A Little Inspiration… A Pastel Sunrise Over Wadi Rum

Last updated on January 22, 2023

The gentle vibrations from my iPhone slowly cut the last thin thread of dreams separating me from consciousness as I pulled myself awake. Looking at the gaps in my tent wall showed just the faintest tint of color lightening the morning sky. The dead silence surrounding me at the desert camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan invited me to curl back into my heavy blanket and claim another hour of sleep—5:00am seems barely human for a wake up call.

My iPhone was on to me though, and just as my eyelids drifted closed the alarm’s insistent buzzing woke me once again. Oh yeah,  how could I have forgotten? A sunrise camel ride through the Wadi Rum desert!

desert sunrise ride in Wadi Rum, Jordan
Prepping for an early morning desert sunrise ride in Wadi Rum, Jordan

The pleasant thought of camels was enough to propel me to my feet and, still clad in my pajamas, I added clothes to my ensemble with hopes for warmth in the cool desert air still clinging to the vast open spaces.

The tent camp was eerily silent and as I rounded the corner Jodi effortlessly matched my pace from her tent. Both silent, we walked; it seemed unnatural to break the pin-drop silence of the desert at dawn. As we exited the tent camp we were greeted with four camels resting in placid contentment on the ground. Without much fanfare Shabula, our guide, sized us up and gestured to our trusty steeds for the next hour.

Camel profile at sunrise in Wadi Rum, Jordan
A camel in silhouette during a beautiful sunrise in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

Jodi, the more petite of the two of us, would ride Zachaiha, a pregnant and well-tempered female camel. My camel, Zachi, is a young male nearly ready to be sold because he’s now old enough to threaten the virility and dominance of our lead’s male stud camel, Zaki. Another traveler, an Australian woman living at the desert tent camp, joined us and within a moment the four camels took their cues and ungracefully jolted into a standing position, their long legs causing an awkward movement that first thrust me forward full force before a rapid whip backwards, and then upright into riding position.

Shabala took the reins and set the pace as we eased ourselves into the faded orange sands of dawn.

The far-reaching sand was pristine at this hour. The gentle nighttime breezes had removed all traces of humanity and the desert sands became a blank canvas for our sunrise camel ride.

Sunrise and camels, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Shabala guides our sunrise camel ride in Wadi Rum
The delicate patterns of desert sands in Wadi Rum, Jordan
The delicate patterns of desert sands in Wadi Rum, Jordan.
The desert is the canvas for a beautiful pastel sunrise in Wadi Rum, Jordan
The desert is the canvas for a beautiful pastel sunrise in Wadi Rum, Jordan

The morning stillness was absolute. Dusk is often a riot of activity; back home the cicadas assert their presence with insistence throughout sunset, mosquitoes hum, and the last moments of daylight are often aggressively seized by nature.

But sunrise? Sunrise is a softly quiet affair. Few are up at this hour, animals and humans alike, and our camels took a plodding pace, stopping for grass snacks at their leisure as we watched mother nature’s pastel paint brush slowly change our surroundings.

A Bedouin and camel at dawn, Wadi Rum, Jordan
A Bedouin and his camel cross the desert at dawn, Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Pastel colors tint the desert and rocks for sunrise in Wadi Rum, Jordan
Sunrise smiles in Wadi Rum with Jodi from Legal Nomads.

The shadows and grays of pre-dawn slowly gave way to subdued tinges on the orange rocks.

Within five  minutes subtlety left as pastel pinks, blues and oranges tinged the rock and dessert landscape for hundreds of miles around.

Light bounced off the far corners of the mountains. Our camels, oblivious to the concert of colors, continued moseying while we were left awed.

Inspired by the quiet pleasure of watching the desert landscape painted by a seemingly simple sunrise left a feeling of contentment and happiness that carried over throughout my day. I so easily to forget to take those needed moments to recharge and step back from life. An hour spent wandering the deserts of Wadi Rum on camel was just the antidote I needed for a gentle jolt of perspective and creativity.

Planning a Trip to Jordan’s Wadi Rum Desert

Why Do a Sunrise Camel Ride in Wadi Rum?

