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Wonders of Wadi Rum

Wonders of Wadi Rum

 

While a great deal has been written about Petra, far less has been written about Wadi Rum, and much of that is specialized information. Many tourists to Jordan know little about it; except that it is a place to visit and that it is supposed to be beautiful.
 
A journey to Wadi Rum is a journey to another world, a vast, silent place, timeless and starkly beautiful. Wadi Rum is one of Jordan's main tourist attractions being the most stunning deserts cape in the World, lying 320 km southwest of Amman, 120 km south of Petra, and only 68 km north of Aqaba.
Uniquely shaped massive mountains rise vertically out of the pink desert sand, which separate one dark mass from another in a magnificent desert scenery of strange breathtaking beauty, with towering cliffs of weathered stone. The faces of the sheer rock cliffs have been eroded by the wind into faces of men, animals and monsters. 
Wadi Rum is probably best known because of its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and as the setting for the film that carried his name "Lawrence of Arabia". 

Everywhere in this moonscape place are indications of man's presence since the earliest known times. Scattered around are flint hand axes, while on the rocks at the feet of the mountains the names of ancient travelers are scratched. All around, there is emptiness and silence. In this immense space, man is dwarfed to insignificance. 

The valley floors are some 900-1000 meters above sea level, and the great sandstone crags rise sheer, a further 500-550 meters. Jabal Rum is the highest peak in the area and the 2nd highest in Jordan. Others are some 27 km north of the Rum village like Jabal Kharaz and Jabal Burdah with its Rock Bridge which is one of Wadi Rum's most popular attractions. 

There are many ways to explore this fragile, unspoiled desert retreat. Serious trekkers will be drawn to Wadi Rum, with challenging climbs some 1750 m high, while casual hikers can enjoy an easy course through the colorful hills and canyons. Naturalists will be drawn to the desert in springtime, when rains bring the greening of the hills and an explosion of 2000 species of wildflowers. Red anemones, poppies and the striking black iris, Jordan's national flower, all grow at will by the roadside and in more quiet reaches. 

Stunning in its natural beauty, Wadi Rum epitomizes the romance of the desert. Now the home of several Bedouin tribes, Wadi Rum has been inhabited for generations. These hospitable and friendly desert people are settled in Wadi Rum in scattered nomadic camps throughout the area. Visitors who are invited to share mint tea or cardamom coffee in their black tents, perhaps sitting by the fire under a starry desert sky, will have an experience not to be forgotten. 

The desert tribes, Huweitat and Mzanah, inhabiting Wadi Rum maintain the warm hospitality which characterizes genuine Arab culture. It would be difficult to resist their friendly invitation to share mint tea or cardamom-flavored coffee in their black tents. Enjoy the hospitality whilst sitting by the fire under a starry desert sky - an unforgettable experience.

Before reaching Wadi Rum, visitors will encounter the fort of the Wadi Rum Desert Patrol. The patrolmen are friendly, hospitable and will answer questions willingly over a cup of coffee. 

Perfect ambassadors for their country, the men of the famous Desert Patrol wear perhaps the most beautiful uniforms in the Middle East: a long khaki dish-dash held by a bright red bandoleer, a holster with a dagger around the waist, and rifle slung over the back. The headdress is the traditional red-and-white checkered Kouffieh worn by the Bedouins of Jordan, but wrapped under the chin. The Desert Patrol operates out of an old beau guest-style police fort built in the 1930s. 
 
Accommodation in the Wadi Rum consists of desert camps. Below are images of what a typical desert camp looks like. All our Jordan tours visiting Wadi Rum make use of deluxe camps with excellent shower and bathroom facilities as well as delicious meals prepared by the Bedouins.

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