Best Wadi Rum Desert Camps for Families

When we speak to anyone about Jordan there’s a consensus that nothing beats the Lost City of Petra for the “wow factor”, but there’s great agreement that visiting Wadi Rum was the most moving and enjoyable family experience in Jordan.

OK, the idea of spending a night in a tent in the middle of the desert we KNOW isn’t to everyone’s taste; but even the most ardent of luxury resort fans can be wooed by the magic of Wadi Rum and tempted to make it an overnight experience of a lifetime.

So is there a family-friendly way to tackle Wadi Rum? Absolutely!

The Bedouins of Wadi Rum are strongly family-orientated people and understand the needs of their family visitors to Wadi Rum. It should come as no surprise that many of the Bedouin camps, both within the desert and nearby Disseh (or Disi), are very family-friendly.

We will take a deep dive in this post into exactly what to expect on a Wadi Rum Tour & overnight desert camp, along with our top 8 recommended camps with families (You can jump straight to camp recommendations here).

This post is part of our Jordan with Kids Series – You can catch all our Jordan family travel advice here

Facts to know before planning a trip to Wadi Rum

Before we jump into the details, here are a few facts to understand more about Wadi Rum in Jordan and help your planning.

Where is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is located in the south of Jordan. It is about a 3-hour drive South of Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) in Amman down the Desert Highway or an hour north of King Hussein International Airport (AQJ) in Aqaba.

You can access Wadi Rum in under 2 hours from Wadi Musa/Petra.

What is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is a protected nature reserve, also known as Valley of the Moon, covering over 720 square kilometres of desert wilderness close to the Saudi border.

Wadi Rum has had many occupants over the centuries, from the Nabateans through to the well-known adventures of British officer T E Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia – in the Arab Revolt of the early 20th century.  

Each occupant of the land has left its mark on the vast desert scape of Wadi Rum, notable for its giant sandstone and granite hills that envelope the sandy plains beneath. There are many fascinating rock formations, natural bridges, siqs (narrow gorges), giant sand dunes to explore, and a structure left from the days of Lawrence of Arabia.

How do visits to Wadi Rum work?

A UNESCO world heritage site since 2011, only native Bedouin are licensed to take tours and accommodate overnight visitors. This helps regulate the tourism industry, protecting the precious desert environment by limiting daily numbers and ensuring the livelihoods of the local Bedouins.

There are vast craggy mountains to explore in Wadi Rum, popular with rock climbing enthusiasts and mountain trekkers who will come to spend several days in the desert.  However, the vast majority of visitors are overnight tourists who have come for a desert taster experience, including Bedouin camp.

Car in Wadi Rum desert

You can come simply for a day tour on your way between Petra, Aqaba or Amman. Given the long driving distances involved, staying overnight should be an absolute MUST!

All international visitors to Wadi Rum over 12 years old must pay an entrance fee of 5JOD ($7USD) at the Wadi Rum Visitor Centre – included if you have a Jordan Pass – regardless of whether you are a day visitor or overnighter. This is separate from any fees you pay for camping, to your tour guide or any extra services such as camel rides you may partake in.

If you’ve pre-booked your tour, then you’ll either meet your driver here or proceed to Rum Village to find your guide, as instructed.

You will not need to hire a 4WD to visit Wadi Rum. You can either drive straight to your camp if staying in Disseh or park in Rum Village and transfer to a jeep for the deeper desert camps inside the protected area.

  • Self-Driving in Jordan? Make sure you check out our Jordan driving tips before you set out. We cover everything from rental car expectations to the official and unofficial road rules in Jordan.

Is there a best time to visit Wadi Rum?

The ideal time to visit Wadi Rum, like most of Jordan, is the Spring and Autumn.

Summers are surprisingly not too hot even though it is desert; you will find Wadi Rum is cooler than Aqaba and the Dead Sea. Mid-July, you should expect daytime highs in Wadi Rum around 34°C/93°F, with maximum temperatures up to 40°C/104°F. At night temperatures drop on average 10°C.

In winters, you can expect daily highs in the desert of only 10 to 15°C, and overnight temperatures down to zero/32°F. Plenty of blankets will be provided by your hosts, but we know this is below some people’s threshold for camping with kids!

A typical Bedouin. The thick-woven goat’s hair is designed to keep you warm

What to expect on a Wadi Rum Tour

You have a few options when it comes to tours of Wadi Rum. Assuming you plan to stay overnight, they will likely be included by your host along with your accommodation. This is the case if you are staying within the protected area.

