The desert always seemed a foreign landscape to me, until I took a trip to the Jordanian desert, Wadi Rum. This desert is not well known, perhaps in the past years it started to attract an increasing number of foreign tourists, but it is still not so popular. This is why now it is a good time to go visit.
We drove from Amman to the village of Wadi Rum. It takes about four hours to get there, the distance is about 200 miles. The road is all highway, the Jordanian Desert Highway and it is pretty easy to drive. It becomes a bit more tedious after leaving the highway as you will drive on a two lane road, all the way to the Visitor center. Watch out for camels!! They sometimes might be by the side of the road and could cross in front of you.
At the Visitor center there is a guard and he’ll ask where you’re going. After clearing with them, you will drive all the way to the Wadi Rum village( the Wadi Rum Visitor Center).This was our pick up place because we stayed over night at a camp and we took several tours.
Wadi Rum has been the home of many human cultures since prehistoric times. The Nabataeans, the ones under which Petra flourished, also lived there. There are many marks in the form of rock paintings and graffiti. It looks like an open-air library! Too bad I can’t read Nabataean or Thamudic …haha.
In more recent times, Wadi Rum became known in connection to a British officer, T A Lawrence, also nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia. He was renowned for his liason role in the Arab revolt of 1916. The Arab revolt was a military uprising of Arab forces against the Otoman Empire. Lawrence developed a close relationship with Faisal, one of the leaders of the uprising, and supported him. Faisal later became the king of of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and the King of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933.The movie Lawrence of Arabia(1962), which was inspired by T A Lawrence, was filmed here, in Wadi Rum.
Welcome to Mars
I am not kidding! Once you enter the Rum you’ll feel like you have left Earth! The red sand and the strange shaped sand stone mountains create a Mars like landscape. No wonder the movie the Red Planet (2000) used Wadi Rum as the surface of Mars!
There is a large diversity of landforms here, from the gargantuan rock mountains with towering cliffs, to sweeping sand dunes and narrow gorges.
Why you will fall in love with the desert
Wadi Rum is a strange and beautiful place. I loved everything about it, but most of all, I loved the silence!!! I have never ever been in a place where all the sounds are shut down, no….not like this….
You feel like the world stops, that your thoughts begin to settle down and that you start accessing the deep layers of your mind and soul….
You find the deeper you in the stillness of the desert.
There are no hotels in Wadi Rum. But there are several Bedouin campsites with many facilities and also wild campsites with no amenities. We stayed at the Wadi Rum Luxury Camp Site.
I chose this place because I wanted to experience those bubble tents that have a clear roof. I read before that Wadi Rum is also known as the Valley of the Moon due to the beautiful night’s sky. I wasn’t disappointed! The desert sky has no match. It was so clear with an astonishing show of stars, as if you could see the entire Milky Way and its sister galaxies.
We woke up at 5 in the morning to go see the sunrise. I put a scarf on because I didn’t know if it will be windy and I’ll need it to cover from dust. The other day while we were driving we experienced a mild sandstorm and the sand got into our eyes, nose and ears. Never forget to get a scarf with you in the desert!
We hired two Bedouins who promptly presented themselves with their jeep and whisked us away. After driving through the desert for about 40 minutes we finally stopped . They said this was the best place to see the sunrise….and they were right……
The sun came up behind the mountains and the darkness became day……….just like that, here in the desert, where everything seems still.
Our Bedouin guides and companions came well equipped. We had no idea what they were doing….but we were watching them gathering something! It was dried roots to build a fire!They made us tea ..….
I highly recommend you try something like this, it is not very expensive and the Bedouins are very friendly, kind people and professional guides. For many of them this is the main way they support their families.
Wadi Rum is a special place that I recommend to anyone planning to travel to Jordan.
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