Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan = MUST VISIT

Monday, December 8

We are watching the sun slowly fade on our last night in Amman, Jordan.  After scuba diving in the Red Sea, we spent 2 nights staying in a Bedouin camp with our camp hosts, Bedouin Directions!  

Although we were somewhat tentative with our decision to come to Jordan based on the news from the tensions of the surrounding countries, once we arrived, we felt safe and were warmly received throughout our time in Jordan.

This was especially true with our time in the Wadi Rum desert.  Mehedi, the owner, did a wonderful job of coordinating our trip.  His help was crucial with finding the right bus to get from Aqaba to the village of Wadi Rum, the launching point for our trip into the desert.  Of the many people we asked in Aqaba about the bus, Mehedi was the only one who had the correct information and had been able to coordinate with the bus driver to make sure we got on the right bus.

Once we arrived in the village, we were driven out on an old 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser straight into the desert.  The ride itself was an adventure as we pitched left and right going through the ruttier stretches of the sandy desert road.

After about 15 minutes, we passed through a small canyon and arrived at the camp.  After dropping off our gear, we had free time to roam into the desert.  The following day, we were led by our guide, Ahmed, into the desert for some more adventures.

Below is a chronicle of some of our experiences:

Even though the desert gets very little rainfall, we saw many of these succulent plants throughout.  We found out later that the plant is often used for medicinal purposes by the Bedouin.  The bulb was surrounded by layers upon layers of dried husk in order to retain its moisture.

We were fortunate to catch the sunset on our first night in Wadi Rum.  After a short scramble, we walked through the desert flat between our rocks and the next outcropping.  You can see Suzy and the kids in the distance and get a feeling for the vastness of the desert.  In addition to the vastness of space, it was amazingly quiet.  However, it wasn't a spooky quiet, but a soothing quiet where I felt I could be at rest.

As the sun set, I was able to capture the beauty of the desert rock and the much further lunar rock.

After some exploring, Suzy and I had some time to sit and soak in the rugged beauty of the desert as we watched the sun slowly set in the distant mountains.

The next morning, on the way to one of our hikes, Ahmed, our guide, stopped by a pair of mother/child camels.  I had the chance to come face to face with one of the desert dwellers.  I was hoping for a camel kiss, but she pulled back at the last second when she realized I didn't have anymore pita to feed her.

Our first stop was to an accessible arch we could reach by jeep.  Sierra is doing her best impression of the leaning arch.  The scramble to the the top was not too difficult and the top of this arch was fairly wide.  I think Ahmed took us here to get us warmed up for the much harder hike up to Burdah Arch (see below)

After our scramble, we were invited to tea in a Bedouin tent with some additional guides.  After a couple of cups of tea, one of the other guides gave our kids a traditional Bedouin head wrapping.  Sierra was also super happy when they offered to put a charcoal gel on her inner eyelids.  May Bedouin do this to their eyes to minimize the glare and to protect the eyes.  Even though Sierra was tearing up after the application, she was more than happy to try a form of Bedouin makeup!

The hike up to Burdah Arch was incredible.  There was no way we could have found a way up easily as there were only a few rock piles along the way to point the way.  It was uphill all the way up and the kids were wonderful! I was also impressed with Ahmed who scrambled up with sandals, insisted on carrying all three water bottles, and drank no water during our trip.  

After about an hour and a half, we reached the arch.  It sits at the top of a valley that stretches down the desert below.  The sheer drop below the arch and the accompanying drop to the valley floor was dizzying.  When I reached the top, the wind was blowing a good 15-20 mph.  Even after all of my experiences on high places during rock climbing trips, I resorted to crawling on my hands and knees as I tried to push down that funny feeling in my stomach.  I had the kids do likewise and when they got to me, I held them tight for their safety as well as my own.  When Suzy finally joined us, we spent a couple of minutes trying to calm our nerves while Ahmed took photos for us.

After exiting from our perch, I belly-crawled to that rock that juts out to the right.  Even though I was laying down flat, I could not extend my head over the precipice due to the paralyzing fear of knowing there was nothing underneath me for about 100 to 200 feet.

Ahmed ran up to meet us and took the kids by the hands and proceeded to WALK to the center of the arch.  And just to make a point at how chicken we were, he jumped up and down to let us know that the arch wasn't going anywhere.  I'm just glad he took the kids and not me.

Ahmed with the kids at a wall that held ancient hieroglyphics.

After a delicious Bedouin lunch that Ahmed prepared, we drove to a 100 ft sand dune.  One side of the dune was totally untouched.  We used the other side for sandboarding - using a snowboard to launch down the dune.  The kids had a blast and I was able to get down one time without breaking any bones.

After a brief stop by Lawrence of Arabia's house and the accompanying spring (not too much to look at), our last stop was to an rock outcropping to watch the sunset.  The kids were lamenting how quickly we had to leave sandboarding, so they decided to try sandboarding again on a small sand dune.  When that didn't work too well, they decided to bury Isaac up to his neck.  Suzy and I were glad we were not in the desert with Isaac getting all sandy, happy that the kids had a great day, and thankful to experience the beauty of Wadi Rum.


  1. that hike looks amazing! nice job getting up there. i'm ok with heights, but that walkway up top doesn't look very wide lol. i'm catching up on your blog now, been so busy with the holidays! i hope you guys enjoy your Christmas!


  2. wow! you are all so brave, I would've been crying and crawling on my belly to get up there! amazing amazing!!! kids must have loved being up so high, those daredevils! did suzy do ok too?

    1. My brother and I were jittery and nervous but when our guide took us up there, we took a tiny jump...!