Alternatively, you pay for your accommodation and then arrange an optional desert itinerary with your hosts separately. Check this in the fine print when booking, so you know what exactly you’re getting for your money.

There are day trip only options too, but we will cover this and more on the important sights to explore in Wadi Rum in a separate post. Some of the highlights you may want to include:

  • A stop at Lawrence Spring for scrambling and a camel ride
  • Khazali Canyon and Anfishiyyeh to see ancient inscriptions
  • Um Fruth rock bridge for an epic photo moment
  • Lawrence House steeped in history
  • Sand Dunes for sandboarding
  • Watch the sunset
  • You may also want to include the new interactive experience Journey Through 1916 in your Wadi Rum experience with the Jordan Heritage Revival Company. A re-enactment of the Arab revolt against the Ottomans, probably better for your older travellers, but a thrilling train ride experience through the desert like no other!
Wadi Rum Sunset

What to expect at a Wadi Rum overnight camp

Every camp is set up slightly differently, but here are some pointers to look out for in choosing a camp:

  • How big are the tents – can they house all of your family in one tent?
  • How large is the whole camp? Will it be you alone or lots of small groups, or is it more designed for larger tour groups and evening parties?
  • What are the bathroom and hygiene facilities?
  • Are you looking for luxury glamping (think gorgeous Wadi Rum bubble hotels with everything from pools to domed star-gazing roofs, ensuites and all the mod-cons) or rustic and remote in the actual Wadi Rum desert?
  • What direction does the camp face? You want to catch one of those magical sunsets you want to be west facing.

When booking for a family, check what discounts are offered for children. You will still need to book enough beds for everyone, but your price may be discounted depending on the children’s ages.

Note that many camps are, in fact, in Disseh, not within the protected desert reserve. See the map below for camp locations.

Our favourite family camps at Wadi Rum

So on to the important stuff, exactly who should you trust for your Jordan tour and overnight camping experience?

As well as our own experience, we asked several avid travellers from our Middle East Family Travel community to share their favourite Wadi Rum experiences with kids and what made them so special.

Our Top 7 recommended family camps in Wadi Rum are:

We have also provided details on how these can be booked. We know a lot of you like the comfort of booking through the likes of Booking.Com for surety in what you’re getting. We’ve also linked to a price comparison site so you can see what other offers are available. You can, of course, enquire with the camps directly.

A typical Wadi Rum desert camp

Obeid’s Bedouin Life Camp

Suggested by Nicky from Go Live Young – Mum of three teenage boys

Obeid’s Bedouin Life Camp is a traditional Bedouin Camp in the very heart of Wadi Rum. This camp is for you if you want to experience true Bedouin hospitality in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. The camp is owned and run by Obeid Naser Alamamreh, an experienced desert guide holding the licence of the Wadi Rum Protected Area Authority, and his sons.

Obeids Desert Camp Wadi Rum

The camp set up at Obeid’s Bedouin Life Camp

The black Bedouin tents, arranged in a rectangle, are basic but comfortable, with all you need for an overnight stay. Bathroom facilities, including hot showers, are shared. There are a variety of different sized rooms, from doubles, to triples and even family rooms for five or six. There is solar power in your tent in order to light your room, but there is nothing to charge your phone!

The communal dining tent is a place to drink tea, chat with the other guests, and eat meals. The evening meal cooked traditionally underground in a charcoal-filled pit dug into the desert sand was particularly memorable. Don’t miss the desert sky at night – absolutely incredible.

Desert activities with Obeid’s Bedouin Camp

The camp arranges all your desert activities. We experienced a three-hour jeep safari taking in many of the main desert sights, a camel safari ride for sunset and a desert hike to a nearby siq (rocky canyon). All these activities were just our family and a guide, although we did meet up with other people to watch the sunset on a nearby dune.

Nicky and family from Go Live Young Wadi Rum desert
Nicky and family enjoying their Wadi Rum experience

Obeid’s Bedouin Life Camp is the perfect place for families to stay within Wadi Rum if you are looking to avoid the tourist crowd. This relatively small camp has a wonderful location near the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and friendly hosts who will make you very welcome. Everyone should experience a night in the Wadi Rum desert while in Jordan.

How to book your experience with Obeid’s Bedouin Camp

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Suggested by Keri from Our Globetrotters – mum of three from toddler to school age

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp provides families with a seamless service from start to finish for an unforgettable Wadi Rum desert experience, and truly changed the way we looked at camping in the Middle East!

