This review of the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum, contains affiliate links.
As part of our TTT Tour to Jordan, we had (of course) to make the trip to the otherworldly Wadi Rum.
Having already spent time in Amman and the unbelievable ancient city of Petra, Wadi Rum was next on our list; a vast, red expanse known as the ‘Valley of the Moon’.
Importantly, Wadi Rum is not a desert, but a valley (‘wadi’ meaning valley in Arabic). As such, it is hemmed in by towering sandstone hills and granite cliffs. Windswept and magnificent, this valley is home to a surprising number of sights – and not just those featured in the 1962 film, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.
The Zalabieh tribe, native to the valley, have worked hard to develop these sights into places suitable for tourists, alongside a host of unforgettable activities. These include visits to the Khaz’ali Canyon, where you’ll discover ancient inscriptions dating back to Thamudic times, alongside hikes to Wadi Rum’s tallest mountain Jabal Umm ad Dami.
Arabian horse rides, 4×4 Jeep tours and sunrise camel rides can also be easily arranged.
With so much to do in this red-hued valley, we’d highly recommend staying the night in Wadi Rum. Not only will it allow you to see and do more, but it’ll afford you the opportunity to spend the night under the Jordanian stars. With the Milky Way visible to the naked eye – and a blanket of stars sparkling overhead – a night in the Wadi Rum is a life-affirming and unforgettable experience.
Knowing that we certainly wanted to spend the night here, we spent a lot of time researching where to stay in Wadi Rum. With a whole host of camps available throughout the valley – some luxury, others aimed at the experienced camper – we decided to book somewhere that straddled both options: an authentic, yet comfortable, spot.
A Review of the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum
Why We Chose the Rainbow Camp
When planning our trip to Wadi Rum (bringing with us fifteen other fantastic women), we were aware that we wanted to cater to a number of preferences and travel styles.
Ultimately, we all wanted somewhere comfortable – with beds. That in itself was a pre-requisite. Alongside this, we were keen to have a functioning bathroom, somewhere to relax and chat in and, of course, food and drink.
Whilst there has been a huge proliferation of luxury camps in Wadi Rum – the likes of Memories Aicha Luxury Camp, for example – we did still want to experience some authenticity; staying in a more traditional, Bedouin style camp. Whilst domed, air-conditioned suites might be nice, lying outside at night, under thick berber rugs, would (I’d hoped) be even better.
Keen to also stick to a budget, we were therefore thrilled when we came across the Rainbow Camp. Costing 40JD a night (for a double tent) with breakfast included, alongside offering Bedouin style living, the camp was exactly what we were looking for.
We decided to book our stay – crossing our fingers that our guests would be equally as happy with our choice.
A Review of Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum:
What I Loved
I wanted to begin this review of the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum, by mentioning what I loved about the place. Relatively cheap, offering spectacular views (better than many more of the expensive camps, I’d argue), we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this modest, yet very comfortable, site.
1. The Accommodation & Amenities
While researching where to stay in Wadi Rum, I did notice that some referred to the accommodation at the Rainbow Camp as basic.
Having now visited, I’d definitely disagree.
The camp offers raised tents (on stilts, with little verandas), that can sleep two – five (family tents included, costing 65JD for four). These tents are warm and well-lined, and inside are raised beds with very comfortable mattresses, duvets and pillows (and extra wool blankets, for the colder months). Each tent is carpeted and has a glazed window, alongside electricity – something I definitely wasn’t expecting. We even had a overhead light and power sockets so we could charge our phones.
We slept really well in our tents and were warm, cosy and comfortable (even if we could hear Arabian Wolves howling throughout the night).
The bathroom building is situated just across from the tents and is very clean, sanitary and comfortable (offering a male and female side). Included is toilet roll, soap, running water and two shower cubicles, with hot water. It’s far from slumming it and these facilities made for a really comfortable stay.
Alongside the tents and bathroom, there are also two other communal tents – one where food is served (warm, carpeted and cosy) and a second for relaxing in. There’s also a hammock outside; perfect for lounging in and soaking up the silence of Wadi Rum.
Overall, the accommodation at the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum, is far from rudimentary- it’s lovely. Comfortable, warm and with everything you need, a stay here is far from a basic one; but one that provides everything you need for an unforgettable night in Jordan’s Moon Valley.
