Exploring Wadi Rum, Sleeping in a Bedouin Tent and Riding a Camel in Jordan

As I walked up a steep hill I took the time to feel the warm sand beneath my toes as I took each step. When I reached the summit, I pivoted and marvelled at the scenery before my very eyes. Panoramic views of jagged rock formations on a bed of sand left a lasting impression. Each rock formation was so distinct it appeared it had been individually hand carved by an artist. I snapped a few photos and then I put my camera down and sat down in awe – some places are just worth the extra attention.

Visiting Wadi Rum was one of the true highlights of our journey to Jordan.  Known also as The Valley of the Moon, its name derived from the Aramaic root of ‘elevated’ and has been inhabited by many human civilizations over the years – most notably the Nabateans.  Home to the Zalabria Bedouin, the region is one of the most popular eco-adventure tourism spots in all of Jordan.  From treks to camel safaris to cultural experiences there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Our most memorable experiences included:

Sleeping in a Bedouin tent at night

Sharing a meal which was cooked under sand

Dancing, singing and lounging by the campfire

Riding camels

The following is a photo essay showcasing our experience:

This is a sunset shot from Wadi Rum where Audrey is rendered as a silhouette.  Our guides specifically took us to this particular point roughly half an hour before sunset.  We certainly were not disappointed.

This is a sunset shot from our Wadi Rum tour where Audrey is rendered as a silhouette. Our guides specifically took us to this particular point roughly half an hour before sunset. We certainly were not disappointed.

As a travel photographer it is paramount to look back every once in a while.  This particular shot was taken from the back of our pickup truck after it stopped for a few minutes.  Looking back I noticed the spectacular cloud formations in the sky.

As a travel photographer it is paramount to look back every once in a while. This particular shot was taken from the back of our pickup truck after it stopped for a few minutes. Looking back I noticed the spectacular cloud formations in the sky.

Here a Bedouin man puffs smoke out of his nose just outside of tent in Wadi Rum.  Smoking hookah, know locally as Arghila or Shisha, is very common in Jordan.  You can select tobacco with an assortment of different flavours.  My personal favourite is apple mint.

Here a Bedouin man puffs smoke out of his nose just outside of tent in Wadi Rum. Smoking hookah, know locally as Arghila or Shisha, is very common in Jordan. You can select tobacco with an assortment of different flavours. My personal favourite is apple mint.

Sleeping in a Bedouin tent was one of the top highlights from my time visiting Jordan.  Here a group of Bedouin men prepare a camp fire at night that would later be used to serve tea.

Sleeping in a Bedouin tent was one of the top highlights from my time visiting Jordan. Here a group of Bedouin men prepare a camp fire at night that would later be used to serve tea.

This is a shot of Seven Pillars of Wisdom Mountain in Wadi Rum, Jordan taken just after lunch.  Can you spot all seven?

This is a shot of Seven Pillars of Wisdom Mountain in Wadi Rum, Jordan taken just after lunch. Can you spot all seven?

The rock formations are especially impressive at Wadi Rum.  I'm not a huge fan of HDR photography but I found myself taking several of these types of shots given the contrast between harsh shadows and light.

The rock formations are especially impressive at Wadi Rum. I’m not a huge fan of HDR photography but I found myself taking several of these types of shots given the contrast between harsh shadows and light.

A Bedouin man puffs exhales smoke from a cigarette nearby our camp in Wadi Rum.

A Bedouin man puffs exhales smoke from a cigarette nearby our camp in Wadi Rum.

This is another shot of the same Bedouin man from the third photo in this gallery smoking Hookah.  In this particular photo you can clearly notice the smoking device and rock terrain in the background.

This is another shot of the same Bedouin man from the third photo in this gallery smoking Hookah. In this particular photo you can clearly notice the smoking device and rock terrain in the background.

This is a photo rock formations during a spectacular sunset in Wadi Rum.  As a travel photography tip, it's a good idea to not only focus on the sunset.  Look around and you'll often notice other subject areas worth shooting.

This is a photo rock formations during a spectacular sunset in Wadi Rum. As a travel photography tip, it’s a good idea to not only focus on the sunset. Look around and you’ll often notice other subject areas worth shooting.

This is a telephoto shot of rock formations during sunset in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

This is a telephoto shot of rock formations during sunset in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

This is a travel image of Audrey Bergner riding a camel for the first time.  She did remarkably well and looked rather graceful for somebody with very little experience riding animals.