A sunrise camel trek in Wadi Rum, Jordan, is a unique and memorable experience through a beautiful desert landscape known for its unique geological formations. You’ll wander through towering sandstone cliffs, towering rock bridges, and massive granite mountains. A camel trek at sunrise is a great way to experience the desert’s natural beauty, as the light changes from a soft, orange glow to a brilliant, golden light, highlighting the colors and textures of the landscape. During the morning, the desert comes alive with the sounds of birds, and the cool morning air provides a nice contrast to the hot temperatures of the day.

A camel trek is also a traditional and authentic way to explore the desert, as camels have been used for transportation in the region for centuries. The gentle swaying motion of the camel ride is a relaxing and comfortable way to explore the desert, and the camels themselves are fascinating animals to observe.

A Brief History of Wadi Rum Desert

Known as the Valley of the Moon, this desert region in southern Jordan is known for its unique and stunning natural beauty. The area is home to a variety of desert animals, including ibex, hyrax, and desert hares, as well as a wide variety of birds. It has been inhabited by various cultures throughout history, and there are many ancient inscriptions, rock art and other historical sites in the region. Bedouin tribes have lived in the area for centuries, and their traditional way of life and culture is an important part of any Wadi Rum desert experience. Travelers can witness traditional activities such as goat and camel herding, Bedouin hospitality, and learn about their customs.

What to Do in Wadi Rum, Besides Sunrise

Wadi Rum is more than a sunrise came ride—it’s also a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, longer camel treks, and 4×4 tours. You can also go hot air ballooning or take a scenic flight over the desert to appreciate its beauty from above.

How to Pick a Wadi Rum Desert Camp

To choose the right Wadi Rum desert camp for your trip, and ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience, head to Booking.com and evaluate the options with these things in mind:

  1. Location: Consider where the camp is located in relation to the attractions and activities you want to experience. If you want to be close to popular hiking trails or rock climbing routes, choose a camp that is conveniently located.
  2. Amenities: Look at what amenities the camp offers, such as bathrooms, showers, and electricity. Some camps may also offer additional amenities such as swimming pools or spa services.
  3. Type of accommodation: Decide what type of accommodation you prefer, whether it be a traditional Bedouin tent, a more modern luxury tent or a cabin.
  4. Reviews and reputation: Research the camp’s reputation by reading reviews from other travelers. This will give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of service and amenities.
  5. Price: Compare prices of different camps, and make sure that you are getting good value for your money. Also, if you are planning to do activities such as camel trekking or hot air ballooning, check if the camp includes these activities in their price or if they have additional costs.
  6. Services: Consider what services the camp offers, such as meals, transportation, and guided tours. This will help you plan your time in Wadi Rum more effectively.
  7. Responsible Tourism: Look for camps that promote responsible tourism—those that preserve the environment, support local communities, and promote a sustainable way of living in harmony with the desert.

What to Pack for Wadi Rum Camping

For the most part you’re just preparing for a few nights closer to the elements than you might be used to. That said, although most desert camps may provide bedding, it’s always good to check in advance.

  1. Layered clothing: Pack clothing appropriate for the desert climate, including light, breathable fabrics and layers for cooler evenings. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a bandana or scarf to protect your face from the sun are also recommended. And a heavy scarf for your Wadi Rum camel ride.
  2. Respectful and appropriate clothing: Wadi Rum is a desert region with traditional Bedouin culture, it is important to dress respectfully and appropriately, this means covering your shoulders and legs when visiting traditional Bedouin settlements or when entering religious sites.
  3. Footwear: Bring sturdy, closed-toe shoes that are comfortable for walking, as well as sandals or flip-flops for lounging around camp.
  4. Lighting: Pack a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries.
  5. First Aid Kit: You desert camp will surely have everything you need for minor issues, but you should still pack a small first aid kit, including bandages, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need.
  6. Sun protection: Pack sunscreen, lip balm, and insect repellent to protect yourself from the sun and bugs.
  7. Cash: Have some cash on hand for tips and small expenses, even though many will accept your travel credit and debit cards.

