The Traditional Bedouin Life Revival Initiative

Wadi Rum is a large geological basin made up of sandstone slabs that erode into deep valleys of fine sand and canyons. Since ancient times it was a passageway for caravans carrying goods to the port of Gaza. It was also the cradle of prehistoric settlements, traces of which can still be found today.

The breathtaking landscapes of Wadi Rum make its notoriety and its eternal success, but also, indirectly, the degradation of the ancestral heritage of its community. Especially since the South Jordan Bedouin lifestyle has been hold up as a model of the Jordanian identity, when it came to building one. This contributed to freeze it in folklore.

Tourism has the particularity to endanger or even sometimes destroy what has attracted it. Wadi Rum is a relevant example of this phenomenon: letting behind their ancestral lifestyle based on the sheep and goats breeding as well as their traditional goat hair habitat, the Bedouin communities have turned their activity to tourism services, selling rides and accommodation facilities to visitors. The revenues generated by tourism have quickly surpassed those from the traditional economy, while demanding less efforts. As an outcome to those modifications, the traditional life style became a folkloric attraction from which they slowly but surely stepped away. Except some aged people keeping a semi nomadic lifestyle, the Bedouin families settle now in brick houses in the village. Depending only on tourism, their economic model became vulnerable to circumstances, without diversification.

Conscious of the loss of the cultural heritage and the threat on the community, a Wadi Rum community influential member proposes to reverse the current trend and to create with the visitors a boost for the families to recover their traditional lifestyle, in order to foster them to regain their traditional habitat and pastoral economy. To those who search a total escape, he proposes an authentic immersion in the desert life with a family dwelling under tent in a remote area. For the hosting family, the experience will not only generate an economical asset but also raise their awareness about the importance of the ancestral heritage and the necessity to perpetuate and transmit it to the next generation, as well as the importance of diversifying the economical model.

This project implies the visitor to spend a relatively substantial period of time with the family and to be part of it. It is not a one- or two-days tourist experience, but a longer stay during which he or she effectively integrates the Bedouin life and conditions. Considered as a member of the family, the visitor participates to all the domestic and pastoral tasks, and is fully integrated in the social interactions and events. 

Bedouins have a simple and austere life, quite repetitive and of a much slower pace than what we are used to. An immersive stay in this universe will taste quite meditative. The sun sets the pace for life, we go to bed and get up early. This homestay is unique and may represent a greater adaptation challenge for the visitor than homestays by villagers. The visitor learns how the Bedouins can survive in a quasi autarky in a relative comfort.

In the Bedouin culture, everyday activities are shared between women and men. Your experience will be slightly different if you are a man or a woman. Women a in charge of the bread making, while men roast and cook the coffee. In the spring, women make the different dairy products and also work the wool. However, both men and women care about the herd. All the social events (family visits, weddings...) are separated. Your stay can also include nature walk, wood collection and eventually nature cleansing activity that you can perform with the support of a donkey or a camel. 

The best season for such an experience extends from early or mid-March to June and from September to mid-November. It's not excluded to plan it during summer, but of course the temperature considerably raises in the middle of the day and peaks can reach 45 degrees. Under those conditions, the activities are performed early morning and at the end of the afternoon.

For more information and contact:

Abu-Tamer: 00962-77-230 60 34

...or contact us