Rising out of the sand are towering sandstone mountains juxtaposed with a moonscape of ancient valleys; Wadi Rum is home to many Bedouin tribes that live in camps spread throughout the desert. It is an exceptionally stunning span of valleys and desert south of the Shara Mountains. Once referred to as “vast, echoing and godlike” by T.E. Lawrence, its natural beauty is paramount, and led to its declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
Off the desert highway 5 kilometres south of Quweira and 25 kilometres north of Aqaba, you will find the main route to Wadi Rum. From there, the road extends about 28 kilometres, ending at the Desi villiage—the dwelling for several hundred Bedouin tribes living in concrete houses or goat-hair tents. This village boasts a few shops, a school, accommodation, and medical centre. Public transport to Desi is quite difficult so we recommend that you take your own vehicle.
Visitors can choose from a number of different desert camps (please ask us if you’d like some recommendations), which more or less offer the same services. Depending on what kind of camper you are, there are several levels of accommodation to suit your needs. From sleeping in a traditional Bedouin tent for those of you that want the authentic desert-life experience; to standard tents with beds; or for the less enthusiastic camper, dome tents with mattresses, duvets and pillows.
There are several ways to explore Wadi Rum. Jeep tours and camel rides at dawn or dusk are the most popular way to experience the vast expanse of desert. Traditional meals are usually enjoyed by guests out in the open or in traditional Bedouin tents; followed by music and entertainment that goes on into the night.
The best way to see Wadi Rum in our opinion however, is by hiking and camping. If you have a sense of adventure, travelling on foot gives you a chance to experience the vast silence of the landscape. If you do decide to take this option, don’t forget to bring plenty of water (2–3 litres per person, per day), food, sleeping bag, comfortable walking shoes, and a local Bedouin guide!
Hardcore adventurers can put their skills and endurance to the test by climbing Jabal Rum—Jordan’s highest mountain. It is a gruelling and treacherous challenge, and a guide is definitely recommended for this 10 hour round-trip.