Wadi Rum & more Jordan Sights
What is Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum is is home to one of the world’s best desert landscapes, with soft yellow sand dominated by pinnacles of melting red rock and the place of inspiration for T. E. Lawrence’s classic work ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, a true account of his World War I experiences leading Arab and British forces in Jordan, military strategy, the geography of the middle east and Arab culture.
Tourists can travel on foot, horseback, camel or 4WD around the dunes and rocks. It’s worth staying at least a couple of days locally, even if a ‘proper’ hotel in Aqaba is more comfortable, as Bedouin nights and moonlight forays into the dunes are a fun way to experience the desert.
Things to Do
Trekking: around Wadi Rum (hard sand, wandering Bedouin and lots melting rock formations) and Petra (though even regular visits involve plenty of leg work).
Cycling: Mountain bike tours with some walks thrown in include all Jordan’s major attractions.
Riding: tourists love to follow in Lawrence of Arabia’s tracks – either camels and horses – around the majestic desert/rock landscapes of Wadi Rum.
Climbing: the rock pinnacles of Wadi Rum. Basic gear available for rent locally.
Diving: Aqaba and further south into the Red Sea contain some superb dive spots with 100 species of soft coral, 120 species of hard coral and over 1, 000 species of fish. Aqaba also has dive centres offering PADI courses.
Health Spas: the Dead Sea is about 400m below sea level and due to high evaporation has an intense concentration of salts and minerals – particularly magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, bromine – that have curative effects on many skin conditions, as well as allowing visitors the odd experience of lying almost on the surface of the sea.
Mud packs are a popular option. Hotels in the area offer a huge variety of spa treatments and costs. The Dead Sea is about an hour from Amman airport.
Beach Life: Aqaba (50kms from Wadi Rum) is a pleasant though primarily commercial town offering some small, sandy public beaches that are on the grubby side, but private hotel beaches can be used for a small fee and are well manicured. The water is warm (generally about 23C) and multicoloured marine life is rampant; coral reefs are not far off.