T.E Lawrence once described the moon-like terrain of Wadi Rum as “vast, echoing and God-like.” This is by no means an overstatement. With its bright red rolling sand dunes, dramatic rock formations, canyons and natural rock bridges Wadi Rum is a place like no other. In the spring the hills begin to get green and full of magnificent wild flowers, such as red anemones and Jordan’s national flower the stunning Black Iris – look quickly though; flowers can bloom and fade almost overnight in this desert climate.
Wadi Rum has always been more a passageway then a place to settle, so you won’t find large-scale archaeological sites. Passersby did leave wonderful pictoglyphs and inscriptions to mark their routes, and more than 1,000 rock art inscriptions are scattered along the ancient trade routes.
Nomadic Bedouin tribes have made Wadi Rum their home–once in service of the spice caravans, and now to cater to the many visitors who come to enjoy this famous desert. These days almost no extended families still live a traditional nomadic life in their famous black tents. Most families, especially those with children, have now settled into villages on the fringes of Rum, or beside the Turkish fortress under Jabal Rum itself. You’ll still find “empty-nesters” who have moved away from the villages back to the tents where they most truly feel at home, and when school is not in session the population of the villages happily return to their desert dwellings.
Wadi Rum is an ideal destination for those who want to get completely away from the noise and lights of modern living (there are even places here where cell phones, the weeds of Jordan’s landscape, fall silent). There is no pollution of city-lights to distract from the magnificent night sky of the desert. Most nights you’ll see several shooting stars. If you visit in early August during the annual Perseids meteor shower, it will look like a grand fireworks display.
For information about excursions to and through Wadi Rum, visit our “Adventure Tours” page.