The entire Arab world was born from the Bedouin. For thousands of years our ancestors have made their home in the wilds of Arabia. Widely respected and renowned throughout the known world as masters of the desert, the Bedouin have perfected the art of survival in one of the world’s harshest environments. Their courage, code of honor and generous hospitality has long been legendary. Many Bedouin tribes continue their nomadic lifestyle today, setting up their hand-woven, goat- and camel-hair tents wherever the wind takes them. Our tribe, the Zalabiyah, has protected the desert area of Wadi Rum for centuries. True to our Bedouin heritage, we take pride in showing our guests the utmost in hospitality.
Chief Attayiq, pictured in Desert Police (1945)
I am Eid, the youngest of the six sons of Chief Attayiq, the first Bedouin to show tourists the marvels of Wadi Rum. After managing the Bedouin effort in the filming of Lawrence of Arabia in the early 1960s, Attayiq led the very first tourists through Wadi Rum, hosting a British group for a full month and showing them some of the area’s mountain hikes, stunning vistas and ancient sites. When climbers Tony Howard and Di Taylor arrived in the 1980s to explore and open up its wealth of climbing routes, it was again my father who hosted them and my family who guided them throughout the region. Despite settling in Wadi Rum village, our family has maintained many aspects of our Bedouin heritage. We continue to pass down our intimate knowledge of the desert, and often take tourists to visit our relatives that have retained purely nomadic lifestyles. All my sons know and love the region well, and can easily find their way through all corners of the desert, navigating by the stars, cooking traditional Bedouin food, identifying good and harmful plants and tending to their own camels since the earliest ages.
My name is Ali. I am the oldest son of Eid Attayiq and I was born here in Wadi Rum. The desert is my favorite place in the world. Even though I have been here all my life, I am still amazed every time I go into the desert. I started going with tourists from as far back as I can remember. My favorite place in all of Wadi Rum is near our camp, because when I was young I lived with our grandfather there. I like taking people on our longer tours because it gives a chance to see all the colors of the desert.
I also love the desert, and can’t choose a favorite spot because I love them all so much. Since we were very young, our family has been hundreds of times to the desert. My passion is the Oud, which I practice playing for hours each day. My family loves listening to it. I bring it to our campsite sometimes so we can play Bedouin music under the stars.
My name is Hussein. I love the deserts, the mountains and the stars, especially at night. I lived in the desert when I was young, and love to return to it, specially to our camp under Jebel Araqqa, which is where we lived with my grandfather. We have been there thousands of times and always love it. My favorite camel is Saffran, whom I raised since his mother died when he was only three months old. We know each other very well, and I have taught him how to carry people through Wadi Rum.
I am Mohammed, the fifth son of Eid Attayiq. Like my brothers, I love the desert the most. I especially love the mountains. There are so many places to climb and explore in Wadi Rum. Since I was young my camel has been Shailan, a good, strong camel that is also friendly. I am happy to begin showing tourists my home of Wadi Rum.