Where is Wadi Rum and what is it?

September 7, 2021
September 7, 2021 Beduin Guide

Where is Wadi Rum and what is it?

See for yourself that it is worth coming here.

Even if you are not a fan of science fiction movies, you have at least heard of titles like “Red Planet”, “The Martian” or “Rogue One: Star Wars”. What – apart from the subject matter – connects these films? Each of them, at least in part, was filmed in Wadi Rum – Jordan’s largest desert valley, very readily compared to Mars or the Moon. Its shape – stunning rock formations and the sand that changes colors depending on the time of day – make this wadi one of Jordan’s greatest natural attractions. The red color of the sand, raw, extraterrestrial landscapes, as if carved out of rock towers, arches, ledges and bridges, remnants of ancient cultures that remember centuries old, starry night sky and cozy tents of guest Bedouins create a mixture thanks to which the Moon Valley can become the most important haven in your travel in Jordan.

Wadi Rum owes its fame to the British officer T.E. Lawrence, who described it in the already cult book “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. In 2011, this area was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is very popular among tourists who travel it in 4×4 cars, on camels or galloping on noble Arabian horses, camping under the stars, climbing rocks and getting to know the life of the local Bedouins. Interestingly, only they – the ancient inhabitants of these lands – can live and work in Wadi Rum.

Sand, sand, sand and rocks. What’s interesting in that? Everything and more! Wadi Rum is an extremely picturesque desert and not as homogeneous as, for example, the Sahara desert. For all its austerity, Wadi Rum is a region with a lot to see and the landscape is reminiscent of Martian landscapes. However, Wadi Rum has the advantage that it is much easier to get there. A trip to Wadi Rum in Jordan is an experience worth choosing, especially for those of you who like extreme and adventure trips! What to see, when to go and how to plan a trip? We explain!

Experience an unforgettable adventure.

Adventure is waiting for you.

One of the most popular tourist regions in Jordan is Wadi Rum, most of which is desert. The area is centered around the main Wadi Rum valley in southern Jordan. Wadis are arid, valley landforms found in desert areas, shaped by rains flowing down through them during the rainy season. The Wadi valleys were carved long ago, most likely during the Pleistocene. Where is Wadi Rum? It is the largest wadi in Jordan; It lies among granite and sandstone rocks and extends for 720 km2. The tourist part reaches about 30 km deep into the desert, and the camps are scattered about 20 km deep. We wrote a bit about what to see in Wadi Rum and during the trip to Jordan in the text about its ancient cities, monuments and attractions. In our private Wadi Rum vs Sahara ranking, it is Wadi Rum and its attractions deserve more attention, although both deserts are charming in their own way. Although the desert is beautiful, its real treasure are the nomadic peoples living there. It is thanks to the Bedouins that Wadi Rum takes on its unique character. It would be unwise to navigate the desert without a local guide, and the guides are, of course, Bedouins. Travelers will have the opportunity not only to visit the attractions of Wadi Rum and see desert landscapes, but also learn about the Bedouin culture. Especially those who choose Bedouin accommodation in tents. Such an overnight stay is an indescribable experience – a night under a starry sky with the Milky Way as clear as anywhere else.

Wadi Rum - when to go? On New Year's Eve!

Experience a desert adventure with us.

Wadi Rum offers one of the darkest places in the world at night, which makes Jordan the perfect location for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in the open air with star gazing. That is why we recommend our winter trip to Jordan, during which we will not only visit the desert together, but also welcome the New Year.

Explore the Bedouin.

Culture and community, find out if it’s worth it?

On our trip we will find the village of Wadi Rum, which is tiny but cozy. There are brick houses, access via an asphalt road, parking, grocery and souvenir shops, hotels and camps. This is the last place of civilization before going to the desert (where you need to assemble a party) and although it is far from being a modern village, you can feel that some part of civilization has already arrived in this direction. Everything changes when you venture deep into the Wadi Rum desert. The native inhabitants of the region are Bedouin tribes. Zalabia lives in the reserve itself, and the other 5 tribes of Zaweideh, Sweilhieen, Omran, Gedman and Dbour lead a nomadic lifestyle in the desert areas. Bedouins are great guides and they live off tourism.

A typical tourist camp in the desert is 10-20 tents arranged symmetrically against a rock or a natural depression. The tents are made of thick material stretched over a solid metal frame. Interestingly, there is electricity in the tents (at least some of them): installation with one contact and a lamp – luxury! The tents are durable and insulate very well, so it is not too cold at night and too hot during the day, which ensures pleasant thermal comfort and a moment of relaxation. Individual villages may differ from each other, but all of them are well-thought-out constructs worth seeing during a trip to Wadi Rum. It is also worth staying there for the night and taking advantage of the opportunity to talk (in English) with real Bedouins. It is a unique opportunity to listen to their stories, history and learn about customs and traditions. Bedouins are one ethnic group that takes tradition very seriously.

Do Bedouins have smartphones?

It might seem that a trip to Wadi Rum in Jordan is a complete break from any civilization. It turns out, however, that it is not! After all, accommodation and some attractions in Wadi Rum can be booked online, the villages have access to the Internet, and Bedouins know YouTube, have smartphones, can play music from the player (and not only folk music), have great off-road cars and are quite progressive . Such a contrast between tradition and modernity makes it seem that this cultivation of tradition is forced and for show, but not at all! The beautiful thing is that everything blends naturally there, and that makes the culture even more fascinating.

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