Wadi Rum is a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Huge mountains of sandstone and granite emerge, sheer-sided, from wide sandy valleys to reach heights of 1700 meters and more. Narrow canyons and fissures cut deep into the mountains and many conceal ancient rock drawings etched by the peoples of the desert over millennia. Bedouin tribes still live among the mountains of Rum and their large goat-hair tents are a special feature of the landscape.
There are many ways to enjoy the attractions of Rum, including jeep, camel and hiking tours and you can stay overnight in a Bedouin tent and gaze at the amazing panoply of stars.
To safeguard its unique desert landscape, Wadi Rum was declared a protected area in1998 and an intensive conservation programme is now underway.
Things to see and do
You can explore Wadi Rum in several ways: by jeep, by camel, by horse or on foot. If you want more challenging pursuits like climbing and trekking, see Adventure Seekers.
Jeep tours are the quickest way to see the well-known scenic and archaeological sites. There are 19 of these sites of interest and it is possible to visit any combination in a single tour. Tours start from the visitor centre, where you can choose one of 9 tour packages, lasting from 2 hours to full day. Longer trips can be arranged. Most vehicles are pick-up trucks operated by local Bedouin cooperatives. They are characterful and fun but only have modest levels of comfort. Private 4 x 4 vehicles and tour company fleet-vehicles can enter Rum, provided they follow all regulations.
Camel rides are a popular activity and short trips can be arranged on demand from the visitor centre. There are also 9 tour packages visiting the main sites of interest, which last between 1hr to full day. Overnight trips and long treks are possible on request. A small number of operators offer pre-booked horseback tours. Details available from the contact lists.
Hiking is possible throughout the protected area but maps and details are still difficult to find. Bedouin guides can be arranged if pre-booked and there are two “easy” trails leading from the visitor centre, one short and one long, promoted by the Protected Area Management. See also the library for references on trails and climbing routes.