For travellers, weary after a long journey, a Bedouin camp was an oasis in itself. You might be surprised to know that those Bedouin nomads loved taking in almost anyone passing through their area.
For Bedouins, this was more than just a “nice thing to do”; Arabic culture is based on hospitality. For generations, people in the Arab world have seen welcoming travellers and outsiders as a sacred duty, part of what it means to be human.
That’s why, in the Arab World, there are long-standing rituals to show hospitality to those passing through. Here are two of those most famous, rose water and Arabic coffee.
When entering a Bedouin camp, you’ll always be greeted in the same way. Standing at the entrance of the camp, a Bedouin will welcome you holding a jug of rose water. Before entering the camp, they will pour a bit of the scented liquid into your hands.
The goal here is to clean your hands and wash away any foul smells that you might have picked up when travelling . Especially after a long stint of traversing the desert, this is oftentimes a much-needed pick-me-up.
Made from Coffea arabica beans (originating in the Middle East), Arabic coffee has been a staple of Bedouin hospitality for generations.
There are one of two ways they can greet you with this robust drink. If you’re presented with a half cup, that means you are welcome to come in and stay with the tribe for some time. A full cup, however, means that you have to drink up and be on your way.
Arabic coffee can be quite bitter if you’re not used to it. But rather than dilute the taste, traditionally, you can eat dates while you sip it. The sweetness of the dates helps to balance out the flavor and makes for quite a satisfying experience.
If you want to experience an authentic Bedouin camp, complete with rose water and Arabic coffee, explore the special experiences curated by Platinum Heritage. All of our desert safaris stay true to the Bedouin cultural tradition.
If you’re thinking of stopping over in Dubai, take a look at our full Dubai Stopover Guide.