The camp set up for Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

The camp set up at Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

There are 11 traditional Bedouin tents in the camp, ranging from a family-sized offering with a double and three singles down to twin rooms. Rooms are basic, but warm and cosy. There is solar power lighting but no charging plugs (pack spare batteries!)

The bathrooms are clean, tiled and fully plumbed. It’s shared facilities but with such a small camp, we experienced no queuing or awkardness. You will need a flashlight of some sort for late night toilet trips though!

A traditional zarb is served for dinner in the communal tent which is toasty warm in the evening with a central fireplace. They invite you to come and see how the food is cooked which was a great learning experience for the kids. Followed by what felt like endless hours of stargazing at some of the most beautiful and vast skies we have ever seen.

As for the comfort of the sleep, I can honestly say one of the deepest, most comfortable sleeps of my life, all camping fears allayed!

Wadi Rum natural bridge
Wadi Rum Natural Bridge with Our Globetrotters

Desert activities with Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

As we arrived quite early in the day, we parked our car at our host Mohammed’s home and jumped straight into a jeep for a full-day tour of Wadi Rum. His brother was our driver for the day taking us across the desert highlights, constantly checking the kids were OK in the back and adjusting our schedule based on how tired or hungry the kids were.

We had our own jeep the whole time and only met the other guests at dinner. The following day you do share cars back to Rum Village which after circling the desert for hours, is actually remarkably nearby!

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp - family accommodation recommendation
Morning sunrise over Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Without a doubt one of our best ever family days out. The kids loved even the smallest things from watching small insects to discovering the ancient petroglyphs and trying their hands and legs at the giant dunes. Scrambling, climbing and learning before a glorious sunset, and sleeping so well, it was a dream day!

How to book your experience with Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp

Suggested by Kevin from Wandering Wagars – dad of two young boys

Wadi Rum glamping was one of the highlights of our time in Jordan. We spent one night at the Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp in the Wadi Rum reserve, and it was magical. If I was to return I wouldn’t hesitate to spend two or even three nights experiencing this beautiful area of the country with my family.

Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp
Watching the sunset at Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp

The camp set up at Wadi Rum Night LuxuryCamp

Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp has two types of accommodations. Traditional Bedouin-style tents, and modern inflatable globe-style rooms that are perfect for watching the skies. We chose a Bedouin-style tent since the weather was so absolutely perfect that we wanted to spend our nights lying by the fireside and watching the skies while laying on mats.

Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp has three different styles of tents. King, Twin, which includes a Queen bed and a single, and a Triple Luxury Tent which has a Queen and two single beds. The accommodations are beautiful, and the beds are among the most comfortable I have ever slept on.

The camp features a communal bathroom and shower facility. And the facilities are excellent. The stone-tiled bathroom and spacious shower facilities are on-par with some of the best hotels we stayed at in Jordan.

There is also a communal lounge area with air conditioning, couches, and tables. It’s the only area with a/c in the camp, so it’s a popular spot for visitors that aren’t on excursions when the sun is still up. There is also a communal eating area where the absolutely delicious Bedouin meals are served. Expect dinners of meat, potatoes, and vegetables cooked for hours in underground pits.

Desert activities with Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp

Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp offers most of the tours that are popular for visitors to the reserve. We took part in a jeep tour, sunset hike, and a camel ride. And every one of them was spectacular. Sunsets in Wadi Rum are particularly amazing. The red rocks and sand of the desert are set ablaze by the setting sun.

How to book your experience with Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp

Rum Magic Camp

Suggested by Lindsay from Step into Jordan – mum of two school-aged boys

Rum Magic Camp has undergone a huge expansion since I first visited with my kids in 2017. They have a range of facilities from basic tents (with up to 3 twin beds) and shared washroom facilities to luxury panoramic window tents with queen beds and shower facilities. These luxury tents offer heat and air conditioning, which is really nice in the summer AND the winter!

Wadi Rum Magic Camp

Rum Magic camp is known for its excellent food and you will often see groups that come in just for a meal and entertainment before continuing on their day tours. The camp serves a variety of drinks including water, tea pop and even beer (this is new!). You can also have shisha.

Desert tours and added activities with Rum Magic Camp

You can book a jeep tour or camel ride from the camp, and you can also take a short walk to a nearby hill to watch the sunset.

Rum Magic camp is great for families because of its evening dance party with lights and music. The kids love watching the locals dancing and love joining in themselves. Whether you have toddlers or teens, they will enjoy the camp. I did not find the music annoying in the evening as the sound did not travel to the sleeping areas. They also do not keep it going too late.