2. The Food
Given the remoteness of Wadi Rum, I wasn’t quite sure what the food offering would be like at the Rainbow Camp. Also, given that this was a camp and not a fully-fledged hotel, I wasn’t quite sure how they would prepare and store their food (in the middle of a wind-swept terrain).
Thankfully – and something I definitely wanted to highlight in this review of the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum – was that this wonderful place has a fully functioning kitchen and cooks onsite, producing some simple, yet delicious, dishes.
For 40JD a night (for 2 people), breakfast is included. This includes an impressive buffet spread featuring cooked vegetables, fruit, cheeses and omelettes (cooked in front of you). Lunch costs 10JD and dinner 12JD, and can be paid for when you book your room.
Our lunch was a simple (yet tasty) dish of potato, egg and tomato, alongside pita breads and a free soft drink. Dinner was an equally traditional affair: a delicious Chicken Maqluba, cooked in a Bedouin underground oven known as a ‘zarb’.
This ancient form of an oven has been used for a millennia by nomadic herding people across the Arabian Peninsula. In short, a hole is dug in the sand, then wood or coals are placed inside and lit. The (covered) food is then placed on top, before both are then covered again by sand and left to cook.
We were invited to watch the hosts dig our dinner out of the zarb (quite the spectacle), before tucking in. It was absolutely delicious and there were masses of it – so nobody went hungry (note: a vegetarian version was also available).
Overall, the food at the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum was delicious, filling and (unlike our experiences in Morocco) – nobody fell sick following our stay.
3. The Location & Views
One reason I think the Rainbow Camp is one of the best camps in the Wadi Rum (and the best place to stay in Wadi Rum), is its prime location.
When you first enter Wadi Rum, you’ll join from one of the main villages or towns that surround it – e.g. Rashidiya or Shakaria. The journey from entering the Wadi Rum reserve, to getting to our camp, was around 20 minutes and arranged by our hosts. For us, this distance was perfect – it wasn’t a very long transfer, but likewise, it was enough to make us feel as though we were properly ensconced within the valley.
On the way in, we noticed that many of the other camps – including many of the luxury Wadi Rum camps – were just on the edge of the valley; almost around the corner from the main villages and towns.
I think I’d perhaps feel quite disappointed if I was staying at one of these camps. The whole idea of staying in Wadi Rum is that you get to fully immerse yourself in this extraordinary landscape; experiencing its silence, its vastness and its remoteness. Finding yourself just five minutes away from the local town might dampen this feeling a bit – making it seem a tad artificial.
Thankfully, the Rainbow Camp offers (what I think) are some of the best views across Wadi Rum and feels far removed from any neighbouring distractions.
The camp is overlooked by a large granite and sandstone rock formation, which can easily be climbed. From here, you are afforded the most amazing views across the rest of the valley; taking in the red sand dunes and towering mountains that fill Wadi Rum.
Visiting this special spot at sunset is a truly unforgettable experience – a life changing experience, perhaps. Being able to make the one minute climb from the camp, to watch as pink, purple and red hues swept across this vast landscape was easily one of the highlights of our trip.
It’s also why I think this camp is the best place to stay in Wadi Rum.
(I’ll also quickly add that many of the luxury camps don’t have these amazing viewpoints, something that makes the Rainbow Camp even more special).
4. The Activities
Another thing that makes the Rainbow Camp one of the best places to stay in Wadi Rum are the incredible activities that the hosts can arrange for their guests (at an additional cost, of course).
Before visiting the camp, we arranged for our own group to take the 4 x 4 Jeep Tour of the surrounding valley; taking in some of Wadi Rum’s top sights. The tour was just over 2 hours in total and was just 10JD per person (as there were more than four of us).
Throughout our jeep safari, we were taken to a number of Wadi Rum’s biggest attractions – including: Umm Fruth Rock Bridge (which affords some amazing views across the valley and is really easy to climb/scramble up), the Red Sand Dunes, which we used a snowboard to dune surf down, and The Nabatean Temple, filled with early inscriptions and Thamudic and Kufic rock art.
It was a brilliant way to see Wadi Rum – particularly when the weather is so hot and you can’t walk for too long unaided (it’s also very windy and dusty).
