeted by music at ear-splitting decibels. When we asked about it we were told they were "tuning" the system for the evening program. This went on for two hours, so we complained again more vigorously this time and they reluctantly turned it down. We tried to explain we were not trying to dictate the program, but we were sold this part of our tour on the tranquility aspect and we were woefully disappointed by the failure to deliver.

At about 5:30 p.m. a group of about 30 teenage boys and 3-4 leaders arrived from Amman. We were told they were some type of junior military group. They marched around the camp shouting and yelling and generally disturbing the peace. After supper they moved to their tents, but the din continued unabated to about 3:00 a.m. Did I say anything about the promised tranquility of the desert?

The evening performance amounted to the wait staff dancing around a small fire for about fifteen minutes. They were joined by some campers and all of the young men from Amman. Not exactly what we expected!

In closing, I would not recommend Jabal Rum Camp to anyone. I think previous posters who suggest doing your own tour of this area makes more sense.
gpotvin is offline  

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