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Destinations Middle East Jordan Wadi Rum Trips

Wadi Rum Trips

Wadi Rum is a hauntingly beautiful desert landscape that is one of Jordan’s star attractions. TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) described it as ‘vast, echoing and godlike’; it certainly has the capacity to awe and humble the visitor. Amid its subtly hued sands the colossal rock formations reach for the sky and their strange and peculiar contours seeming to drip like icing running down a cake. Here, you can set out on your own desert adventure, whether it is camel trekking, rock climbing, scrambling or a four-wheel drive tour. Whatever you choose, the sublime vistas will be a highlight of your trip.

The spectacular landscape of Wadi Rum (which literally means ‘the valley of the high places’) was created by a slow process of erosion caused by wind and rain that carved out the canyons leaving huge pillars of sandstone rock between. Although on the surface Wadi Rum may appear inhospitable and barren, the desert here is in fact a complex ecosystem rich in life and a little rain carpets the desert floor in flowers and wild grasses. It is also rich in herbs and medicinal plants, of which the local Bedouin have a detailed and extensive knowledge.

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Wadi Rum Trips
This area has been traversed by Bedouin tribes for millennia; the Thamudic tribes of Arabia and the Nabataeans both lived here and have left their mark on the desert with rock inscriptions and ruins. The Anfashieh rock inscription is a wonderful example, exceptionally detailed and huge in scale. It’s thought to depict a camel caravan passing through the area. Khazali canyon is a picturesque siq of multi-hued sand, washed down from pink cliffs shaped like melting candle wax. Inside the canyon you can walk along the rock to reach several good inscriptions; the baby feet inscription is particularly clear.

Today the local Zelabieh tribe are the custodians of the Wadi Rum protected reserve, many making a living as guides and drivers. Although you could, if pressed for time, see a selection of the main sights in the reserve on an afternoon four-wheel drive excursion, this is a landscape that is worth savouring. To really appreciate it you need to spend at least one night here. Then you can sleep outside in the desert sands at a Bedouin camp, under a blanket sky strewn with a million stars and wake up to witness the fantastic spectacle of sunrise, as the changing light paints the rock and sand in luminous colours.

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