“Rum the magnificent… vast, echoing and Godlike… a processional way greater than imagination…” Those were the words used by the English writer and army captain Lawrence of Arabia to describe the desert of Wadi Rum. A place where he returned to time and again ‘to clear my senses… I would say, shall I ride on this time, beyond the Khazali, and know it all?’
A visit to Wadi Rum is a journey to another world, a silent and timeless place where you will be dwarfed to insignificance. In the desert of Wadi Rum the Bedouin people still live as they have been doing since time immemorial. They still wander through the desert looking for the best places to herd their sheep and goats, carrying their black tents with them wherever they go. You can dwell for days without meeting a soul. Apart from maybe a Bedouin family sitting in it’s goat-wool tent you are surrounded by sky-high cliffs of rose-red sandstone rock only.
Imagine yourself being a spice merchant, travelling through the desert to your next trading post. Experience the friendly hospitality of the Huweitat and the Mzanah, the Bedouin tribes who inhabit Wadi Rum. Enjoy the taste of their traditional Arabic meals. Seize the opportunity to spend the night in a traditional Bedouin camp, the moon and stars shining brightly above your head. Enjoy the desert sunset and watch the colours change from red to gold to brown. And read the inscriptions left behind as silent evidence of cultures gone.
FUN & ADVENTURE:
If you like adventure, you’ll love Wadi Rum. Here you can hire a camel and follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, climb the highest peaks, or take a safari trip across the rolling sand dunes in a 4×4 vehicle. You can explore by foot the hidden canyons and discover the secret messages carved in the walls over 4 thousand years ago, or take a hot air balloon trip and soar with the eagles high above this amazing site.
By far the best way to explore the area is by foot and there are excellent opportunities for unusual treks. Many of these will take you down virtually unexplored canyons, or ‘siqs’, where ancient Thamudic inscriptions and drawings can be seen carved into the rocks, and Nabataean steps can be found leading to higher places. Also to be discovered are Lawrence’s Well, a Nabataean temple, desert oasis, and amazing rock bridges. Everywhere are breathtaking panoramic views and a sense of deep tranquility.
For experienced rock-climbers there are climbs reaching 1,700 m, and vary between Grade 3 and 5 in difficulty. The rocks are sandstone and excellent climbs are possible, often exceeding the quality and length of those in places such as the Italian Dolomites. Climbers must enquire in advance from the Visitors’ Centre, as climbs are restricted and must be accompanied by an experienced Bedouin guide.
Although a common way to explore Wadi Rum is by Jeep safari, many of the more secluded areas are inaccessible to vehicles. Camels offer a more authentic and eco-friendly mode of transport, as does horse-riding. Camel and horse caravans can be arranged by us and should be booked in advance.
Because of its unique ecosystem, Wadi Rum is a great place for bird watchers as it is a route for bird migration, the spring and autumn being the best times of the year for this activity. There are a great number of different species to be seen either nesting in the rock faces or soaring on the thermals high above the cliffs. Vultures, Eagles and other larger species of birds can often be seen here too. It’s a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars with you.
Night walking in Wadi Rum during the summer months is a surreal experience, but not for the fainthearted. Only experienced walkers should undertake this activity as it is easy to become disoriented in this vast wilderness. However, those who do it are always deeply impressed by the experience.
Hot air ballooning
This is also an unforgettable way to view Wadi Rum. Ballooning trips are available during April to June and September to December. The balloons carry up to eight passengers and lift off early in the mornings, when the winds and thermals are right.