Wadi Rum, Jordan
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 Bridgewhich 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 cardamon coffee in their black tents, perhaps sitting by the fire under a starry desert sky, will have an experience not to be forgotten.
Wadi Rum is an ideal location for hiking, climbing and trekking. Except in summer months, climbing the Rock Bridge here is unforgettable. 4x4 vehicle tours and hot air balloon riding at dawn and in the late afternoon are feasible with previous arrangement. Camel trips from the wadi to either Aqaba (several days) or Petra (about a week) may also be arranged.