Wadi Rum was after Petra.
Top Things to do/ Highlights of Wadi Rum..too many things!!
1. The entire Desert!!
2. Red Sand Dune
3. Mushroom Rock
4. Hiking up Jebel Al-Hash, have a look at the fossils and the biodiversity.
5. Climbing up the small mountains here and there
6. Looking at the massive mountains and sunsets
7. Star Gazing at night.
8. Drinking sage Tea
9. Wondering how the beautiful arches have been formed.
10. Having “zarb”, an underground oven cooked Bedouin specialty.
Accommodation: I organized my tour with Wild Wadi Rum. http://wildwadirum.com/
Day 1: Wadi Rum via Kings Highway and an introduction to Wadi Rum
I always find deserts very exciting, Wadi Rum had managed to sell itself completely to me, and it lived upto the expectations. It’s a very unique desert, along with the red sand come big mountain ranges, a very lunar landscape, canyons, gorges, arches. But what surprised was the amount of vegetation in a few corners. The spring rains had just ended and the desert actually was blooming, and the weather couldn’t have been better.
Off To Wadi Rum
The journey to Wadi Rum was quite interesting. I had booked the 7 JD bus to Wadi Rum, which was supposed to pick me up at 6.30 AM. I woke up at 5.30 only to find the daylight saving had started it was 6.30, not 5.30. How irresponsible of Valentine Inn not to inform me. But anyway, they waited for me, and the bus ride was great. We passed through the Kings Highway, which was terribly beautiful. Jaw dropping views all along and then suddenly you see a big sandy desert. Also note the train and the train station that you come across before Wadi Rum Wish they could have trains like that everywhere in Jordan.
I had booked my stay with Wild Wadi Rum(http://wildwadirum.com/), 190 JD for 3 days, with 2 hikes, accommodation and meals. Their guide, Salman came to pick me up and we proceeded towards his residence in the village. The mountains around around the village were HUGE, and jagged and sharp and the contrast with sky was great. I did a small trek to the Shalala springs which were an easy hike away. When you get close to the springs you forget you’re in a desert. It’s that cool and green.
We soon set out for our journey into the desert. We first visited Lawrence’s house, the rocks behind it were really awesome for a small hike. Next was the star attraction in Wadi Rum, the Red Sand dune. It was the first time I was seeing a real sand dune, and it was overwhelming. The color of the sanddune was brilliant. Walking up the sanddune was obviously an arduous task but well worth it. Then we(me and guide) got some shade, he made some sage tea for me, then we had lunch and then a well deserved nap. We also walked through a canyon, a very interesting one wit inscriptions and trees and sand. The entire area was surreal, big mountains shaped very aesthetically by erosion, sanddunes, blue blue skies.
And then we came back to the camp..wow,what a place it was. Entire mountain ranges right infront with a huge portion of the desert in between. And many mountains just behind the camp. As you go up the view get better and better. The sunset was excellent, you could see all kinds of colors in the sky, and the desert reflected off even better colors. The dinner at the camp was brilliant, “zarb”, or underground oven baked vegetables and meat, liberally spiced too. With bread, humus, salads, beans,rice. Very well done. And the night sky? Amazing, completely star studded, and then there was the cold wind that started. It felt so good to have a tent all for myself, especially after roughing it out in dorms.
Wadi Rum day 2: Jebel burdah hike, Al-Khazali canyon and the Little Arch.
The night was cold, I woke up with a sore throat, you need to keep yourself very warm in the desert, at night. The breakfast at the camp was great. Good bread, zatar(arabic spice mix) with olive oil, labneh(tick curd,spiced),hummus, ful(fava bean paste) and a sesame desert(halwa). Today’s agenda was to climb the Jebel Burdah. Salman’s cousin was my guide for the day. Jebel Burdah was no easy game I had expected. It involved a little rock climbing and some scrambling too, which wasn’t terribly easy. But the views from the top were phenomenal. We didn;t climb the arch because I found it a little difficult, but a little more motivation and maybe I could have. But the views made up for everything else. Maybe it’s easier when you are with more people.
Next was the al-Khazali canyon, a narrow long canyon set deep inside tall mountains. One of my favorite sites in Wadi Rum. Another excellent site was the Little Arch. It had gorgeous views of the Jebel Rum and the entire mountain range close to it. Later we returned to the village. The mountains along the village were the most spectacular of all I realized. I met a few members of the Eid family, mostly kids, had a good dinner,spiced rice(With meat pieces removed), and went to sleep early at their home. But the flies didn’t really let me sleep for quite sometime.
Day 3: Jebel Al Hash, one of the tallest Arabian peaks + meeting bedoiun families
This is one of my most favorite days, not that any other day was bad. My guide for the day was Salman’s older brother, Ali, who was also the best guide(the other 2 were good too, but I expect a guide to be very talkative). We began our journey through the desert again. Our first stop was where the Eid family was temporarily stationed at. It was quite higher than the rest of the desert . The area was surprisingly very green, so rich in pastures. After a small talk, we proceeded towards Jebel Al Hash, the wind was cold even at mid day.
Jebel Al Hash was an easy hike, climbing on a gradual ascent. We reached the top in an hour and a half I guess, or maybe even less. Now my guide did a very good job here. I got to see fossils, some varieties of scented plants, some sweet tasting edible roots, some herbs to cure my congested throat and so on. And the view from the top was fabulous, literally on the top of Arabia. And the mountains which looked big in Wadi Rum looked tiny from top. The vast emptiness of the desert could be understood from here. We couldn’t stay for too long since it was really windy and cold despite the sun. But we still managed to find some shelter to have our lunch. Then we had many interesting discussions anging from politics to vegetarianism to life of bedouins.
Descent was even easier, unlike Burdah where the descent was a little scary at times. Again we met he Eid family, had tea with them, enjoyed the mild late afternoon sunshine and headed towards the camp. Ali took me to several of his favorite view points, and we met some of his maternal family on the way. They were “proper bedouins”, very interesting people who were travelling with their entire extended family to new pastures, and this was their way of life, semi settled. And then we reached the camp, had a good sunset, a good dinner and a good sleep, and then a great breakfast. Now was time to go back. My next destination was Madaba.
Next destination was Madaba.