This is a travel image of Audrey Bergner riding a camel for the first time. She did remarkably well and looked rather graceful for somebody with very little experience riding animals.

This is an action shot of a Bedouin boy and Dustin Main riding camels in Wadi Rum, Jordan.  You'll notice Dustin wielding his dSLR camera in his hand.  He took a lot of photos of our group which we greatly appreciated.

This is an action shot of a Bedouin boy and Dustin Main riding camels in Wadi Rum, Jordan. You’ll notice Dustin wielding his dSLR camera in his hands. He took a lot of photos of our group which we greatly appreciated.

This is another perspective shot of rock formations during sunset in Wadi Rum, Jordan.  This was the nicest sunset we witnessed during our entire time in Jordan.

This is another perspective shot of rock formations during sunset in Wadi Rum, Jordan. This was the nicest sunset we witnessed during our entire time in Jordan.

I was a little under the weather at the time and having an opportunity to lounge by the camp fire prior to going to sleep was the coziest option at this Bedouin camp.

I was a little under the weather at the time and having an opportunity to lounge by the camp fire prior to going to sleep was the coziest option at this Bedouin camp.

In this photo you can notice several mattresses that were used to sleep on around the camp fire at night.

In this photo you can notice several mattresses that were used to sleep on around the camp fire at night.

This is a candid portrait of a Bedouin man smiling early in the morning before breakfast.

This is a candid portrait of a Bedouin man smiling early in the morning before breakfast.

Here is another group shot of us riding camels.  Can you spot Audrey?

Here is another group shot of us riding camels. Can you spot Audrey?

Here is a photo of the tents we used while camping overnight with the Bedouins in Wadi Rum, Jordan.  Inside our tent were sample mattresses, warm blankets and candles.

Here is a photo of the tents we used while camping overnight with the Bedouins in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Inside our tent were sample mattresses, warm blankets and candles.

This particular Bedouin man was so photogenic I decided to take one more shot of him smoking Hookah ;)

This particular Bedouin man was so photogenic I decided to take one more shot of him smoking Hookah ;)

Here is a candid shot of a Bedouin man smoking a cigarette and beaming an even more impressive smile.

Here is a candid shot of a Bedouin man smoking a cigarette and beaming an even more impressive smile.

One last scenic shot from Wadi Rum, Jordan.

One last scenic shot from Wadi Rum, Jordan.

A couple of videos to enjoy:

Sleeping in a Bedouin tent, dancing, singing, smoking hookah and riding camels in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Visiting Wadi Rum, Jordan (وادي رم ): The Valley Of The Moon وادي القمر

For this trip we partnered with My Jordan Journey.

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmen November 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Wow. I HAVE to get to Jordan some day. What a beautiful place.

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Samuel Jeffery November 15, 2013 at 5:13 am

Thanks Carmen! I sure hope you can go soon. I’m already thinking about when I’ll be able to head back again.

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Devlin @ Marginal Boundaries November 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Some truly fantastic shots! That guy w/ the cig has such an awesomely genuine smile.

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Samuel Jeffery November 15, 2013 at 5:14 am

Thanks Devlin,

Those are my favorite photos to take :)

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Lunaguava November 14, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Gorgeous photos and video! We’ve skipped Jordan quite a few times, but this post is making me question my priorities. Good luck!

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Samuel Jeffery November 15, 2013 at 5:15 am

Thank you! I hope it’ll inspire you to go sooner rather than later :)

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Escaping Abroad November 15, 2013 at 6:04 am

Excellent photography as always Samuel!

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Samuel Jeffery November 15, 2013 at 6:20 am

Thank you! :)

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Raymond Waruhari November 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

Riding a Camel in Jordan seems to be a very interesting activity.

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Samuel Jeffery November 16, 2013 at 3:59 am

Raymond,

It’s a lot of fun but you need to be prepared to feel a little sore afterwards ;)

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Corinne November 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

Love the portraits. I found the people in Jordan to be some of the friendliest on the planet. Loved Wadi Rum.

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Samuel Jeffery November 16, 2013 at 4:00 am

Thanks Corinne,

I agree with you about the people there :)

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Maria November 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Here we go again, you’ve sparked my imagination and creativity with your photos and video but my favorite is of Audrey watching the sunset. Wow!

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Samuel Jeffery November 16, 2013 at 4:01 am

Thanks Maria!

