This is a stupendous, timeless place, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as vast, echoing and God-like
A maze of monolithic rockscapes rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750m creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers. Hikers can enjoy the tranquility of the boundless empty spaces and explore the canyons and water holes to discover 4000-year-old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in store.
Also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’, this is the place where Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and T.E. Lawrence based their headquarters during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in World War I, their exploits intrinsically woven into the history of this amazing area.
There are several options for exploring Wadi Rum. Visitors should head for the Visitors' Centre where, apart from visitors’ facilities, they can hire a 4x4 vehicle, together with driver/guide, and then drive for two or three hours into the Wadi system to explore some of the best known sites. Alternatively they can hire a camel and guide. The duration of the trip can be arranged beforehand through the Visitors' Centre, as can a stay under the stars in a Bedouin tent, where they can enjoy a traditional campfire meal accompanied by Arabic music.
Once transport has been arranged, there are various excursions available - for example, a trip to Burdah Rock Bridge, the highest in Wadi Rum, via the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and many other interesting sights, is a full day by car or an overnight trip by camel. There are many alternative routes and information on these is available from your tour operator or from the Visitors' Centre on-site.
The Bedouin people that inhabit the area still maintain their semi-nomadic lifestyle. They are hospitable and offer a friendly welcome to visitors, often inviting them to sit and enjoy a coffee or even a meal.
FUN & ADVENTURE
If you like adventure, you'll love Wadi Rum. Here you can hire a camel and follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, climb the highest peaks, or take a safari trip across the rolling sand dunes in a 4x4 vehicle. You can explore by foot the hidden canyons and discover the secret messages carved in the walls over four thousand years ago, or take a hot air balloon trip and soar with the eagles high above this amazing site.
By far the best way to explore the area is by foot and there are excellent opportunities for unusual treks. Many of these will take you down virtually unexplored canyons, or ‘siqs’, where ancient Thamudic inscriptions and drawings can be seen carved into the rocks, and Nabataean steps can be found leading to higher places. Also to be discovered are Lawrence’s Well, a Nabataean temple, desert oasis, and amazing rock bridges. Everywhere are breathtaking panoramic views and a sense of deep tranquillity.
For experienced rock-climbers there are climbs reaching 1,700m, and vary between Grade 3 and 5 in difficulty. The rocks are sandstone and excellent climbs are possible, often exceeding the quality and length of those in places such as the Italian Dolomites. Climbers must enquire in advance from the Visitors' Centre, as climbs are restricted and must be accompanied by an experienced Bedouin guide.
Although a common way to explore Wadi Rum is by Jeep safari, many of the more secluded areas are inaccessible to vehicles. Camels offer a more authentic and eco-friendly mode of transport, as does horse-riding. Camel and horse caravans can be arranged through the Visitors' Centre and include trips between Aqaba, Wadi Rum and Petra. Horse-riding tours are available from independent tour operators and should be booked in advance.
Night walking in Wadi Rum during the summer months is a surreal experience, but not for the fainthearted. Only experienced walkers should undertake this activity as it is easy to become disoriented in this vast wilderness. However, those who do it are always deeply impressed by the experience.
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