Wadi Rum is a spectacular valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan. It is also known as the Valley of the Moon and is the largest wadi (dry river bed) in Jordan. Wadi Rum is also close to Petra - the iconic city in the canyons that starred in the movie Indiana and the Last Crusade. However, most may not recognize it from the newest Dune movie.
Wadi Rum has long prehistory with many cultures leaving their mark there (often in the form of petroglyphs, inscriptions, and even temples). Today almost everyone living there is of Beduin origin. It is a must-see for anyone visiting the Kingdom of Jordan today.
Wadi Rum and Lawrence of Arabia
For those who are interested in history, the British officer T.E. Lawrence passed through here several times during the Arab Revolt during World War One and it was also the filming location for some of the scenes from the famous 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia (starring Sir Alec Guinness - as Arab leader Prince Faisal and Peter O'Toole - as T.E. Lawrence). It was this movie and its scenes in Wadi Rum that kickstarted Jordan's tourism industry.
- Filming Location: 1962 Lawrence of Arabia
Later in the 1980s one of the spectacular rock formations here was renamed in honor of Lawrence as "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" after the book that Lawrence penned after the war.
In Lawrence's own words he described the entrance into the Valley of Rum as an:
"...irresistible place: (a) processional way greater than imagination."
Tours Of Wadi Rum
Today Wadi Rum is one of Jordan's most popular tourist attractions pulling tourists from all over the world. Popular activities in the desert include 4x4 tours, camel rides, riding Arabian horses, hiking, rock-climbing (rock formations here are massive), and camping out in the desert under the stars.
There are far too many tours to list off here. A couple of the tour companies here are Wadi Rum Magic Tours and Wadi Rum Tours. They both offer a full range of tours for everyone. For information about the protected areas of Wadi Rum, Jordan has an informative website about the Wadi Rum's valley, tours, wildlife, and more.
Here are a couple of selected tours to give an idea of the tours in the Wadi.
Camel Tour: 4 Days 3 Nights Sleep Under The Stars
This tour by Wadi Rum Magic Tours really enables one to see the majesticness of the desert and get to know about life in the desert and living with camels. On this tour, one will get to live as the Bedouins did before.
Every guest has a camel as well as a group tour guide. One will get to see the old Bedouin way of life and eat the same food as they used to eat. At night watch the stunning sunsets and the starry night sky while sitting around a campfire.
On this tour, one will even learn to make bread on the fire and prepare traditional food. Every night is spent at a new location.
- Minimum: This Tour Requires A Minimum Of 4 Guests
- Cost: 4 People 350 JD Per Person ($480) | 5 People 320 JD Per Person ($450) | 6 to 10 People 300 JD Per Person ($425)
- Includes: Camels, Guides, Camping Equipment, A Jeep, The Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner), and a Private Cook
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There are many other camel tours in the wadi, one can choose from two-night tours, one-night tours, or even one-hour rides in the desert.
Behind The Veil Tour (Women Only)
This unique tour is for those (women) who are interested in what life is like for the Beduion women. It is great for women who have questions like, what are the social expectations? What are the responsibilities of the women? And why do they wear the veil? This tour is run by a local Bedouin woman and female guests will be in the company of other women only.
In this setting, the Beduion women can remove their veils and talk freely about their lives. Visitors shop with them, cook with them (in their house in the desert), make the bed, brew coffee (Arabic coffee is very different), and learn about the rhythm of the lives of Bedouin women.
The women giving this tour were born in the tents - and so were their children. They are herdswomen of the family. They take the camels to pasture and milk the goats.
This can also be combined with other tours like camel riding and 4x4 driving or any other tour.
- Cost: Varies With What Is Combined With The Tour
- Duration: One Day and One Night (or Longer)
- Restriction: Women Only
Another great place for going on camel tours of the desert and learning about the lives of Bedouin is the great Morrocan city of Marrakesh.