Jordan Discovery Day 2 – Wadi Rum

Where and when: Wadi Rum, Jordan. 1st February 2023

0715: Breakfast at Hotel Toledo in Amman. Good selection of local and international foods.

0800: Leave Amman, on desert highway heading South. Wadi Rum is 323 km away.

After getting out of Amman, the desert stretches out in front of us. The best views are from the right-hand side of the bus (i.e. not behind the driver). We also have a couple of rest-stops along the way. These provide good toilet facilities as well as selling refreshments and a wide array of sourvernirs.

Traveling South on the Desert Highway

1230: As we enter Wadi Rum, the landscape changes.

On the way to Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a designated nature reserve in Southern Jordan, stretching up to  74,000-hectare. It is a mixed natural and cultural site, a desert landscape consisting of a range of narrow canyons, natural rock arches, mountains and cliffs, sand dune and caverns.

On the way to Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is inhabited by Bedouin Tribes. The tribes have been historically nomadic, but many of them now reside in perment camps or at the purpose built Wad Rum Village. In recent years, tourism has developed in Wadi Rum, with visitors being provided accommodation in desert camps, desert safaris and camel tours etc. The tourist facilities are managed and run by Bedouin owners so that the income generated from tourism stays within the local area.

1245: At the Wadi Rum visitor centre. This is the official entrance to Wadi Rum.
It also provides great views of the 7 pillars of wisdom mountain, so named after the title of T.E. Lawrence’s (aka Lawrence of Arabia) book.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom Mountain

In recent years, many Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed here; The Martian, Star Wars, Zero Dark Thirty and Aladin, to name a few.

1315: We pickup lunch from the visitor centre restaurant and are soon on our way to the depths Wadi Rum. At the Wadi Rum Village we move from the tour bus to the 4×4 to begin our desert safari.

Desert Safari

Although it is sunny, it is also cold, especially when sitting outside on the back of the 4 x 4. So I wrap my scarf around my head and face as much as possible to protect against the constant mini-sand storms stirred up by the sudden gusts of wind.

Views from Wadi Rum Visitor Centre

During the tour we make several stops. First to look at the Lawrence’s Spring (so named after its description in the 7 pillars of Wisdom book.)

Second stop is the Al Ramal Sand dune. We clamber up to the top, bare foot and it provides great views of the surrounding desert.

Views from the sand dune

Stop number three is the Khazali canyon. It is a narrow gorge less that 100m in Jabal Khazali mountain. The canyon walls have many Nabatean and Islamic (Kufic) inscriptions and petroglyph rock drawings. The Nabatean carvings consist of many animals camels, people, pairs of feet, and spirits.

Inside the Khazali Canyon
Inscriptions inside Khazli Canyon

Next, we stop by the “Little Bridge” where we clamber to the top from which you can take pictures. The final stop is the Um Frouth Rock Arch. Only one of our group is brave enough to climb to the top.

Little Bridge
Um Frouth Rock Arch.

1700: Arrival at camp for the night. We are staying at the Quiet Village Desert Camp. The camp has individual tents for bedrooms and shared bathroom and toilet facilities.

Quiet Village Dessert Camp

There’s also a large cozy communal area with log fire and gas heaters and a constant supply of tea and coffee. There is very little hot water.

Communal Tent
Views from the communal tent

The bedrooms have electric lights and a plug socket (both of which which only work after 7pm when the generator is on) Perhaps, a sign of a times, despite basic accomodation, the WiFi is brilliant and better than the hotel in Amman.

Bedroom tent

1900: Dinner is Chicken Mandi. A traditional Arabic dish where the chicken and potatoes are cooked in an underground oven. We all get a chance to see how the food is uncovered from the underground oven (Although it has to be rushed inside to stop the sand getting to it). A great meal then followed, where we were treated to a buffet of chicken, potatoe and rice with various accompanying salads and hummus and baklava for dessert. There is also after dinner music in the tents.

2100: It is another early start tomorrow, so I decided to head to bed early, but not before arranging 4 blankets on my bed. Temperature has dropped to 4 degrees C since the sun went down and there is no heating in the bedroom tent. (I will tell you more in my next posted how I fared the night).

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