Travelling around Wadi Rum by camel is highly recommended. Apart from being ecologically sound, it enables you to experience Wadi Rum as the Bedouin have for centuries and to appreciate the silent gravitas of the desert. That said, a ride of more than about four hours will leave you sore in places you never knew existed.
Rates for camel-trekking excursions are fixed and listed on a board outside the excursion office in the visitor centre. The prices are per person. You’ll enjoy your ride much more if you ride yourself rather than being led. This will cost a bit more as you need to pay for your guide’s camel, but it’s well worth the extra cost.
You can easily add on an overnight stay at a Bedouin camp (ask at the visitor centre when booking your camel). If you want to return by 4WD, then you have to pay the price of returning the camel to where you collected it from. If you have a lot of gear, it’s better to hire an additional camel (at the same rate) to bear the load. It is also possible to arrange longer camel excursions from Wadi Rum to Aqaba (three to six nights depending on the route); or towards Wadi Musa (for Petra; about five nights).
The camel is no longer a common form of transport for Bedouin; most now prefer the ubiquitous pick-up truck – in fact, it’s not unusual to see a Bedouin transporting a prized camel in the back of a Toyota. These grumpy but loyal animals, however, are still very much part of the Bedouin culture, and camel races are held weekly in winter, generally on a Friday, at the camel track near Diseh. Ask at the visitor centre for details.
Camel Treks around Wadi Rum
Camel routes are sorted into two circuits for operational purposes. Camel excursions normally begin from Rum village and distances are measured from the Rest House. Prices rise with the price of fodder, and the routes on offer change from time to time.