Wadi Rum, deserto della Giordania

Wadi Rum, the desert of Jordan. What to see and how to visit it

For the English officer Thomas Edward Lawrenceknown to most as Lawrence of Arabia, is “like a deity”. For those who manage to spend a night in one of his tented camps it is the guarantee of a great emotion, when the sun falls behind the granite mountains and everything turns red. The Wadi Rumthe desert of Jordan, however, it is always a magical place where nature reveals itself. And where man finally understands his own smallness and fragility.

In any case, Wadi Rum is an unmissable stop on a trip to Jordan. And if it’s not a dune desert however, it is a treasure trove of wonders. The landscape is formed by granite and sandstone mountains sculpted by millennia of erosion, with wind and water patiently carving the rock.

Wadi Rum, the desert of Jordan. How to get there and when to go

The Wadi Rum is in the part southern of the Jordan and can be reached thanks to the highway that runs between the capital Amman and the coastal resort of Aqaba which is one forty kilometers. Leaving the motorway, follow a secondary road which in 20 km leads to the entrance to the protected area (it is also UNESCO heritage): here is the Wadi Rum Visitors Center where it is easy to organize visits and tours while for i overnight stays it’s better book early. So many local guides deliver camel tours, hiking in off road half day or full day. A tip: avoid the coldest and hottest seasons because in the desert you can have really extreme conditions.

Even if one day trip in Wadi Rum offers the chance to see spectacular views it is certain that the best way to experience the desert is to stay a little longer. And camp for the night. The stop allows you to see the desert at dusk and dawn, when the colors of the mountains and sand soften and shine in the fading light. Without artificial lights, then, the night sky turns itself into a spectacle and allows you to admire a number of amazing star.

Campsites and guides

Several small tour companies based in the Bedouin villages they operate campgrounds within the park. The overnight stay can be booked on the websites and in some cases upon arrival at Wadi Rum Visitor Center. In general i tented camps are small ee scattered throughout the park area. All offer an experience glampingwith accommodations in individual tent (usually with real beds) and an area of bathrooms separate, to be shared. Obviously dinner, breakfast and transportation are included in the overnight stay.

There are also tours organized by big agencies from Aqaba, Petra And Amman but they often offer accommodation in campsites on the edge of the park: in those areas the panorama is usually less suggestive and it is very large structures, where the emotion of the night is lost in the silence of the desert.

A trip to see Wadi Rum, the desert of Jordan, offers the opportunity to admire different landscapes, created by nature over the millennia. It passes by expanses of sand streaked with orange and pink a crags towering as far as the eye can see. But there are some points that cannot be missed.

The Lawrence Myth

We said it before: talking about the Wadi Rum you end up always quoting the mythical Lawrence of Arabia who spent a lot of time here at the time of the Arab revolt erupted during the WWI. And the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” made him a pop character. And an impressive cliff that is called is dedicated to this British officer The Seven Pillars of Wisdom like the book written by Lawrence. It’s about a huge cragwith the sides shredded from the wind and water in pillar-like shapes that stands out in the middle of the sand, very close to Wadi Rum Visitor Center. There is a viewing platform that offers an excellent view of this monolith. And it almost looks like a giant sculpture.

Continuing on traces of the English officer the path in Wadi Rum you get to source dedicated to Lawrence: the original name is Ain Ash-Shalalah and according to tradition it is the resting place mentioned in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. But there is more besides the literary quotation: the source area, shaded by trees and surrounded by rocks with ancient inscriptions, is located in the center of a sand plateau and one of the most famous views of Wadi Rum.

In the shadow of the canyon

There rock sculpted by the wind is the symbol of this desert: and the Khazali canyon demonstrates how time has etched the stone. This canyon runs through a massive rock formation and is a perfect subject for photos with its surface of sandstone rippled reminiscent of dripping candle wax. While the sand at the canyon entrance is streaked with pink and orange. Standing guard over the whole is a lonely fig tree.

Inside the canyon, the high walls provide shade in the sun and is deliciously fresh. The stone hosts cave inscriptions which show that the canyon has been used as a place of shelter since the ancient times.

Wadi Rum, desert of Jordan

Rock bridges and sand dunes

If, on the other hand, you don’t fear the heat and you love walking, you can go and see the Burdah rock bridge. Burdah is the highest of the three natural arches in the Wadi Rum area. It was created by the erosion of wind and water which has eroded the softer surrounding rock. The bridge is located at 80 meters high and the view from above is worth the effort.
The most popular though of the rock arches is the Umm Fruth. It is less difficult to reach since one is enough short climb on the rock face to get to the top. And from there you can walk along the bridge. This place is located near the area of sand dunes and to the rock face inscriptions of Anfaishiyyaso the three areas are perfect for a short off-road itinerary.

We conclude our guide Wadi Rumthe desert of Jordantalking about the symbol of the desert: the sand dunes. This is mostly a rock desert but there are areas in the middle of the park where dunes can be seen. The best time to try climbing them is around sunset. The heat will be less oppressive and the oblique light can give unexpected nuances. And then there desert palette, suddenly, it will show all its wealth.

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