Inside In2Jordan: Meet KhaledMeet Khaled Sabbah Atieg, In2Jordan’s colleague in Wadi Rum! Let him tell you about his job, his favourite places and what it’s like growing up in the desert.

Name: Khaled Sabbah Atieg
Age: 34 years old
Occupation: Tour guide and camp owner of Khaled’s Camp in Wadi Rum
Languages spoken: Fluent in Arabic and English

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: I have been working with In2Jordan for 6 years now.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is meeting new people every day! It is very nice is to help them explore and discover the desert of Wadi Rum, especially if they are visiting for the first time.

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: I think usually people who come to Jordan and Wadi Rum are most excited about Petra, the Dead Sea and of course Wadi Rum.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: There is not really a hard part in my job but what I don’t like when guest leave Wadi Rum and they are sad because they don’t have enough time to stay longer in the desert.

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. My favourite place in Jordan is Wadi Rum, of course! But I also like Petra as well as Um Qais and Jerash in the north of Jordan.

Q: What was it like growing up in Wadi Rum?

A: Growing up in Wadi Rum means being close contact to nature. 

There is  a big connection between me and the desert because I was born and grew up here. I’m in love with the desert and I cant imagine any life different.

Being a Bedouin means knowing how to live in the desert and how to survive with limited resources in food, water and technology. It also means to know how to appreciate everything that nature has to offer. Our rhythm of life is the rhythm of nature.

For us, it is important to keep our traditions with generosity and hospitality and welcoming people. I am really proud to be a Bedouin .

 

 

To find out more about Khaled and his camp, check out his website: http://www.wadi-rum.com/index.php

or follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WADIRUMCAMPING/

 

 

Inside In2Jordan: Meet Khaled

We notice that nowadays more often people choose to ‘’travel local’’. But what does it mean to travel local in Jordan and why would it be something for you? 

Did you ever wonder where your money would end up during your all-inclusive holiday?

Perfect, your holiday is arranged from A – Z, you don’t have to worry about anything. Your room is getting cleaned, three times a day a hot buffet meal is waiting for you and if you are bored of the beach and the swimming pools, then the inhouse ‘travel agency’’ can arrange a ‘jeep safari’, ‘local diner with authentic dance performance’ or a ‘camel tour’ in just a wink. Why not? It is often cheap, easy and arranged without any hassle and you will even have the idea that you have learned something about a new country. But, did you ever wonder about what kind of impact your dream holiday has on the local community and economy?

Wadi Araba

Often, your money will disappear and goes to all those who are working behind the scenes. For the locals, there’s nothing left. The wages are poor, working conditions bad and often Europeans are flown in to take over the reception and hostess work. Even worse, local tour guides can’t find business anymore when the tour operators take their own guides from abroad. The same counts for cab drivers and restaurant owners. They get an offer from the big companies. But in the end, they lose their profit on ridiculous high amounts of commission. It’s not worth to participate in the end. I am sure you cannot agree with this. But can you change this positively? You can, and it is even easier than you think!

Travel local!

This way, the local people and the country’s economy benefit from your stay. Make sure to choose how and where to book your next holiday wisely. There are numerous companies who do care about the country and their people. Like this, drivers and guides will be booked and paid directly instead of the money rolling from here to there before arriving in the country.

Something else you can do while traveling, participate in a community based project such as a local family dinner or come along for the day with a local farmer and see how he’s harvesting olives to make soap or oil out of it. Projects like these can be found in almost every country in the world. Have a sincere look at the holiday destination of your choice and sign up for one of those projects to support the locals.

Zikra initiative, local family dinner

Traveling local is not boring or old fashioned. Local destination experts know the ins and outs, like hidden gems and hotspots, that you definitely must visit during your holiday. Traveling local will certainly has a positive effect on your holiday experience.

Enough reasons to think twice about where to book your next holiday, so that you can ensure that local people get the profit they deserve and that your money is not disappearing behind other people’s back.

Traveling with In2Jordan automatically means that you are supporting Jordan’s locals. We choose our drivers and guides carefully. We know them and their family’s personally. In this way, we know that the profit goes to our drivers and guides and their families as well.

This list shows you 5 of the many community based activities that In2Jordan is offering in order to support local communities:

1) Local family dinner: Enjoy a fresh home-made dinner at a local family. Experience how Jordanians live. Enjoy a cup of sweet mint tea while listening to their stories.
2) Bedouin weaving workshop: Experience centuries of old weaving techniques together with the Woman from Udruh (Petra area). You will go home with a unique handmade souvenir.
3) Visit the woman’s initiative of Iraq al Amir: Let the ladies show you their handicraft skills: from making soap to pottery and handmade paper.

Local woman in Udruh, weaving course

4) Visit local initiatives in Ajloun: At the soap house, you can learn more about traditional soap making, don’t leave without buying one of the unique soaps.
5) Come along with a local Bedouin and his goats to experience what it’s like to be a herder in rural Jordan. This day you can experience in Feynan, a ecolodge situated in the middle of Jordan.

 

To get more information about community based itineraries and what excursions we offer, please click here.

Photo by @army.arch

One thing is clear: Za’atar seems to be many things, and everyone has a different opinion on what Za’atar actually is.

Having talked to a local chef, we settled on the fact that Za’atar can refer to a herb mix, as well as the herb itself (which is very similar or even the same as oregano).

What do you use it for?

Za’atar is very popular in the Middle East and definitely not one of the things you should miss while in Jordan! It is often used as a dip, on bread, for seasoning meat and vegetables or some even sprinkle it into hummus or yoghurt.

Where does it come from?

The Za’atar spice grows in the north of Jordan and in the Mediterranean Middle East. It has to be cleaned, dried and ground before it is mixed with other spices. Once it’s mixed, that is the Za’atar you can buy in the shops and on the markets. Ingredients and taste of Za’atar tend to vary slightly depending on the region, but you can always ask for the ingredients or to try it first.

Recipe for Manakish Za’atar

We asked the local chef for the most popular recipe with Za’atar: It’s Manakish Za’atar! It’s easily done, and every bloody beginner can do it: Simply mix the Za’atar spice (or oregano, whatever you have at hand) with sesame seeds and lemon salt, then add some oil to make it into a paste. Spread the mixture (Za’atar) on flat bread and chuck it into the oven for 10 minutes. Done.

If you feel like this is not enough, you can also add grated cheese into the mix (Gibna Manakish), or meat with onions and tomato (Lachma Manakish)!

Photo by: @Phil Oglesby