I stayed at the Nawatef Bedouin Camp for 3 weeks. I found the location to be good for trekking and was a short jump to the village of Dana and the Dana Nature Reserve. The larger village is el Qadisiyya, full of Bedouins and kept alive by the massive cement factory. The village has a number of small dukans (shops) to get veggies and supplies. There is one shop that I found with refrigeration to get yogurt, milk, butter, etc. Petra is about a 35 minute drive from this camp and town of Shobak (which has banking, drug stores and restaurants) is about 20 minutes away. El Quadisiyya has no restaurants...but there is a small place on the main street to get one heck of a falafel sandwich. This is your typical Bedouin village - kids running around in the street, men standing outside of shops disappointed with their married lives, women at home, cooking for 12, the mosque sounding off 5 times a day, chickens being butchered in 4 minutes flat, loud, fun, interesting...and if you're walking down the street, you're the talk of the town. The kids might wanna pick on you - but the people are super friendly and would love for you to sit with them and have tea - no agendas.
As for the camp. The camp is fairly new. It is owned by Ali Nawafleh. Ali is the headmaster of a school in the village and him and his brother Razmi have this camp. They are born and raised in el Qadisiyya and Ali is a member of a family of 9 brothers - so they often troddle along and visit the camp. Ali is FUN, giggly, happy and highly respected in the village...all of his brothers are. I am a single woman and above all I felt safe, protected and respected at this camp. There were no advances made to me, they treated me like their sister and were very concerned that I have a nice time. They were concerned about my treks and would come with me, send one of their children with me, or let me go alone with concise instructions of which way to go.
The food in the camp was made by Ali and Adel. Adel is the main camp dude that doesn't speak english, desperately wants to learn, but forgets everything the next day. He's a devote Muslim, prayed 8000 times a day (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a tad), either way, you will get no trouble from Adel. The food is good, plentiful and cooked well, the breakfasts are simple, the evening meals are more grand. You can eat in the Bedouin tent, there are tables and chairs in there. While I was there, Ali did a couple of zerbs, where they cook the meat in the ground a la Bedouin style. I bet you could talk him into doing that as he is quite the pyromaniac.
This camp is quiet, the road that passes it used by a farmer and that's about it. In the morning, I would perch myself on the edge of the rocks overlooking the wadi, close my eyes, bask in the sun and listen to the Bedouins yell back and forth in their sing-song way in the valley, play their flutes and hear the jingle of sheep bells as they trundle up and down the valley floor. It was otherworldly and peaceful...I was very relaxed here and did a great amount of writing.
The accommodation is simple, single beds off the floor...2 per tent. There are 12 beds all together. The tents overlook the wadi, so your morning view is breathtaking. Ali has made little bird baths around to try and attract birds. And he most recently has attracted a little cat that sits at the door meowing for food (he's secretly terrified of this cat). The door to the tent can be locked, but I neve locked mine and Adel stood sentinel to make sure noone took my stuff. (He hated that I never locked my door, because he was sure that he'd be blamed if something went missing, so he was on high alert -- in otherwords, very trustworthy).
What else? The toilets are Arabic (hole in the ground), but clean and roomy. There are showers...cold, no hot water - but because I was there in the winter, Adel heated up a big pail of water for me and put it in the shower room so that I could bathe.
Transportation can be arranged...Ali and his band of brothers are always running people around the area. And one of his brothers, Nabil, owns the Dana Tower Hotel in Dana Village...the home that is now the craziest, mind blowing hotel on the planet, was once their home. It is a maze...very fun...you can eat there too if you trek on over to Dana through the Wadi. (Cool because you run into a bunch of Bedouins on the way and they will all want to have tea with you). There is usually a lot of energy at his brother's hotel, so if you want a break from the peace and quiet, you can go lose your mind at the Dana Tower Hotel.
Overall - this is a camp. It is rustic...but despite this I found it comfortable. It is cold in the winter, come with good clothes and your own sleeping bags if possible. It is not the Movenpik. This camp is for travellers that like the authentic experience of being with the people of the culture and in the nature that surrounds them. In their eyes what they are offering is luxury because they are still not living in anything much above the camp. I liked this camp because it hasn't lost its authenticity yet - I'm sure it will when it gets more popular, they all do. Assume that there are no amenities and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Therefore, I recommend this hotel to travellers that are looking for culture and authenticity and not the comforts of home.
Ali can be reached at: [--]
Ali can speak English and can write it okay....
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