After 10 days in Amman, we headed to Wadi Rum for our first stop on our tour of the South. The roads in Jordan are good, but you may have to do a bunch of backtracking, as the exits are not always where they need to be. In most cases you will be travelling the Kings’ Highway.
This is a 720 km2 area of vibrant red rock and sand. It was declared a protected area in 1998, and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. Wadi Rum is also known as the Valley of the Moon. As we found out afterwards, it was the setting for the movie “The Martian”.
Once you have your ticket you pass through a monitored gate. They are just checking for tickets. There is a small town with a welcome area. This is the staging ground for guides to meet up with their respective groups. If you came in a car, the car stays in the parking lot.
In many cases, your guide is also your driver, and your cook. How long it takes to get to your camp depends on who are with and where they are situated. As much as they are considered bedouin camps, they are relatively permanent, basically just a tourist camp. There are proper toilets, though everything else could be moved. If you are expecting to be staying with bedouins, you will be disappointed.
Most people only one to two nights in a camp. Personally, I would recommend staying two nights; we only stayed one. There is not a lot to see per se, but the peacefulness of the area is a huge attraction, for me, anyway. Kids have the ability to hike, climb and explore with no restrictions and I would have loved to do a twilight hike.
When the sun went down and stars came out, the temperature also drops. There are fires inside and out, but you will need your base layer. During the day you will be shedding it quickly.
The last time we saw the night sky in its full regalia, of stars and constellations, was in Colca Canyon, Peru. There we sat on lawn chairs to watch the night sky, here it is sand and no chairs. I think next time I would hike up a rock formation and lie back on it; it would be cleaner and warmer. I have kinda had my full of sand from sand boarding in Huacachina
First thing after breakfast, which is early, you pack up and go on the tour. The guide takes you to a small siq in the rocks with some Nabatean rock paintings and carvings; however, they are quite faint, which is understandable. There is also a small camp here with souvenirs and tea. We really like the traditional tea.
Next, is on to a rock bridge which has a great view from above. With all the driving and bouncing, getting out to climb is appreciated.
The third spot is a large sand dune that is leaning against a rock formation. Magpie decided to give the climb ago and headed off without shoes on to the top. Another great view, but do not try to climb a sand dune with shoes, much easier and faster with your bare feet.
After one to two hours, the tour is done and you are back at the Welcome Centre. A whirlwind tour and off to the next place for a few days….Petra.