27 thoughts on “A Little Inspiration… A Pastel Sunrise Over Wadi Rum”

  1. Thank you Danalynn – camel rides are one of those fun experiences that I had on my bucket list for a good while – and then was surprised that they aren’t actually too comfortable to ride at first! :) Glad your ride in Morocco was so memorable. :)

  2. Ha! I just noticed that my avatar has a photo of kidlet at 6 deep in the Sahara ( she road a camel in 2 hours with a rare rainbow) giving a violin concert to 60 Berber kids before we slept in the desert with the nomads. That trip reminded me very much of Wadi Rum..different but similar…LOVE nomads….and camels. ;) 

    Love the silence of the desert. You too look cute on camels! ;)

    • Awesome you got a full moon – the sky and stars were so incredible while we
      were out there too! I had a feeling Mozart would love the babies – them
      being so little was a rare treat and it was mine and Jodi’s first time
      seeing a baby camel as well! You’ve gotta love the way travel exposes us to
      fun experiences we never even thought to seek out (like meeting a brand-new
      baby camel :)

  3. Beautiful! We loved Wadi Rum and got an awesome full moon when we were there. The baby camels were kidlet’s favorites! ;)

  4. What a lovely way to start a day! amazin snaps…and beautiful desert…never thought Jordan is so good!! thanks to bring it close…

    • Glad I could bring a smile to your morning Akshaye! And Jordan has this and
      so much more, the country mesmerized me continually :)

  5. This is such a beautiful description!  I went on a camel ride through the desert in Morocco a few years ago and I also distinctly remember how awkward the camel was, how jerky it was when it stood up, the rolling stride. 

  6. I am so in love with the desert. Being brought up in El Paso, Texas, I can appreciate it’s raw beauty like no other. Pics look amazing and so does the adventure!

    • Thanks Erica – jealous that you had the desert so close – though I find some
      of my enchantment comes from how foreign it is to me! Do you guys have any
      plans to stop by some deserts on your RTW? :)

  7. Never heard of Wadi Rum before but they way you descibe the sunrise and the photos makes it a place to want to visit.  How did the pregnant camel do?  Is its safe for her to be doing tours while pregnant?

    • It’s truly one of my favorite places now – so beautiful! As for the
      pregnancy – they have a 15 month gestation time, so they can definitely be
      ridden during that time, and they really like to be with their fellow
      camels, so if we had left her behind she would have been sad! They are very
      respectful and were careful not to let her run at all :)

  8. I bet it was amazing! As much as I hate waking up early (or rather, as hard as it is) I find that the early hours are so peaceful. I enjoy taking an early morning jog just to avoid the crowds and pollution. It’s so much easier to breath and just enjoy nature when the sounds of the city are quiet. 

    • I agree completely, there’s a tranquility to the early morning hours that
      you lose as the day wears on and the rest of the busy world joins in; thanks
      for stopping in and commenting Annie :-)

  9. Beautiful! Wadi Rum was my husband’s favorite part of our recent tour of Jordan! With my gimpy knee, I haven’t done a camel ride, but I do love the camels and the fact that my kid got to ride a couple in Jordan ( as well as in the Sahara in Morocco with a rare  rainbow). She is a pro at it by now and loves the roller coaster affect of staring and stopping. ;) 

    • So glad to hear that you guys experienced the magic of Wadi Rum as well –
      it’s one my favorite spots in Jordan as well. Have loved the shots of Mozart
      on the camels – she looks like she was really enjoying the new culture and
      some quality time with the cute animals! :)

  10. I’m reading this as I just woke up and truly love your descriptions and images. I can see how this would be a truly wonderful way to start a day. Thanks for sharing these experiences so beautifully!

  11.  Beautiful Post Shannon.Wadi Rum is gorgeous and there is no better place than here to do a camel ride. Definitely worth waking up for. 

  12. Lovely post and photo essay!
    I briefly visited Jordan a few years a go and although I got only a little glimpse, the country has remained on my ‘radar’ since then. Now, you’re make me feeling that time has come to start thinking at a new, longer tour… Looks like you had a wonderful time! 

    • Thanks so much Simon, appreciate the support. A glimpse is surely not
      enough! And like you, I already need to go back for longer so maybe our
      paths will cross over there ;-)


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