Rum Magic Camp Location

Rum Magic is located in Disseh and you can drive to the camp. You do not need a 4×4 vehicle. Just make sure you check-in at the visitor’s centre before you go into Disseh. 

How to book your experience with Rum Magic Camp

Wadi Rum Bedouin Tour with a Camp

Suggested by Kyla from where is the world – mum of two young girls

Wadi Rum Bedouin Tour With A Camp is a small, family-run camp in the middle of the Wadi Rum Desert Reserve. We booked our accommodation with, and then purchased a package directly through the Camp that included a private afternoon jeep tour through the Wadi Rum Desert as well as snacks, dinner and breakfast (meals were communal).

Wadi Rum Bedouin Tour with a Camp

The camp set up at Wadi Rum Bedouin Tour with a Camp

The camp houses 11 tents; 9 double tents, one triple and one quad. Each tent is raised on stilts above the desert and made of dyed goat hair in the traditional style. Inside was quite basic, with single beds laid out around the outside of the room and a large mat in the middle. There’s even room in the middle for a pack and play if needed. I truly think this experience could be done with kids of any age, from baby to teenager. 

Everything else in the camp was communal. There’s a bathroom located a short walk from the sleeping tents, with bathroom stalls (and normal flushing toilets) and a solar-heated shower. The shower was great upon return from a dusty desert drive, but being solar heated it wasn’t hot for a morning shower. There was so much sand to play in it seemed like a shower for the kids was a losing battle anyways, so it wasn’t worth using up the hot water or suffering a cold shower.

Inside the communal tent at Wadi Rum Bedouin Tour with a Camp

There were two communal tents to relax in. The first was set around a large fireplace where everyone relaxed (and enjoyed a Hookah) before dinner. The second was the dining tent where we ate our meals. The dining tent was quite large and had lots of space for the kids to play games and read during the hottest hours of the afternoon. Snacks and tea were always available, and our hosts did everything possible to ensure we were comfortable. 

Dinner was a giant feast of meat, potatoes and veggies that had been cooking in a pot buried in the sand for most of the day. It was delicious and was the perfect ending to a day exploring the desert. The only downside for the kids was how late dinner was served. I’d highly recommend bringing along a few extra snacks to keep little bellies happy until dinner time. 

Our hosts were incredibly helpful and welcoming. They drove the guests to and from the Wadi Rum visitor center and arranged ongoing transportation for those who needed it. We loved listening to their stories around the fireplace before dinner, learning about life in the desert and how it’s changed. They truly wanted us to have a wonderful visit and did everything possible to ensure our stay was perfect. 

How to book your experience with Wadi Rum Desert Tour with a Camp

Rahayeb Desert Camp

Suggested by Catherine from Carful of Kids mum of three school-aged kids

Located in the Wadi Rum Protected Area, the Rahayeb Desert Camp is set among rock formations for protection from the desert winds. This camp caters to families with several family suites, each with two bedrooms and an attached bathroom.

Glamping at Rahayeb Desert Camp

You will find a range of tent options like travelers tents that use a bathhouse with facilities for women and men. Each bathhouse is clean and well kept.

For couples, the deluxe tents offer one room with an attached bathroom with a shower. All tents are steps from two different dining tents. You will also find ample space for an evening fire.

What to Eat at Rahayeb Desert Camp

During my stay, I enjoyed a Zarb, the traditional underground Bedouin barbecue. It starts with a rack holding chicken, lamb, and vegetables. Placed underground, the coals slowly roast the food and the juices flavor the vegetables.

Along with roasted lamb and chicken, the chefs at Rahayeb Desert Camp serve a mezze of hummus, fattoush (bread salad) and babba ghanoush.

Of course, the Bedouins end every meal with Arabic coffee or mint tea along with dessert, usually baklava. Then be dazzled by the constellations overhead or enjoy some traditional music and dancing.

Desert activities with Rahayeb Desert Camp

Rahayeb Desert Camp arranges 4×4 tours, camel tours, hot air balloon rides and collects guests at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center for their stay.

After glamping at Rahayeb Desert Camp, wake before dawn to meet a camel caravan. Travel like the Bedouins have for 10,000 years on the back of a camel.

Climb into a traditional saddle and hold on as your camel leans forward then leans back to stand up. More gentle than a horse, camels glide across the desert sand. Ride across the soundless desert and watch the world awake as the sun peaks above the horizon.

