De ruigheid van Wadi Rum.
The best way to discover the rugged landscape of Wadi Rum. Corno van den Berg

It’s raining superlatives in a small tourist group in the Bedouin camp. It’s always fun to listen in: ‘It’s like a moon landscape’ says one. ‘It’s the most beautiful thing in the world’ says another. And another, a bit less lyrical: ‘It’s a giant sandpit.’ ‘I feel like painting it’ calls another. There is a moment’s silence in the group. Wadi Rum is a talking point, that’s for sure.

Zand, zon en wolken in Wadi Rum.
Sand, sun and clouds in Wadi Rum. Corno van den Berg
The sunset colours the rocks with reds, yellows and every shade in between. You can try and capture those striking colours with a camera, but it’s not easy, and there’s something to see at every turn. Do you photograph the endless desert, or the intriguing rocks? Or both?Een gids wijst een afbeelding van Thomas Edward Lawrence in Wadi Rum aan.
A guide points to a depiction of Thomas Edward Lawrence in Wadi Rum. Corno van den Berg

Many parts of Wadi Rum are worth visiting. You can follow in the footsteps of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, a real person the 1962 movie was based on. He was a British military diplomat Thomas Edward Lawrence, who helped combat the Turks who ruled over large parts of the Middle East for more than 500 years. And that while he was actually a writer.

His many accounts tell the story of the hard desert life. This place is home to Bedouin peoples, who now embrace tourists and share their culture, giving them a taste of this rough life between the strange rocky desert.

Eén van de rotstekeningen in Wadi Rum.
One of the many rock carvings in Wadi Rum. Corno van den Berg

Make sure you stop at Khaz’ali Canyon, where you can find lots of rock art dating from 400 BC to 400 AC. You’ll notice scripture and also plenty of depictions of humans and antelopes.

A Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum.

You should really spend a night in Wadi Rum, in a tent in a Bedouin camp. It’s a special experience because you can’t just see the sunset, but also the sunrise, and those are magical here.

But there’s more to discover: you can take to the skies in a hot air balloon and look for the circling vultures and ibex down below. Or you can climb the rocks on hands and feet. Or enjoy the challenge of the landscape on a mountain bike. And make sure you experience the local music and (male) belly dancers…

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