With Eid al-Adha delivering a long weekend we decided to take the opportunity to visit the legendary Wadi Rum, a protected area in Jordan and a location of incredible beauty. About three and a half hours drive from Amman it is a place that blew away our expectations.
Before setting off into the desert, Attallah, our guide for the coming 2 days, gives us a lesson on how to wind a scarf around our heads Bedouin-style. Then we take our bags out of our car and throw them in the back of a 4×4 and head off to the camp. As we drive through thick, reddish-orange sand, we bounce and slid along the sandy roads, until suddenly Attallah slows down, just a little bit, so we can watch wild camels and Bedouins pass by.
That night we stay in a Bedouin camp, a surprisingly luxurious one, with electricity, Showers and flushing toilets.
Around 6.30 pm Attallah stops by our tent and asks if we want to see the sun set. Yes! Of course! And after a ten minute drive from the camp we climb on a rock to find a spot to watch the sunset. It is truly breathtaking.
When we return back to the camp we get ready for dinner. A dinner that has been buried in an oil drum in the sand, where it’s been left to slow cook for three-and-a-half hours. Our hosts dig it up to reveal chicken and vegetables, steaming hot. After dinner we sit in a big circle around the fire, with the starry sky overhead. We drink tea, listen to music and some people even dance traditional Bedouin dances.
The next morning we wake up early to have breakfast, climb the rocks next to our tent, feed the cats some milk ( Alexander’s suggestion as those nice cats are making sure scorpions and snakes don’t come near us) and pack our bags to go on a 5 hour 4×4 tour.
The first place we visit is Khazali canyon, it is one of the most famous places in the Wadi Rum desert, the deep narrow fissure in the mountain side contains many Nabatean, Greek, and Talmudic inscriptions.
From the Khazali canyon our guide takes us to climb the Khor al Ajram bridge. With its approximately 4 meter span it is one of the smaller rock bridges. Standing on its base you can easily touch the bridge. Great place to take some pictures. Reaching the top of this rock bridge is a piece of cake, even with Alexander. And the reward is amazing. Gorgeous views over the red sand valley.
The next bridge we visit is the Um Fruth rock bridge, one of the most photographed places in Wadi Rum. It is definitely one of the most spectacular places we visit. The bridge is about 15 meters up from the desert floor. The climb is challenging, dangerous (not too dangerous mind), and ultimately breathtaking in its beauty.
The bridge is relatively wide but it still feels crazy stepping out onto it, especially when you’re cared of heights like I am. We walk to the center, pose for our photo, and safely crossed over to the other side. While I was on it, I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer the rock bridge would remain safely intact…just a few more minutes or a hundred more years?
Next we pass the towering Seven Pillars of Wisdom, named after Lawrence’s book, where the rock has creased into seven gargantuan folds, then my husband and I jump out and struggle up a dune, our feet sinking into the soft sand, to gaze out across the vast desert shimmering in the heat. Alexander wisely decided to stay in the Jeep with our guide as he was getting tired from all the climbing.
Next, we stop at a couple of crumbling walls said to be “Lawrence of Arabia” house. It is in reality an old weapons and food stores used by Lawrence and the Bedouin when they fought the Ottomans. In the distance Camel trains pass and surrounded by the endless expanse of sand, it’s easy to feel the lure of the desert and the romance of the Bedouin lifestyle.
It is almost time to call it a day but we decide to stop at Lawrence’s Spring to eat our packed lunch, this is where the water from the spring actually comes out into the desert. It is a watering place for the camels that wander around the desert.
We turned to the village with Attallah where we were given one last cup of tea before beginning the long journey back to Amman, our new home. We’ll come back soon though!
(We stayed at the Bedouin Life Style Camp which is located inside the Protected Area in the heart of Wadi Rum in case you are wondering.)
( Day 1: T-shirt Alexander with car print by the French brand Ma Locomotion, jeans shorts by I Dig Denim, sunglasses by Rainbow and Snow available at Orange Mayonnaise. Pj’s by My Little Shop. Day 2: T-shirt Alexander by Yporque, jeans shorts by I dig Denim.)