Wadi Rum, a Magical Arabian Desert
Like how one would imagine the magical Arabic deserts to be, Wadi Rum gives you that spine-tingling sense of Middle Eastern beauty you’d least expect. A pride of Jordan, this wild desert is a playground for anyone seeking adventure and a tinge of Arabian culture.
This unique desert is situated in the southern tip of the wealthy Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Famous for its ancient monument of Petra and the Dead Sea, Jordan boasts of many natural wonders among which, the desert of Wadi Rum was the most mystical and alluring.
But few people know that it also offers one of the best ways to immerse in Jordan’s Bedouin culture. With its red-rose rocky formations and smooth grainy sand, Wadi Rum is a perfect setting for Bedouins to live and set up their homes. These Arabic nomads are known for their hospitality, and undoubtedly, exploring the Wadi Rum allows you to interact with them and understand their culture better.
It is not difficult to come across friendly Bedouin families along the way. Arrange a desert tour with a guide, and you are sure to chat with some Bedouins while crossing the desert. Most would be more than happy to offer a cup of sweet Arabic tea, and even shelter in their tents. Be warned, with the desert heat, you can dehydrate easily, and thus the tea and shelter are really useful.
Dressing in their traditional robe, with a kufiyya (white-and-red scarf) over their heads fixed with an agal rope, the Bedouins epitomize hospitality. These gritty nomads regard playing host as an important part of their culture, and thus do their very best to make visitors feel at home.
Doesn’t seem safe now doesn’t it! Rock bridges.
In the heart of Wadi Rum, you can find huge and majestic rock formations that look right out of a mountain. Be sure to hike up to the Burdah Rock Bridge, which extends from one end of the mountain to the other. Being the highest in Wadi Rum, it can be adventurous, a little nerve-wrecking, but also offers a great view of the desertscape. Continue exploring the formations, and you’ll be awestruck by the natural architecture of the sandstone cliffs.
The most impressive rock formation would have to be ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ which can be seen from afar. With the dusty breeze creating a blurry image, these seven pillars give an enigmatic sensation. Many sports enthusiasts come from all over the world to these seven pillars, for a memorable rock-climbing and trekking.
Seven Pillars of Wisdon.
Another spot to explore is the Lawrence Spring, where fresh water somehow flows in the middle of the desert, cascading down a steep cliff onto a pothole.
Sand dunes are a common sight in the Wadi Rum. You can frolick in the fine sand, slide down or perhaps, bring your own sandboard. Our guide really enjoyed gliding us along the sand dunes, making us laugh on all fours.
To end the amazing tour in the Wadi Rum, there’s no better way than to stay overnight in one of the Bedouin camps. Most of them offer traditional Jordanian dinner, along with Bedouin dance performances and of course, a whole sky of glittering stars. If you’re lucky, you can even hike up to one of the cliffs nearby to catch sunrise.
We had the best time at Captain’s Desert Camp, where we met fellow travellers, danced the night away with the Bedouins, and slept under the stars. Through the valleys and cliffs of Wadi Rum, you can truly experience Jordan, where the magic truly comes alive.