It’s my favorite shot as well. I hope we can witness many more sunsets like that in the future.

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Lillie - @WorldLillie November 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

WOW– Amazing photos and adventure!

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Samuel Jeffery November 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Thanks Lillie! It certainly was :)

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Sand In My Suitcase November 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Luv the Bedouin photos! Though don’t think we could sleep in the tent :-). Need our hot shower! We stayed at the Kempinski in Aqaba – but admittedly it was a one-hour drive to Wadi Rum (so much more convenient to stay in the desert).

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Samuel Jeffery November 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm

We stayed in the Kempinski the following night in Aqaba as well. We needed the showers ;)

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Rob November 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Great post, Wadi Rum was the one place we didn’t visit when we went to Jordan….maybe next time !!

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Samuel Jeffery November 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Thanks Rob! Definitely worth a visit next time :)

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Vid November 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Loved the photographs, Sam. But the videos are even better. They give one the real “feel” of the experience. We were in Wadi Rum in 2010, and loved how majestic the whole area was. Would love to go back now with the blogging hat on :)

Cheers

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 10:50 am

Thanks Vid!

I hear you about wanting to revisit great places.

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Mary @ Green Global travel November 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I absolutely loved this post and your gorgeous images! You do a brilliant job of capturing people looking luminous, alive and engaged as well as in sharing the experience through your phoyos as well as your ever amazing videos!

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thanks Mary!

I enjoyed the Jordan posts you and Bret did a while back :)

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Dean November 18, 2013 at 4:02 am

Jordan is way up there on my “to visit list”. Looks amazing. Great pics Sam.

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thanks Dean!

It’s a country I’d love to revisit again. I definitely recommend going when you get a chance :)

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Jeremy November 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Awesome pics! I slept with the Bedouins too when I went on birthright. Only problem was they ran out of space with our big group so I ended up sleeping right on the dirt in my sleeping bag. Oh well, I actually slept better than I had in months!

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:13 am

Thanks Jeremy!

Yeah, I slept like a baby that night as well. I feel very comfortable camping. Several shots of rum and a toasty campfire didn’t hurt either ;)

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Hannah November 20, 2013 at 1:28 am

What a truly mysterious place! Love the photos and definitely love the blog entry!

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thanks Hannah!

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bastiaan November 20, 2013 at 3:34 am

Hey Samuel,

Great pictures! I’ve only visited Jordan for a few hours because it was on a stopover on one of my flights. These pictures really make me want to go back to Jordan and discover the rest of the country. Thanks for inspiring me!

Cheers Bastiaan

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

Thank you! I hope you’ll get a chance to soon properly explore the country more :)

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Ryan November 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Wow, always blowing my mind with some powerful photography. Still working on my fear of photographing people and offending them. I’ve gotta’ get over that or not be shy to ask. Great stuff as always Samuel.

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Samuel Jeffery November 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Thanks Ryan,

I felt the same way as you do now. I’ll be honest that sometimes I do get caught taking a shot and it is a bit awkward but that doesn’t happen very often now with practice.

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Jess November 25, 2013 at 6:47 am

Those rock formations are amazing! I’ve never gotten to spend much time in a desert, but I would love to check out a place that beautiful. Getting to spend the night in a bedouin tent seems like a great way to experience the culture.

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

Thanks Jess,

I had a great time in Jordan doing all kinds of things but staying in the Bedouin tent was definitely the highlight :)

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Francis Cassidy November 25, 2013 at 9:41 am

Some nice shots there. I never actually heard of this place, but it seems amazingly photogenic, both the landscapes and the people. I’d love to spend a few days there chasing some light! I’ll put it on the list! thanks for sharing

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

Thanks Francis,

It’s a country that I hope to revisit as soon as possible!

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Sam November 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

WOW!! fantastic landscape!
Now on my list to do!!

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Samuel Jeffery November 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Thanks Sam!

A nice addition I must say ;)

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Jorja Alcorn November 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hi! I really like every shot you got and the place is just so stunning. Do you think it is safe to travel in Wadi Rum,Bedouin for a group of women? Or maybe 2 or 3? I’m thinking of visiting there but kinda hesitant. Really appreciate your answer. Thanks

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hey Jorja,

I certainly think it’s safe for women to travel to Wadi Rum. If you stay in a camp you’ll be surrounded with other travelers and the Bedouins are very kind and generous hosts!

