Hello! My name is Zedane and I am a Bedouin. Wadi Rum, the magnificent desert in the south of Jordan, is home to my tribe the Heuwaitat for thousands of years. If you are looking for a journey into the desert with a difference, then we can surely help you. We specialize in taking you off the beaten track. In this land you can walk in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia and our ancestors.
You can trek in the grandeur of the landscape, or relax in the shade of a spring. You can scramble through canyons, take it all in from the back of our Jeep, or travel as we would have on a camel. If you don't have time to experience "desert time" then we can also show you all the highlights of Wadi Rum in a sandstorm of a tour.
There is nothing we love more than to share the majestic beauty of our home, Wadi Rum with guests from all over the world.
We can host you for the night in our camp in the protected area, with all the amenities (shower, toilets, Bedouin tents, beds, blankets etc). Or if you are feeling intrepid then we can host you in the wilderness under the stars in a Bedouin cave.
I cannot describe to you how it feels to be in out in the desert, you are surrounded by all that is natural. You can have a taste of a simple life, a life that does not need luxuries but can exist at one with the environment. For us our nomadic life is one of freedom and the senses, we can listen to the wind, see the stars shining, taste food cooked in the fire and we can touch the shifting sand under our feet.
I hope you will join us on one of our tours to experience all this for yourself.
Before the tourists came... In my words, memories from my father and grandfather.
The Bedouin didn't know anything about tourists and stayed in the desert the whole time. There were no villages, just tents that they would move when they needed to. The Bedouin at this time made their living from Sheep, Goats and Camels. There were no borders, all the Bedouin were the same. They weren't from Saudi or Jordan, they were just Bedouin's. As there were no borders they were able to travel long distances and trade along the way. At this time there was more rain, and less people. They would build dams in the canyons to catch the water when it came. In the summer they would have a good place to live and then they would change to a different place for the winter. When we moved we used camels and ourselves, not cars like today, this time was before cars.
The life was a hard life, but a good life.
There was not many people and the people here were just Bedouin people. There was lots of rabbits, mountain goats and Orynx, so people could hunt more easily for food. There was also more Wolves and Hyenas at this time.
The wolves were not dangerous as they were afraid of the Bedouin, but the Hyenas were more dangerous. If they found you asleep on the ground they would dig a big hole under you until you fell down inside the hole, then they would eat you.
If people were sick they would go to an old man or woman who would make medicine from the plants and trees, that grew here. If this didn't work then they would make an object hot in the fire and put this on the body. Likewise the old women would deliver babies. When a boy was born then the family would kill a sheep and everybody would come together and celebrate. If the baby was a girl then they would still be happy but the celebration 'ceremony' was a little bit different.
When a young man wanted to get married, in those days it was not normal to marry with love. The young man would go to the girls father and talk (he would also bring his mother ands father with him). They would say to the father of the girl, I need your daughter. Some fathers would then ask for camels or money, but some fathers wouldn't. They would just want to be sure that their daughters were going to be treated well, and that was enough for them. They would then get married one these things were agreed, but the girl would not know the man before. Sometimes it would be a good marriage, and sometimes not. It was a matter of luck.
When people got married all the Bedouin from all around would come. They would hear the news that there was going to be a wedding (no mobile phones then). They would come together to enjoy each others company and to make music. At that time the weddings lasted for a week. Now it is more like two or three days. People would have traveled a long way for the wedding, so that is why it lasted so long. But people didn't just come and eat and be waited on. Everybody would bring something (like food, or coffee, etc) and they would all work together to cook, clean and to make the party. When it was evening 12 - 14 men would stand in a line and sing and clap. They wouldn't have lutes or drums. Then 3 - 4 women would dance.
In those days there was no police. We did have laws though. So if somebody did something wrong, for example stole some sheep from somebody else, then the person who was robbed would send people to see the robber, and invite them to go to an old man who would help them to resolve the problem. They would invite the robber three times and if he wouldn't come, then the person who was robbed would be free to do what he liked, in retaliation.
Now the Bedouin are very different, not many live in the desert the whole time now. They all go to the village because the rain doesn't come as much and there is not enough plants for all the livestock. Now the water comes to a village in a pipe. Even the Bedouin that do live in the desert now have cars. Now we still keep camels but we keep them for the tourists and we buy food for them to eat. People also moved to the village for the school.
Life is different now. We stay in the village and work with tourists. It is a good life though. We still keep our sheep and goats but we don't keep so many, just enough for our own use and if we have guests. People now live in houses and have a tent near each house. Everyone also has a camel for tourists.
So what else... to be continued when you visit Wadi Rum.
Post: P.O. Box 1008, Aqaba, Jordan
Phone: +962 (0)77 6108771
Cellphone: +962 (0)79 5506417
Fax: +962 (0)3 2032607
Contact : Zidane Al Zalabieh