Wadi Rum and its lunar like landscape
Jordan had a little surprise in store for us: we came to tour Petra but it was Wadi Rum that blew us away with its special kind of magic. It is an ancient desert in Southern Jordan which encompasses over 700 square kilometres of jagged formations, towering dunes, cylindrical cliffs, natural rock bridges and an endless cascading red sand valley. Touring the desert in a 4WD pick-up truck is an unforgettable experience – a fun adventure ride rather than a scenic tour, taking you flying over the top of sand dunes and across the bumpy terrain. Be prepared to get stuck in the sand and feel the driver skilfully manoeuvre backwards and forward to release the wheels before commencing his daredevil descent down the face of the mountain. First photo stop on our tour was the magnificent Seven Pillars of Wisdom, an enormous stacked stone formation which has been named in honour of T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), a British soldier who helped lead the Bedouin tribes to victory over the Ottoman Turks during the Arab Revolt of WWI. Most of the classic movie was filmed here on location at Wadi Rum. This huge rock formation, with its seven fluted turrets, is spectacular in its scale and beauty. From there we were driven to a giant sand dune and invited to scramble up the top to take in the full drama of the desert panorama. Our shoes were filled to the brim with red sand but it was worth every grain.
Our last stop is a visit to a Bedouin tent camp for refreshments, complete with a unique glimpse into the way of life. Bedouin means “inhabitant of the desert” and refers to a group of semi-nomadic, tribal Arab people. The Bedouin are renowned for their hospitality and live by the ethos that today you are a host but tomorrow you may be a guest. This understanding has a long tradition throughout the Middle East and is a means of survival for tribal people living and crossing some of the most inhospitable terrains on earth.
To tour Wadi Rum is to see a unique and beautiful place. Baked for centuries under the rays of the desert sun it glows a magnificent deep red-orange. The colours are spectacular and against the purest blue sky backdrop, your photos will look as if you have landed on Mars. The quiet and stillness of the desert is part of the wonder, only marred on occasion by the cranky bellow of a passing camel. Wadi Rum is a true gem.
If this is somewhere that interests you, join Blue Dot Travel’s small group Jordan tour. To find out more about Blue Dot Travel tours to the Middle East click on this link.