The Wadi Rum reserve was set up in 1998, covering an area of 720 square kilometres of outstanding desert landscape. Home to many species of flora and fauna, some of which are rare and endangered such as the Oryx and Arabian Ibex. As well as its diverse nature, Wadi Rum is known for its rich history – humans are known to have inhabited the area since the Palaeolithic period (17,000 BC), The Nabateans used it as a trade route between the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula and more recently T.E. Lawrence made it known to the west – during his World War 1 campaign he visited the area many times and befriended many of the Bedouin.
Several Bedouin tribes still live in the protected area and most of them now earn a living from tourism – climbing, trekking and Jeep and camel tours contribute significantly to the local economy, which is why all visitors to the area should always use local facilities and guide services. Above and Below Adventures are proud to support the local communities and sustainable tourism practises and always use the Bedouin guides.
There are many ways you can make your desert experience unforgettable, whether you plan to stay for just a few hours or for several days. Below is just a short list of some of the many activities you can try on your next visit to Wadi Rum.
Probably the most common activity in Wadi Rum and the best way to see the most sites in a short period. Meet with your Bedouin driver at the visitors centre in Rum Village and then head out in to the desert – Who better to show you the sights than a local! Jeeps can take up to 6 people and the price varies depending on the length of the tour. On the tour you will visit amazing natural and archaeological features, such as the natural rock bridges of Umm Fruth or Burdha Arch , rock inscriptions and carvings in Khazali canyon, Lawrence’s spring and Lawrence’s ‘house’.
Camel or Horse Riding
Fancy something a bit more traditional? Want to follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia? Then take a camel or horse ride through the desert. Again all tours are guided by the local Bedouin. Camel rides can be done at the end of a Jeep tour for as short as half an hour and as long as a full day, while for the experienced riders there are several day horse treks through the whole of the reserve area.
Hiking and Trekking
A great opportunity for nature lovers – exploring the desert by foot is the perfect way to take in all the sights sounds and often over looked flora and fauna of this magnificent ecosystem. The Bedouin will take you on some of the old routes and goat roads used by the traditional nomadic families in search of grazing areas for their livestock and trading between tribes. The route taken will depend on the groups level of fitness and experience, from a gentle mountain walk to steep mountain scrambling and climbing through canyons. An easy hike would be a walk up to the Al-Shallaleh Spring above the Rum Village, for those looking for more adventure take a 5 day trek in to the desert with climbs and canyoning and sleeping out under the stars.
Journey through 1916
Take a ride back in time on the Hijaz railway. Visit the restored train station and border the authentic steam train for a journey in to the heart of the desert. But this is a train with a twist – as along the way you travel back to 1916 and become a part of an amazing live military re -enactment of the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans.
Bedouin Dinner and Camp
No visit to Wadi Rum would be complete with out a camping experience. You can choose between a traditional Bedouin experience inside the reserve or a more sophisticated tourist camp outside the reserve, those in the reserve are the only ones owned, staffed and managed by the local Bedouin. A typical stay at a camp includes a traditional meal such as Zarb – meat and vegetables cooked in an underground ‘oven’, and quite entertainment of music and dance. Some of the tourist camps also offer a show of a Bedouin Wedding ceremony usually with a lot of audience participation. Then sleep in a Bedouin tent or if you prefer out, under the starry sky.
For more information and full list of services visit one of the pages below