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So you're thinking of taking a trip to Jordan or you've already started planning your trip? First off, YAY - good choice! Me and my partner, Taylor, spent a week driving around Jordan and it quickly became one of our favourite ever countries. Here you can read my full one week itinerary for Jordan.
We spent one night in Wadi Rum desert at one of the desert camps and honestly, we wished we'd stayed another night, if our itinerary had allowed it then we definitely would have! It was the most exciting, thrilling but also relaxing and peaceful experience and (dare I say it), pretty romantic too!
However when we were looking into booking our trip, we quickly realised there were so many Wadi Rum desert camp options that we were a bit overwhelmed with choice. Which desert camps are reliable? Where is best to stay in Wadi Rum? Should we look at budget desert camps or luxury desert camps? What Wadi Rum desert excursions should we do? The questions went on and there were so many options that looking at forums and reviews didn't help since most of them were great!
So to help you navigate these questions and the huge selection to choose from, here are the things I learnt from our stay at Wadi Rum:
Which Wadi Rum desert camp is best?
The answer is, lots of them! We were worried some were not legit because there wasn't much information on some listings and a lot seemed to communicate via WhatsApp which is unusual. But once you start looking at the booking.com listings, most of the camps communicate via WhatsApp as standard - don't think that unusual, the Jordanian people are very friendly and welcoming and they want to personally be in contact with you and help arrange your stay.
Also the great thing about booking.com is the reviews. We always sort the list by "best review and price" to see what people love and what's reasonable. If something only has a couple of reviews we steer clear. If something has 8.0 out of 10 or over with hundreds of reviews then we trust it! Read those reviews, look what people are saying - both the positives and negatives, and decide if it's right for you.
Budget Wadi Rum camp or luxury Wadi Rum camp?
You've probably seen the photos of space-like pods with huge dome windows looking out to the desert. They are incredible and we did consider staying in one for the experience. However at upwards of 108JD (£119) per night, they are not the cheapest option. You will also need to book them far in advance as they are very popular! Alternatively we also saw options on booking.com as low as £10 per person, per night for a basic experience but with the incredible chance to sleep out under the stars.
Consider what your priority is for visiting the desert? Do you want to stay in luxury with a beautiful room view as if you're on Mars, with high-end catering, performances and additional luxury excursions? Or would you prefer to spend your money on excursions and eat buffet meals on camp with a cheaper sleeping option? Or do you want a real outdoors experience of just a sleeping bag under the stars?
Luxury Wadi Rum Desert Camps
Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp - breakfast and dinner included - from £220 per night, 2 people sharing
Wadi Rum UFO Luxotel - breakfast and dinner included - from £200 per night, 2 people sharing
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp - breakfast and dinner included - from £165 per night, 2 people sharing
Zeina Desert Lodge - breakfast and dinner included - from £99 per night, 2 people sharing
Budget Wadi Rum Desert Camps
Wadi Rum Legend Camp - from £19 per night, two people sharing
Candles Camp - from £18 per night, 2 people sharing
Panorama Wadi Rum - from £13 per night, 2 people sharing
Arabian Nights - from £30 pernight, 2 people sharing
Scroll down for the mid-range prices.
How much does it cost?
It is worth bearing in mind that the prices you see are just for your accommodation and transfer from Wadi Rum village. In most cases, your dinner and excursions will be an additional cost. So if you're planning to stay more than one night then factor in the additional costs of two dinners, two lunches etc.
We messaged the manager of the camps on WhatsApp first to find out what the prices of excursions were so we could make an informed decision. Not all listings include these prices so make sure you check what is and isn't included!
Another thing to note - TAKE CASH WITH YOU. Most camps do not take payment via booking.com and will take payment in person towards the end of your stay to include any excursions. Unless stated otherwise, assume they do NOT have credit/debit card facilities in the desert.
So which Wadi Rum desert camp did I pick?
We ultimately decided to stay at Wadi Rum Dream Camp. The reviews were extremely positive, particularly mentioning how helpful and welcoming Abdullah was -the manager of the camp who we spoke to on WhatsApp. The camp has been an established family business for 12 years and you could tell!
This was a low-to-mid-range Wadi Rum Camp at 25JD (£28) per person per night. This was the perfect choice for us as we decided a luxury room wasn't our priority, however we wanted a beautiful camp area to relax in, great food options and excursion options. Plus the great reviews convinced us.
Here is our full price break down:
25JD per person (50JD total) which included accommodation, buffet breakfast and transfer from Wadi Rum village
10JD per person for dinner (20JD total)
33JD for 2hr sunset jeep excursion
Total for two people = 103JD (£114)
Mid-price range Wadi Rum Camps
Wadi Rum Dream Camp - breakfast included, £56 per night, based on two people sharing
Hasan Zawaideh Camp - in the luxe space bubble style but more affordable! - from £45 per night, 2 people sharing
Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp - breakfast included, £55 per night, based on two people sharing
Beyond Wadi Rum Camp - £44 per night, two people sharing
How does it work?
Tickets - Wadi Rum is a protected area and entry to it is included in your Jordan Pass which I really recommend you buy for your visit to Jordan.
Where to go - Arrive at Wadi Rum Visitor Center either with your tour, by taxi or with your rental car (we hired a rental car in Jordan - you can read about driving in Jordan here).
The Visitors Center is a secure area for you to leave your vehicle overnight however do make sure you take all your belongings with you.
You should arrange your arrival time at the visitor center in advance with your camp as they will come and pick you up in a 4x4 vehicle. Alternatively if you have hired a 4x4 vehicle you can drive into the desert yourself, just make sure to let your camp know so they can send you directions - you must drive on designated areas through the desert which are not clear to visitors since it's all just sand!
Your camp will transfer you from the Visitor Center to the Desert Camp. This usually takes 10-15 minutes and the scenery is beautiful straight away!
Excursions - You may have arranged your excursions in advance however we just confirmed ours on arrival and a private jeep tour was booked at sunset just for us!
Once you arrive, just relax and enjoy the beautiful camps, the sweet tea and the silence of the desert!
Flights: I use Expedia to find great flights and the best deals all over the world, they have regular sales and offers so I always check their website. I also check CheapOair to find cheap deals on round trip flights.
Car Rental: I love the customer service I've always gotten and the variety of options with Rental Cars. But for short notice rentals, I've been using Expedia for the last year, they always seem to have great one-day rates or last-minute rates from the main rental companies.
Accommodation: I prefer the flexibility of booking accommodation with Booking.com so I can cancel or change my reservation without a fee or only pay on arrival for most properties. For longer or more unique stays I prefer AirBnB because you can get the long stay discount, you can also find more unique properties and book experiences with talented locals and businesses. For my budget trips, I always stay in hostels and book through Hostelworld because they have great guarantees if anything does go wrong. If you arrive and your booking is not at the property, they refund the full deposit AND give you $50 extra credit.
Tours and organised trips Although I don’t use tours that often, I do like to book local experiences or day trips once I reach my destination. For that I use GetYourGuide because it has the biggest selection and variety of tour and experience options.
Travel Insurance: I currently use SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. Which allows me to pay a rolling monthly fee to cover my long term travels.
My camera gear and equipment: I use a Canon 77D with an 18-135mm lens or a 50mm lens. And a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. For all my gear including laptops, tripods and more camera accessories read my travel photography gear guide.