Sean Chinn takes a break from diving in Aqaba, Jordan to spend a day in the desert…
Wadi Rum is a protected desert wilderness covering 278 square miles. It’s a vast wilderness featuring dramatic sandstone mountains, roughly an hour’s drive from Aqaba. Wadi Rum is a perfect destination to add to any dive trip while visiting Aqaba, Jordan.
Our transport of choice for our day in the desert was a selection of 4WD pick-up trucks with makeshift but comfortable bench seating in the back for an open air adventure. It really was as fun as it looked as we sped and bounced our way through the sandy, uneven terrain. The vast landscape really took my breath away as we made our way past the sandstone mountains that towered above. We made a quick stop along the way to take a short walk up a sandy hill to gain a panoramic view of the dramatic landscape. The views were reminiscent of the pictures you see of the surface of Mars and this is one of the reasons numerous film directors have used this location to represent Mars in films.
We stopped to sample tea made in a traditional way by the Bedouin who have called this place home for many years. Now you might think being an English bloke I might be partial to a cup of tea or two; however, I’m really not a big tea drinker but I have to say the tea here was really tasty and something I could get used to.
After another short jeep ride we reached our lunch destination. Rahayeb Desert Camp was beautifully laid out with the decor being quintessentially Arabic. It is a luxury tented camp that allows guests the option to stay overnight. Unfortunately my trip was only a day trip but I will be back to enjoy the night sky in the desert with an overnight stay.
Our lunch was a delicious treasure of the Bedouin culture. Zarb is the process of cooking the food underground in earth ovens. The food is cooked on a barbecue rack inside a metal oven casing placed in a pit in the ground. A metal cover is placed on top and it’s covered in a blanket to stop the sand that is placed over the top getting onto the food. The food was truly flavoursome and plentiful, leaving me comfortably full.
Our last adventure of an amazing day came courtesy of a camelback ride into the sunset. It wasn’t completely as glamorous as it might sound. I nearly went headfirst over the front as the camel stood up and I must remember to stretch next time I get on one. My legs were starting to feel it a bit as I’ve never been the most flexible of people. It was, however, completely worth it. The camels had a great character about them with mischievous personalities and taking a slow walk with them, while admiring the stunning sunset, topped off a great day.
I’ll be back!!