Sun City Camp Review: Stay in Jordan’s Original Martian Domes
There are few places on earth like Wadi Rum, the protected desert area in southern Jordan. It’s for this reason that you see it represented as other planets in so many films; Wadi Rum is truly otherworldly in its beauty.
Since Wadi Rum is not a one-day destination, you’ll need accommodation for at least one night there during your Jordan itinerary. But how can you choose among the many options for Wadi Rum camps now available? In my opinion: go with one of the pioneers – Sun City Camp – which was one of the first large camps in Wadi Rum and pioneered the “Martian” domes you now see all over social media.
If you’re uncertain whether to stay at Sun City Camp based on your Jordan trip research, I’m here to help. In this Sun City Camp review, I’ll share my experience staying here twice – once in 2016 and again 2022 – and whether I think this particular camp is worth staying at. As you’ll see, I’m loyal to this particular camp and will continue to stay in the future, and after reading, I hope you will too.
Choosing a Wadi Rum Camp
In the six years since my first visit to Jordan, a lot has changed in Wadi Rum: a large number of new camps have popped up throughout the desert area. Most of these are capitalizing on the ideas that Sun City pioneered with “Martian domes” and varying levels of luxury accommodation.
I’ve shared my personal list of the best Wadi Rum camps, and after a return visit, I stand by my assertion that Sun City Camp is one of the best. While they may not be as flashy or have as many Instagram influencers staying there, they’re an established company that takes care of guests and provides a nice stay at a reasonable price.
To be clear, there are plenty of choices if you don’t like Sun City Camp or want more or less from your stay in Wadi Rum. I personally will keep returning to Sun City Camp because they’ve been reliably great to stay.
Sun City Camp Review (Video)
In addition to the many photos of Sun City Camp you’ll find in this review, I wanted to share a few videos I made following our stay. As you can see, even photos don’t quite capture the magic of this place.
For more details, read on to decide if Sun City Camp is right for you. (Spoilers: it is!)
Bedouin Tents vs. Martian Domes
Your primary choice at Sun City Camp is to choose between their Bedouin tents (black and white striped rectangular tents with interior walls) or their Martian Domes. I believe Sun City Camp was the first to introduce the geodesic domes; I actually covered it for Lonely Planet back when it was first announced in TK. In any case, the choice is really up to you and your budget.
Most of the tents now have big windows facing out across the desert, just like the domes, so you don’t miss out on the view for choosing one over the other. They also all have either one double or two twin beds and a full bathroom with shower.
I am personally partial to the Martian domes because I’m a big space nerd, but you’ll be equally comfortable in either one.
Inside the Domes & Tents at Sun City Camp
If you’re curious about what it’s like inside the Martian Domes at Sun City Camp, I recommend watching the videos I shared above, especially the second one. That gives you a really accurate sense of the size of each tent and what’s included.
In short, the domes are quite large and can fit either a queen or two twin beds comfortably. There’s also a seating area, a small kitchenette with a mini-fridge and coffee maker, and a closet. There’s a full bathroom with a large shower and western-style toilet and sink so you have all the creature comforts despite being out in the desert.
The traditional Bedouin-style tents at Sun City Camp are similar: they can have a double bed or two twins, and have all the standard amenities. The main difference is that the tents are square compared to the domes.
Both tents and domes have a large window facing out toward the desert (all face the same direction, so you aren’t looking in at a neighbor from your tent or dome) and thick curtains to close during the day and keep the heat out.
Meals & Amenities at Sun City Camp
During a stay at Sun City Camp, full-board means you’ll have all three meals included each day (or dinner/breakfast for a single-night stay). Buffet meals are provided in the giant dome – another new development since my first stay so many years ago. In the dome, there are tables and chairs for parties of all sizes, or you can take your food out to the seating areas near the main tent.
Each night, Sun City Camp has a traditional Zarb dinner; this is a must-try if you’re visiting Jordan. Zarb is a goat and chicken dish cooked in a subterranean oven, and there’s a big show of pulling out the three-tier cooking tray each evening before dinner is served.
Additionally, there’s a bar area where you can order tea and coffee; I’m not sure if alcohol is offered, but personally I avoid alcohol when I’m in the desert since it’s already so easy to get dehydrated!
Add-On Excursion Options
During your stay at Sun City Camp, you’ll want to enjoy all of the other activities available at Wadi Rum. The staff at Sun City can help you book any of the following, especially if you reach out in advance:
- Sunrise or sunset camel ride (Having done both, I recommend sunset)
- Sunrise, morning, afternoon, or sunset Jeep or 4×4 tour to some of Wadi Rum’s famous sights and sites
- Hot air ballooning (seasonally)
- Hiking (of various lengths)
- Stargazing (offered in partnership with Rum Sky)
While it might not seem like there’s much to do in the desert, there are plenty of activities to enjoy that can be arranged through Sun City Camp during your stay; most (if not all) will have an additional cost so I recommend reaching out to schedule them in advance once you book your stay.
Sun City Camp Review: My Overall Thoughts
As you can probably tell, I love staying at Sun City Camp and plan to do so on future Jordan trips. There are lots of options for Wadi Rum camps nowadays, but Sun City is one of the originals – and they’re still great. They’ve been successful and able to grow the property adding Martian domes and the giant dining dome as well as large windows to the Bedouin tents; I expect they’ll continue to innovate and improve their experience in the future.
Recapping my Sun City Camp review, I absolutely recommend a stay at this Wadi Rum camp. You can enjoy all of the best that Wadi Rum has to offer during your stay at Sun City Camp, from sleeping ‘under’ the stars to incredible traditional meals and Bedouin hospitality. While other Wadi Rum camps might get more attention on social media, you can’t go wrong with an established accommodation like Sun City Camp – and it’s closer to the main road cutting down on travel time across the desert.
Ready to book your stay at Sun City Camp? Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com; rates start from about $170 per night.
Have any other questions about staying at Sun City Camp and my review? Let me know in the comments and I’ll help you decide if this is the perfect camp for your Wadi Rum accommodation.
How much per night stay in the Martian dome in USD? Do you have any special activities going on in your cam? Do you provide airport pick up? I’m a solo traveler.
James, I am not the provider – you need to contact them directly to inquire about availability and cost.
Wonderful review, thank you.
I wonder if you might be able to tell me about the level of cleanliness, please? (I’ve been reading a lot about the fact that it would be advisable to take your own sheets and blankets (!) to some camps because they look so dirty.)
And are the Martian Domes spacious enough for us to have our suitcases with us in them (we’re doing a longish tour and are taking full-size cases)? Many thanks.
I noticed absolutely no issues with cleanliness during our stay, and the domes are quite large – I have a video about them here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CcA8C-9lKn3/
Eco Pods NZ
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Glad to help – thanks so much for reading!