My fiancé and I aren’t the hardcore outdoor type of people. Day nature trips are fine, just don’t ask us to get through the night outside. The last time I slept in a tent was when we camped in Oman some x years ago and I told myself then that that would be the last time I’m gonna do something like that. Being a woman, there are certain things that are too hard for me to do outside the comfort of a normal home/hotel – the presence of a proper toilet and bath to be exact. I swore I wouldn’t camp again but then again… Wadi Rum happened. How can I say no to the Valley of the Moon?! And when we booked our camp, I was in for a lot of surprises!
Spending almost the whole day in Petra was exhausting. Our driver picked us up from the ancient city and drove us to our camp while we doze off in tiredness. In a few hours, the scenery has changed and we were driving between vast empty areas with humongous rock formations. We transferred cars into a modified pick-up truck when we reached the Visitor Centre. From there, Mohammad Ali, a Bedouin, whisked us to a ride to the middle of nowhere.
We arrived at Rahayeb Desert Camp later on, a camp nestled between big rocks and a tall sand dune. As we enter, we easily familiarized ourselves with the camp facilities. There were two types of tents on our left– the normal ones in beige and the VIP tents in black and white.
Looking straight, there’s a fire pit in the middle with cushioned seats around it, and further, in an L-shape is the dining quarter/majlis tent. We were given welcome drinks i.e. herbal tea and we lounged by the majlis. Oh what comfort!
Our hosts took our bags to one of the black-and-white tents. We followed them to see these –
Real bed! Plus toilet and bath! With shower and a water closet! Hell yeah! This is our ideal camping! Haha! Although not as luxurious as glamping in other “glamp” sites, this is glamorous camping for us! No wonder it’s called a VIP tent! o.O But wait, there’s more! There’s electricity! Yes, yes, yes! But not until 5:00PM, when they shut down the power. It’s not hot and dark so why bother.
We returned to the majlis for another round of herbal tea and lounging and we rested until it was sunset.
Attempted to get a pretty view of the sunset but that costs an expensive camel ride to nowhere. That, or we trek for an hour or so. In the middle of nowhere. Where maps are useless… well almost. No landmarks or whatever. So we decided to just entertain ourselves with that little glimpse of sunset we have from where we were standing.
At around 7:30PM, our hosts called us for dinner. Our food was prepared the traditional Bedouin way, cooked from underground! All guests were gathered on one corner of the camp where our hosts lifted up a zerb, a type of oven, from a deep hole in the ground. In the zerb were layers of grilled chicken and lamb with veggies like carrots, onions and potatoes on the sides.
It was a feast shared by everyone. These were the tastiest dishes we’ve had in our entire trip, probably in our lifetime… so far – I kid you not. The veggies were tender and very delicious, too! We’ve been loyal guests to the buffet table as we kept on returning for a number of helpings. To say that we loved the dinner was an understatement!
After dinner, some guys gathered by the bonfire and sang. Some of them told stories. We chose to rest on our tent since the stars weren’t particularly out that night. We slept early but woken up around 1-ish when they turned off the electricity again. Some of our neighbors went to their tents a little late as we hear their footsteps brushing against the gravel bed.
From a well-rested night, we woke up at 5:30 in the morning to catch the sunrise that beautifully lit up the red desert. The darkened rocks where painted with hues of pink, yellow and orange as the sun goes up.
We returned to the camp for breakfast where we were served breads, jams, butter and cheese plus omelet. After a hearty meal, we proceeded to check out and off to a three-hour jeep tour! More on that on the next post!