Hop into the back of the Toyota Hilux 4×4 to explore the same sand that people have explored for thousands of years. Veering off the main road, the truck tracks vanish into the sand where the sand swallows everything in its path, including time. Scale to the top of a dude then ski down the backside as the sun glows in the afternoon sun.

How to book your experience with Rahayeb Desert Camp

Sun City Camp

Suggested by Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes – mum of two primary school-aged kids

Sun City Camp is a spectacular tented camp located in the middle of Wadi Rum Desert. It has 4 different tent styles with 30 traditional Bedouin tents, 8 royal tents, 2 family suites and (my favourite) 20 “Martian Domes”.

Wadi Rum Sun City Camp
Wadi Rum Sun City Camp

Camp set up at Sun City Camp

All the tents come with a private bathroom and shower, outdoor seating area, 24-hour electricity and hot water. The Martian Domes also have air conditioning / heating and the ability to stargaze to your heart’s content from the comfort of your room. The domes can accommodate 2 extra beds on request.

It makes it a bit snug so the family suites are a good alternative for families needing a bit more space.

Meals are communal and are as much of an experience as the rooms are themselves. Buried in the ground to cook, the food for dinner (a whole cooked lamb called “Zarb”) is dug up before being served and guest are invited to watch the spectacle. All the food served is traditional Middle Eastern fare so our small kids did struggle a little as they were at quite picky ages when we stayed there. Breakfast is also communal but less controversial as far as young palates go.

Desert activities with Sun City Camp

We booked our stay at Sun City Camp through a tour agent as part of a larger trip through Jordan so we did not do anything extra there but they also offer a variety of activities such as jeep tours, camel rides and hot air ballooning.

Notwithstanding the caveats about food and a potentially cosy room set up, I would 100% recommend including Sun City Camp as part of any Jordanian itinerary. It is such an impressive place and made a striking impact on us.

How to book your experience with Sun City Camp

Hasan Zaiwadeh Camp

Suggested by Lindsay from Carpe Diem Our Way – mum of two young boys

Hasan Zaiwadeh Camp is one of the newer camps in Wadi Rum. It is located in Disseh and you can drive all the way to the camp. You do not need a 4×4 vehicle. Check-in at the Visitors Center first, and then it is just a few minutes drive to the camp. 

Hasan Zawaideh Camp inside teh bedroom tent

Hasan Zaiwadeh Camp is close to the train tracks, but there are only 1 or 2 trains a day, and they do not cause any nuisance, more so excitement for the kids!

This camp is designed to be a relaxing experience, not a party type camp. They make an excellent Zarb dinner and their staff are very welcoming and friendly. Their staff are friendly and welcoming and happy to sit and chat.

Sleeping arrangements at Hasan Zaiwadeh Camp

They offer basic tents, luxury tents and Martian bubble tents (these are NEW!). The luxury tents have heat, air conditioning and power outlets! They also have wifi at the camp and a huge communal tent to hang out in the cooler months.

I like that the camp is not huge, you are not constantly crossing the sand going to your tent and back!

Desert activities with Hasan Zaiwadeh Camp

Hasan Zaiwadeh camp has new 4×4 trucks and can arrange tours and camel rides from the camp. They also appear to offer sandboarding now, although I haven’t been there since this was offered! 

How to book your experience with Hasan Zaiwadeh Camp

With huge thanks to all the parents in our Family Travel Middle East community for sharing their experiences in so much detail. (NB note all of these reviews were provided pre-COVID, there may be change to camp offerings visiting in 2021 and beyond).

We hope this will help you decide which camp is the right one for your family.  And we are certain Wadi Rum will manage to steal a little bit of your heart like it did ours.

If you think there are some great family-friendly camps we are missing then please let us know! We’d love to include as many as possible to help other families plan their Jordan adventure.

Further Jordan reading

Before you go, don’t miss these Jordan travel planning tools and resources:

Jordan Guide Book

For a first-timer looking to visit Jordan, we can highly recommend you download the Step Into Jordan Guide & Itineraries.

This handy digital guide is just $19.99USD and includes:

  • An interactive downloadable map
  • 36 detailed pages of planning guidance
  • Multiple suggested itineraries (10, 7 and 3 days)
  • Tips from an expert
  • Accommodation recommendations

Plan your visit to a Wadi Rum desert camp. A detailed guide to the best camps when travelling with Children
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Family Travel Middle East
Family Travel Middle East

The Family Travel in the Middle East team of travel writers are all parents based in the Middle East, sharing first hand experiences and reviews from across the region to help you plan your next family adventure.

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