Wadi Rum translates to ‘Valley of the Moon’, which is fitting, since this place looks like it could be found on a completely different planet. 😮
In fact, this valley was the recent filming location for The Martian, starring Matt Damon.
The movie is supposed to be set on Mars, which makes Wadi Rum perfect, for its vivid red rocks and desert sand.
All I’m missing is my space suit. 😉This valley was created many years ago, by natural splitting of granite rock and sandstone, through the vast Jordanian desert.
The first inhabitants of Wadi Rum were the Nabateans, and their inscriptions can be seen on numerous rock facades.
The carvings are of animals found within the desert, camels along the trading routes, as well as, religious Talmudic inscriptions, similar to those found in the Quran.Another famed figure springing from this desert was T.E. Lawrence, more commonly recognized in the Hollywood film, Lawrence of Arabia. T.E. Lawrence was an early 20th century author and officer who used his military background to help guide nomadic Arabs to revolt against the Ottoman Empire. His success in this desert, and contribution in this Arab coup led him to write the novel, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Current inhabitants of Wadi Rum are Bedouin nomads. They traditionally sustained a living through goat herding, using them to produce milk, meat, and yogurt.More recently, with the fame of Lawrence of Arabia, the Bedouins have earned a living through eco-adventure tourism.
The Bedouins have set up camps in desert, where visitors can tour the valley of Wadi Rum, and end their day sleeping beneath a blanket of stars. ❤
Camping with Bedouins in Wadi Rum
To get to Wadi Rum from Petra, I took a local bus, which cost 7 JD (10 USD) and took 3 hours.
There are heaps of camps to choose from, but based on reviews I found on both TripAdvisor and Facebook, I chose the Bedouin Lifestyle Camp.
Among the many excursions available at this camp, I chose a full day jeep safari, which cost 65 JD (91 USD).It included a 7-hour jeep tour across the desert, packed lunch, sandboarding excursion, complimentary tea and water, traditional Bedouin dinner, tent accommodation, breakfast the next day, and transportation to and from the Wadi Rum visitor’s center. Not too shabby for all that! 😀
Along with the New Zealander, there were four other people on my jeep. There was an accountant from Germany, an after-school teacher from Seattle, who was originally born in the Philippines, as well as, a LA based animation designer, originally from Thailand, who currently works for Walt Disney. Here is my crew. 😉Also at our camp, but in a separate jeep were a group of travelers from Bangkok. They all bought matching Jordanian outfits, and made this tour into their own desert photo shoot. 😛
Our guide for the day was Fayez, a Bedouin who grew up in Wadi Rum, and learned English to work in the tourist industry.
Nabatean Temple: Marble columned ruins dating back to the 14th century B.C. built to honor of the Gods of good foliage and fruit.
Lawrence’s Spring: A natural water source, based high on the mountainside. Now the water is sent down a pipe to the valley basin, for both the nomads and camels to enjoy.I used this stop as a chance to bond with the camels. ❤I figured, with my camel pants, they might accept me as one of their own. 😀Apparently I was wrong! Look out! He’s gonna spit! 😮
Home of Lawrence: The home and hideaway of Lawrence of Arabia, when he was leading the Arab Revolt.
Burrah Canyon: A long and deep canyon filled with desert foliage, as well as, brightly colored red and white sand.
Khazali Canyon: A deep fissure in the mountainside, filled with ancient Islamic drawings.
Um Frouth Rock Bridge: A gorgeous natural rock arch that’s quite easy to climb.
Although it’s easy to climb up, it’s recommended to crab crawl down. 🙂We also drove around to look at a smaller arch, a mushroom shaped rock, and overall just enjoyed driving around this gorgeous desert landscape. 😀
Sandboarding: Similar to snowboarding, it’s easy to ride the slopes of Wadi Rum’s high desert sand dunes.The bindings on the board don’t really matter, since you are unable to turn once you’re on the board.My advice is just to stand up, balance your body, and try to enjoy the ride. 🙂If you have any doubts about standing, butt-boarding is just as fun. 😛
In the beginning of the tour we were given a packed lunch, with the option of tuna or hummus. The bag was full of pre-packaged snacks, along with fresh veggies and humongous pita rounds.
I’ve never had hummus in a box before, but the portable option came in quite handy. 😀Sneaky cat trying to steal snacks during our lunch break. 😛We also stopped for a few tea breaks throughout the day. The tea here is called Bedouin whiskey, and is made with black tea, sage, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. If you prefer without sugar, ask for Bedouin beer. 😉
During the rest stops I also bought this solid perfume, which is perfect for travel, and smelled of sweet amber. ❤After a full day of desert activities, we were all exhausted and ready for a hearty nomadic meal. This is the dinner tent, imported from Saudi Arabia. 😀They had roasted chicken, onions and potatoes that they had cooked all afternoon in a kiln under the sand. The meat was tender and juicy, the onions were caramelized, and the potatoes had nice crispy edges.
Alongside the main, they served cucumber and tomato salad with tahini, rice and veggies, lentil soup, and chunks of crusty pita.Afterwards, we sat around the fire listening to some traditional Arab music, and the woman from Thailand even got up to do a little dance. 😉
I slept like a baby in my tent, partially due to exhaustion, but also because I had two warm blankets to crawl under, plus my guide, Fayez, lent me his black, camel-skin coat to wear. ❤The next morning, we enjoyed tea, coffee, pita, hummus, cheese, jam, and hard-boiled eggs, while taking in the last of this spectacular view. ❤Well, that wraps up my time in Wadi Rum. From there, I took a local bus back to Amman, which cost 14 JD (20 USD) and took 6 hours. Stay tuned to hear about my next travel itinerary, and find out where I’ll be heading next. Until then. 🙂