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Arti November 28, 2013 at 2:39 am

Those rock formations are just something else!! And wonderful captures in the post, superb human emotions as well as beauty of nature!! Thanks for sharing Sam :)

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 5:30 am

Thanks Arti! I felt lucky to have a chance to visit there :)

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Maria November 28, 2013 at 5:50 am

Wonderful photos! Wadi Rum is truly photogenic!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 5:29 am

Thank you Maria!

It’s one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever visited :)

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Muza-chan November 28, 2013 at 7:54 am

Amazing photos…

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 5:27 am

Thank you! :)

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Derek December 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm

lol reading this brought back a lot of memories of my own Camel trip….what a pain between the legs eh?! haha

Unbelievable place though, loving the pictures you got of the Bedouin with their Shisha!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 5:29 am

Hahaha…it sure is. Walking is a chore afterwards ;)

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Tom December 3, 2013 at 10:21 am

Great article and amazing photos, I visited Wadi Rum and Jordan a month ago and it brings all the memories back… Unbelievable place, rock formations, red sand, out of this world…

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 5:28 am

Thanks Tom,

Glad this post brings back the memories. I’m really itching to get back there myself.

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Natasha von Geldern December 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

What an experience and stunning photos guys. I have heard there is good rock climbing in the Wadi Rum – the pics of those crags have me itching to get there!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 5:28 am

Thanks Natasha!

There is definitely good rocking climbing there and at the Dana nature reserve :)

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Steve December 5, 2013 at 4:31 am

That looks like an incredible experience. Jordan has such a rich history. I love the sunset picture!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 4:07 am

Thanks Steve!

That’s my favorite shot as well :)

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A Cook Not Mad (Nat) December 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Great photos and the videos give a sense of being there. Nice!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 4:06 am

Thank you!

We’re sure missing being there these days.

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Dan December 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Awesome stuff! The landscape looks incredible.

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 4:05 am

Thanks Dan!

It truly is an incredible landscape!

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Bill Fischer December 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Simply stunning !!!!!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 4:01 am

Thank you Bill!

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Neil December 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Wonderful shots! Brings back a lot of great memories from my visit. Incredible locals in an incredible part of the world.

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 3:59 am

Thanks Neil,

I completely agree with you. As amazing as the attractions were in Jordan it’s the people I’ll remember the most.

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Luke December 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Wow! Amazing photos!

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Samuel Jeffery January 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Thank you Luke!

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Steve | Live Smart Not Hard December 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Amazing shots. Anyone else wondering when Indiana Jones was going to pop out?

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Samuel Jeffery January 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Thanks Steve! I was certainly hoping for an IJ appearance ;)

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Mike December 19, 2013 at 5:04 am

Wow, Samuel, I’m brand new to your blog and just finished looking at some older posts of your’s. Just came back to this and I can see why your’s is one of themost popular travel sites out there! Your pictures are absolutely amazing! I’ve been learning more and more on photography (a long ways to go) and to be better with description in my writing and “letting go” vs apprehension. I will stick around for at least a while and check back with you! I just Subscribed and followed you on Twitter. The picture of the gentleman with the smoke coming out of his nostrils made my jaw drop! Score there! Thank you for the insight I’m looking forward to your next post :)

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Samuel Jeffery January 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thanks Mike!

Great to discover your blog recently as well. Photography is something that can be learned at any age. I didn’t really start getting into it seriously until 4-5 years ago.

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Rob @ Hungry Escapades December 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Lovely pics mate! The food and cooking method looked awesome, but I don’t envy you on those camels! Pure pain :-)

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Samuel Jeffery January 10, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Hahaha, pure pain indeed. Whenever I ride a camel it’s always the same score: Camel 1, Sam 0.

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himachal tour packages December 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

i love to write on travel blog and i appreciate your your post for it’s unique photos around the world.

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Samuel Jeffery January 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm

You’re welcome!

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apol | Wanderful Together.com January 11, 2014 at 5:22 am

hmmmm this photogenic man convinced me to try smoking hookah when we get the chance… I don’t smoke but I’d like to try hehehehe.

Love the clouds in the photos, spectacular shots.

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Samuel Jeffery January 15, 2014 at 4:51 am

Oh, it’s a lot of fun apol!

I had many puffs during my time in Jordan and Turkey…haha

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Joy January 15, 2014 at 10:41 pm

I really enjoyed the photography in this article – especially the hookah. Really makes me want to go back to Morocco. :)

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