Get Wild in Jordan’s Wadi Rum
If you are looking to get your Lawrence of Arabia adventure vibe on, carve out a few days in Jordan’s newest UNESCO World Heritage site Wadi Rum.
Often referred to as Moon Valley, wadi, which means valley and rum meaning high is a virtually untouched vast and haunting oasis, a maze of monolithic rock scapes located in southern Jordan. Over time weather and desert winds have carved out these imposing, towering natural skyscrapers that rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750m.
The varied desert landscape consists of a range of narrow gorges, natural arches, towering cliffs, ramps, massive landslides caverns and an endless desert scape that goes on and on as far and wide as the eye can see.
Archeological remains support human occupation in Wadi Rum as far back as 12,000 years ago. In more recent years, David Lean’s epic 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O'Toole, Alec Guiness and Omar Sharif, was largely filmed on location in Wadi Rum. Distant Heat uses the desert beds as their dance floor for the biggest electronic dance event of the year, which put Jordan on the international music scene.
Today you don’t have to make movies or music to capture the magic of Wadi Rum. Simply stop by Wadi Rum’s visitor’s center to make all of your arrangements in advance for your transport, overnights and your necessary supplies. Hire your 4x4 vehicle, together with a Bedouin driver and guide, and then drive for two or three hours into the Wadi system to explore the sites before settling in for the night..
Before kicking off, your Bedouin buddies will wrap a keffiyeh, a traditional cotton Arabian headdress on you. Not only is your keffiyeh desert chic, it protects you from the whipping winds and desert sand. Now you are ready to play the part.
While you barrel through the sand, be sure to stop at the Burdah Rock Bridge, the highest in Wadi Rum and considered one of the highest natural arches in the world at 35m high. The many natural challenges within Wadi Rum have made it a magnet for eco adventurists around the globe. You can hike, trek, climb, take camel or horseback riding safaris or simply balloon above the beauty below.
As you get closer, you may have to trek in on a camel for the final leg to your camp to keep the impact on your oasis at a minimum. While the Bedouins get busy building a chic and bespoke B&B, a Bedouin tent, you can take in the natural resort around you, sit on cliffs, take otherworldly images or simply soak in that soulful silence.
As the day delivers dusk, the campfire is set up as temperatures can drop dramatically from 32°C down to 4°C at night. Be sure to grab beverage supplies in advance for your traditional campfire meal accompanied by Arabic music.
Impassioned dancing in the dark, star gazing and spirited campfire conversations can and tend to continue through the night and well in to the early morning as you don’t want to miss a minute of the magic. It’s easy to see how T.E. Lawrence so eloquently described the area as “vast, echoing and God-like."
Planning on going to Wadi Rum Visitor Center? If so, know that visitors are required to call before proceeding with their itinerary.
Images by Karen Loftus