Alongside the jeep tour, our group also booked onto the magical sunrise camel trek – enjoying steaming cups of tea in the middle of the valley as the sun rose (costing 20JD per person).
For the more adventurous amongst you, the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum, also organises hiking tours – taking you up some of the tallest mountains in the valley, including to Burdah Rock Bridge (quite a climb – and definitely aimed at the more experienced climber).
5. The Hosts
One reason why I think the Rainbow Camp is the best place to stay in Wadi Rum is due to the fantastic hosts and owners, who take care of you throughout your stay.
Suliman and Ali are truly wonderful hosts and are incredibly accommodating. As we were the only people staying at the camp during our visit, they allowed us to spread out – using extra tents free of charge. Always in the background, quietly accommodating our needs, our hosts were discreet, respectful and forever on hand, should we have any questions.
They were fantastic.
6. The Cost
Compared to the more luxury desert camps in Wadi Rum, the Rainbow Camp is a veritable steal.
A single tent will set you back 20JD a night (breakfast included), while a family tent of 5 (adults) costs 75JD between you all. Incredibly, children under 10 go free, which I think is a fantastic deal. Lunch will cost you an additional 10JD, while dinner is 12JD, inclusive of soft drinks.
Also included in the cost (and something we found surprising) was free WiFi. This isn’t a luxury we expected out in the middle of Wadi Rum, but one we definitely took advantage of. Even better, the WiFi was super speedy and we could even connect from our tents.
Towels, extra blankets and all bedding were also provided, alongside drinking water.
Overall, this review of the Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum is an entirely positive one. Substantially cheaper than many of the other bedouin camps found throughout the valley, yet still offering lovely accommodation, and comfortable and cosy surroundings, I honestly think this is the best value hotel in all of Wadi Rum.
A Review of Rainbow Camp, Wadi Rum:
Why You Might Want to Stay Elsewhere
Whilst my review of the Rainbow Camp is nothing but positive, I appreciate that other travellers might have different requirements. Below is a list of reasons as to why the camp might not be for you and why you might wish to book elsewhere.
1. If You Want a More ‘Private’ Experience
The Rainbow Camp, although offering individual private tents, is still a bit of a communal facility. Although we (fortunately) had the entire site to ourselves when we visited, if other guests are staying when you are, then you’ll be sharing the bathrooms and communal tents.
If this isn’t what you’re after, and you are instead seeking a little more privacy, then I would perhaps stay elsewhere.
One place that certainly provides a more private, discreet experience is the Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel. Although significantly more expensive than the Rainbow Camp (costing around £369 a night), for this money you’ll get an entire ‘bubble’ house to yourself – with dining area, bedroom and bathroom. Strategically placed a safe distance from other tents, you’ll enjoy almost unfettered privacy here; with even a clear ‘dome’ to enjoy the starry nights in.
2. If You Want a More Luxury Experience
Whilst I think the Rainbow Camp offers an excellent level of accommodation for its price per might, I understand that some people might be looking for a more luxury experience when visiting Wadi Rum.
If this is the case, then by far the most luxurious place to stay in Wadi Rum is the Memories Aicha Luxury Camp.
Unlike some of the more recent luxury camps that have appeared in the valley, Memories Aicha Camp is decorated like a Jordanian royal palace; draped in sumptuous fabrics and lined with thick, berber rugs. On site you’ll not only discover your own private bathrooms and bedrooms filled with antique furniture, but a wonderful restaurant – and even an onsite library.
If you’re really looking to push the boat out, their Panoramic Luxury Suite looks absolutely incredible – featuring your own outdoor dining area, bathroom, barbecue and panoramic views of Wadi Rum’s mountains.
3. If You Want a Swimming Pool
What could be more surreal than slipping into a silky cold swimming pool, in the middle of the Wadi Rum nature reserve? Indeed, are there camps in Wadi Rum that have swimming pools?
The answer, in short is yes there are – and plenty of them.
Rum Oasis Luxury Camp in Wadi Rum not only offers guests the coveted ‘bubble’ style accommodation, but a garden, heated outdoor pool and snack bar. Alternatively, the Palmera Camp is slightly cheaper and also has a heated pool, alongside very comfy looking sunbathing pillows to lounge on, as the sun begins to set.