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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wadi Rum: Martian Landscapes on Earth

As a person, I have always loved Mother Nature and her creations. As a traveler, I have been privileged to see some of them at extremely close quarters. One such Mother nature’s benevolent creation that captivates the attention and imagination of one and all is Jordan’s Wadi Rum. This spectacularly scenic desert valley has been immortalized through umpteen number of movies from all across the world. Some of those famous movies are Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’, Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen and Lawrence of Arabia. While this place looks amazingly beautiful in the movies, it is a surreal experience to stand in the middle of this mountain desert.

Exotic desert highway of Wadi Rum, Jordan

I was bowled over by its sheer raw appeal, its inhospitable environment, its striking landscapes, its gorgeous red color tones, its crystal clear night sky that shows you the galaxy, its rich prehistoric connection, its amazing desert culture and its unlimited avenues for adventure on my recent holiday to Jordan.

Local meeting in the gorgeous desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan

Everything about Wadi Rum appealed to the adventurer in me. May be, it is because I am a sucker for deserts and desolate landscapes or may be it is because this place is really special. After all, this place that is nicknamed ‘The Valley of the Moon’ is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it should have some special attributes to have been given the heritage tag.

Photographing the stunning landscapes of Wadi Rum, Jordan

Covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan with rolling sand dunes, huge mountains of sandstone and granite and narrow canyons and fissures, Wadi Rum is full of adventure. Whether you opt for a 4 wheel drive, a camel or your own feet, you are bound to have some serious fun. Rock climbing, dune surfing or sand boarding and dune bashing would have to be the top 3 adventure activities in this region.

Camel Parking Lot - Wadi Rum, Jordan

Climbing Jebel Umm Ad Dami (6,040 feet) and Jebel Rum (5,689 feet), the two highest peaks of this region have to be two of the most popular climbs in this region. Covering a mix of hiking, rock climbing and technical climbing, these peaks are said to offer views of the Red Sea and the Saudi border on a clear day. Even if you don’t end up seeing the Red Sea, I am pretty sure that there will be no dearth of adrenaline rushes.

Setting sun casts a golden glow on the desert camps of Wadi Rum, Jordan

If you wish to go easy on the adventure part, there is that sunset camel safari, a scenic jeep drive, a stay in a Bedouin tent, sleeping under the stars, eating traditional food, seeing concealed ancient rock drawings and so much more. Jordan’s largest wadi that has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, is not short on action, be it cultural or adventure.

A Bedouin and his camels walk the deserts of Wadi Rum, Jordan

If you are a history buff, you will love the petroglyphs at the Khaz’ali canyon that dates back to the Thamudic times, the Nabatean temple and the Anfashieh inscriptions from the Nabatean and the Thamudic period.

A Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

My personal favorites are sand boarding at the red sand dunes of Umm Ishrin, a camel safari at sunset, the traditional Bedouin tented camp experience, sleeping under millions of stars and the feeling of being at home in the middle of one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet.

A Wadi Rum sunset is a surreal experience

Whatever your interests might be, if you happen to one of those who absolutely adore Mother Nature’s special creations, you have to make your way to Wadi Rum, especially on your next holiday to Jordan. I am pretty sure that you will be stupefied with its natural splendour.

The famous big watermelons of Wadi Rum, Jordan

And when you do manage to find your way to Wadi Rum, do chomp on some of the sweetest and juiciest water melons of the world.

How to get there:

Red sand dunes of Wadi Rum amidst the mountains

Lying in the south western corner of Jordan, Wadi Rum is closest to the coastal city of Aqaba that offers an international airport and great road connectivity. It is also fairly easy to drive from Amman and Petra. Having your own mode of transportation would be advisable unless you have a lot of time at hand.

Planning for Wadi Rum:

The mountain desert landscape of Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum is usually dry, bright, hot and cold all at the same time. Hence, it is best to carry one warm jacket, a scarf to protect you from the sun, some moisturizer, a good pair of sunglasses and a good pair of walking boots.

Nearby Attractions:

The Martian landscape of Wadi Rum, Jordan

Red Sea, Petra, Amman and the Dead Sea. As Jordan is a fairly small country, most of its top attractions can be reached within 4 to 5 hours.



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