A wonderful trip, with a new highlight every day.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were lots of memorable moments, none of which I'd describe as "inspirational", however the experience I'll savour most perhaps was one that no-one else shared.
I walked just 10 minutes from the camp in Wadi Rum to watch the sun rise over the wilderness. The only other signs of life were a few camels trotting across the sand, and some rose finches and grackles waking up. It felt as if I had the whole desert to myself.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Dougan is great, hugely knowledgeable about the history of his country and very engaging. And you'll never spend too long at any one time on the bus - he'll need a cigarette stop sooner or later!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Ladies' dress code: t-shirts are fine, but stick to long trousers/skirt. Even on the beach in Aqaba no women are in shorts - most were covered head-to-toe, even in the water. We were all a bit embarrassed seeing other tour groups (mainly Italian, Spanish and Eastern European) dressing insensitively, in strappy tops and skimpy shorts (men and women!).
You'll have to leave your main luggage in a store room when you go to Wadi Rum, so make sure you take a day sac or foldable holdall to take your overnight things in the 4WDs to the camp.
Take plenty of hand gel, and use it. And stick to bottled water, even for cleaning your teeth.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
I wasn't prepared for the hordes of other tour groups we met at almost every stop until we got to Aqaba. Perhaps I should have been - but at least you will be now! Dougan was a star at making sure we avoided the pinch-points and there seemed to be an unspoken agreement between the guides not to get in each others' way, so we didn't miss anything.
Be warned: the toilets in Wadi Rum were minging the night we were there. There were only two toilets between about 40 people staying in the camp that night, and there was no water to flush them with. No need to describe the state of them with a few people suffering from the Wadi Runs ...
Also, if you're staying in the Shepherd Hotel, be aware that it's next door to a mosque - you'll get a very loud wake-up call to prayer in the early hours, but it's all part of the experience.
All in all it was a wonderful experience, which opened the door on a whole new culture to many of us, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.