When you travel east of the King’s Highway to the desert lands (like Wadi Rum for example), you will undoubtedly meet and have tea with a Bedouin family in their camel or goat hide tent. Note: you will drink a LOT of tea on your trip through Jordan—they absolutely love it.
‘Bedouin’ translates to ‘nomad’ or ‘wanderer’ and the Bedouins make up about 30–40% of Jordan’s population. It is believed that they migrated from the Arabian Peninsula during the 14th and 18th centuries and despite urbanisation, some still practise a nomadic or semi-nomadic.
Their livelihood mainly revolves around herding and agriculture. With the secluded nature of their lifestyle, Bedouins are renowned for their love of traditional music and dance. If you’re lucky enough to camp in the desert during your trip, you will most likely be invited to join in these festivities after the sun has set.
The Bedouin people are broken down into different tribes that are usually made up of a few family units. Their sense of family ties and protecting their own is extremely strong as a result, and is one of the many facets of their ‘honour code’.
This honour code is the Bedouins’ way of maintaining ethics and keeping justice among tribes, and their devotion to it is paramount. It’s the reason they are such a welcoming and hospitable people (generosity is a highly valued virtue) and this has seeped into and ingrained itself in the rest of Jordan’s society. When you visit Jordan, you will definitely feel at home—just don’t forget it’s impolite to refuse gifts offered to you!