The desert of Wadi Rum is a magical place in Jordan and its beauty is astounding. While many people travel through Wadi Rum on a tour to visit Petra, a stop within this site offers visitors a fantastic wilderness experience in the desert. From Bedouin hospitality to riding through the desert on a 4×4 jeep, Wadi Rum can’t be missed.
History of Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is 720 square kilometers of protected area in southern Jordan. Visitors are captivated by the tall sandstone mountains that reach up to 1500 meters high. Canyons cut their way through these mountains, creating pathways for visitors on foot. Other trails are best explored by camel or with jeep tours.
The Bedouin, Wadi Rum’s local people, have been living here for thousands of years. A traditionally nomadic tribe, the Bedouins were originally goat herders who moved from location to location throughout the desert. Many have become villagers but some still maintain the wandering lifestyle. Today, visitors can learn about their history and culture by staying at a Bedouin campsite overnight while visiting Jordan.
Within Wadi Rum, there are a number of sites worth seeing. Burrah canyon is the perfect place to watch the sunrise or sunset as the sun creates an orange glow on the rock. Visitors can find ancient rock inscriptions in the Khazali canyon or visit Lawrence’s spring, where Lawrence of Arabia is thought to have washed during the Arab revolt. Finally, don’t underestimate the challenge of climbing a desert sand dune. From the top, there is an amazing view of the desert landscape.
Visiting Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum can be visited easily from within Jordan or from Israel. The ideal visiting months are from March to May and September to November. The summer months can be extremely hot and the winter months have very cold nights.
One of the best ways to get the full Wadi Rum experience is with a tour. There are several Petra and Wadi Rum combination tours that leave from Eilat, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Aqaba and that include the entrance fees to Petra.
A few reminders for visitors, because of the desert climate, it is important to wear a hat and carry water with you at all times. With Bedouin culture, it is polite to ask permission before taking photos of the Bedouin people. Additionally for women, dress modestly out of respect for the culture of the people.
Wadi Rum is about a 3.5 hour drive from Amman, Jordan, and a one hour drive from Aqaba and the southern border crossing from Israel. Public transportation is available from both cities to the Wadi Rum Visitor Center.