Wadi Rum Desert Jordan
The Wadi Rum desert is the largest valley in Jordan. It’s an easy 40 mile drive east of Aqaba. Its Arabic name can be translated as “Valley of the Moon.” The atmosphere of this place might make you feel like you’re on the moon! With miles upon miles of desolate desert landscape, it feels very remote, isolated, and peaceful. This feeling may be diluted some if you’re venturing out there with a tour group. But if you can find your own private perch on the dunes, you can tune the world out, and hear the sound of silence in the desert, marveling at the magnificent red and blue hues before you.
Ways to Explore
There are many ways to explore the Wadi Rum desert. One of the most popular is to arrange a Jeep tour with local guides. The Jeeps hold 6 people, and descend into the desert in parade formation. It can get very windy – so hang on to your hat. The Jeeps make multiple stops along the tour, giving you a chance to try to hike up the sand dunes and get a panoramic view. If you want to get a bird’s eye view from the top of the dunes get ready for a real workout! It’s a lot tougher than it looks to walk uphill in sand! I became completely winded after trying to reach the top of a small dune that was the first stop on the tour. The Jeeps also stop at locations where you can resume your tour on the back of a camel or horse. I find camel-riding extremely comfortable. Their movement is smoother and less jerky than that of a horse.
The Jeeps also stop to give you a closer look at petroglyphs carved into the rocks in prehistoric times. It’s truly amazing that people could survive in this harsh environment with the lack of amenities that existed in prehistoric times. I found it completely humbling to ponder. The next time I think I’m not “comfortable” enough in modern life, I’ll try to remember these carvings. The other historical context of the Wadi Rum desert is the Lawrence of Arabia story. Many a tourist has come here to “walk in the footsteps” of Lawrence. He is a much-loved figure for all of the local Jordanians I spoke with, who credit him for his role as a brilliant strategist in helping the Jordanians achieve victory during the Arab Revolt.
The stops along your tour are also likely to include visits with local Bedouin people living here in canvas tents. The Bedouins are very hospitable, and happy to invite visitors into their cozy homes. Beautiful carpets are piled up on the floor, and you’re invited to have a seat on benches while you’re served delicious mint tea and a snack, and introduced to Bedouin culture. Following your cultural introduction, you’ll have a chance to support the Bedouin community by purchasing local crafts and other wares. I found the prices extremely reasonable. Haggling is also acceptable, and I strongly encourage it. I was most impressed by their beautiful scarves.
If you’re lucky enough to be spending the night in the Wadi Rum desert, you’ll be treated to a sea of stars lighting up the clear night sky. You can arrange to spend the night, or multiple nights, “glamping” at a Bedouin-style camp. In some of these camps you will not be “roughing it;” the amenities are quite impressive for being out in the desert. My group toured one, and afterwards, I was determined to return and spend several nights! I hope you have the chance to experience this fascinating desert oasis. It is the ultimate escape from the chaotic nature of the cities many of us are visiting from. Soak it in, and let it refresh and restore you before your return to the treadmill of daily life back home!
Join My Journeys
I thank you for reading, and hope you’ll check out my video tour of the Wadi Rum desert at the top of this post. I also hope you’ll “join my journeys” by following me here on the Ultimate Travel Adventures blog and on my YouTube travel channel which you can view here. And if you’re into studying foreign languages, I hope you’ll check out my brand new language-study dedicated sister YouTube channel here! Want to read about more travel in the Middle East? I’ll have a post on Aqaba, Jordan coming soon. In the meantime, check out my blog post on the Pyramids of Giza here!