Wadi Rum is the name of a desert valley in Jordan that stretches down to the border with Saudi Arabia. It is probably most famous in history for being the route taken by the Bedouins (native nomadic tribes) who revolted against their Turkish overlords during World War I. The film Lawrence of Arabia gives a charismatic British soldier much of the credit for the siege on Aqaba but the locals don’t feel it is an accurate representation.
What is most striking about Wadi Rum is the sandstone formations that surround you as you race around on top of 4x4s or more slowly on top of camels. It is so striking that Ridley Scott chose it as his location to film The Martian.
Many other films have selected this location for their Epics, including The English Patient. So why would you want to spend time in a place that is so harsh it was suitable to film a movie about Mars? Well, because how awesome is that?
When you arrive at the Wadi Rum Village you will transfer from the bus to the vehicle of your choice: camel or 4×4. Note that the camel is taller but slower. The 4×4 is pleasantly air conditioned by open windows. We will be going in early spring, so the heat will still be comfortable.
After travelling into the valley a bit, you have the option to climb one of the sandstone hillsides next to ancient human writing whose origins are unidentified.
Rock formations will be explored and vistas admired until it is time to sit at the edge of the desert and watch the tea pot boil and the sun set as it always does, but somehow it will feel more special. Perhaps it is our guide telling us stories by the fire or perhaps it is knowing how far from everywhere you are.
Then you will jump back in the 4×4 and head for camp. Where dinner will be cooked under the sand. It is simple food, hardly changed from what the tribal Bedouins ate before they welcomed tourists to their wells. We will sit around the fire in camp and watch the stars come out after the generator is shut off.
Our tents will be simple but comfortable, with secure doors and windows. You can even pull your mattress out to sleep under the stars if you prefer.
The morning brings the opportunity to explore the local sandstone cliffs near the camp before breakfast.
The camp will be nestled up against one of the cliffs. Can you spot the intrepid hiker in white up on the left?
Then it is time to get back on our trusty steed and head back through the valley for a few final sites.
Hopefully the little bridge will still be there this time next year!
There are many other surprises in store, but this gives you a rough idea of what you’ll see when you visit the Epic Wadi Rum.