Wadi Rum – The Valley of The Moon

A timeless place, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as “vast, echoing and God-like…”
The  desert is probably best known because of its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and as the setting for the film that carried his name “Lawrence of Arabia”.

Wadi rum protected area

where is wadi rum?

Desert 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.

A maze of monolithic rocks-capes in Jordan rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750 m creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers.

Hikers can enjoy the tranquility of the boundless empty spaces and explore the canyons and water holes to discover 4000-year-old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in store.

Everywhere in this moonscape place of Rum, are indications of man’s presence since the earliest known times.
Scattered around are flint hand axes, while on the rocks at the feet of the mountains the names of ancient travelers are scratched. All around, there is emptiness and silence. In this immense space, man is dwarfed to insignificance.

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what is wadi rum famous for

The desert Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabataeans–leaving their mark in the form of petroglyphs, inscriptions, and temple.

In the West, Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18.

In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Desert, originally known as Jabal al-Mazmar (The Mountain of (the) Plague), was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” after Lawrence’s book (Download Seven Pillars of Wisdom T. E. Lawrence) penned in the aftermath of the war, though the ‘Seven Pillars’ referred to in the book have no connection with Rum.

Lawrence described his entrance into the Valley of Rum, “The hills on the right grew taller and sharper, a fair counterpart of the other side which straightened itself to one massive rampart of redness.

They drew together until only two miles divided them: and then, towering gradually till their parallel parapets must have been a thousand feet above us, ran forward in an avenue for miles.

The crags were capped in nests of domes, less hotly red than then body of the hill; rather grey and shallow. They gave the finishing semblance of Byzantine architecture to this irresistible place: this processional way greater than imagination.”

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Lawrence of Arabia (film)

Lawrence also described his encounter with the spring, Ain Shalaaleh, “On the rock-bulge above were clear-cut Nabathaean inscriptions, and a sunk panel incised with a monogram or symbol.

Around and about were Arab scratches, including tribe-marks, some of which were witnesses of forgotten migrations: but my attention was only for the splashing of water in a crevice under the shadow of the overhanging rock. I looked in to see the spout, a little thinner than my wrist, jetting out firmly from a fissure in the roof, and falling with that clean sound into a shallow, frothing pool, behind the step which served as an entrance. Thick ferns and grasses of the finest green made it a paradise just five feet square.”

The discovery of the Nabataean Temple (located walking distance from the Rest House) in 1933 briefly returned the spotlight to the desert. A French team of archaeologists completed the excavations in 1997.

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The desert tribes, Huweitat and Mzanah, inhabiting southern desert maintain the warm hospitality which characterizes genuine Arab culture. It would be difficult to resist their friendly invitation to share mint tea or cardamom-flavored coffee in their black tents. Enjoy the hospitality whilst sitting by the fire under a starry desert sky – an unforgettable experience.

Before reaching Rum desert, visitors will encounter the fort of the desert Patrol. The patrolmen are friendly, hospitable and will answer questions willingly over a cup of coffee.

Perfect ambassadors for their country, the men of the famous Desert Patrol wear perhaps the most beautiful uniforms in the Middle East: a long khaki dish-dash held by a bright red bandoleer, a holster with a dagger around the waist, and rifle slung over the back.

The headdress is the traditional red-and-white checkered Kouffieh worn by the Bedouins of Jordan, but wrapped under the chin. The Desert Patrol operates out of an old beau guest-style police fort built in the 1930’s.

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The area is a protected environment. Rare species of animals, small plants, and herbs can be found by the inquisitive traveler. Red anemones, poppies and the striking black iris, Jordan’s national flower, all grow at will by the roadside and in more quiet reaches. Herbal medicinal cures used for centuries by the Bedouins are found in the mountainous regions.

Rum desert is also a bird-watchers’ haven with its 110 recorded species. Vultures, buzzards, eagles and sparrows are a few to be seen by those looking skyward. Other interesting creatures to be found include the camel-spider, feared by local Bedouins for its ability to harm camels, however this spider is not dangerous to man.

Seen gracefully in its natural habitat, the Ibex, mountain goat, is often spotted in the desert terrain. Another interesting animals there, are the Gray Wolf, Blandford’s Fox, and the Arabian Sand Cat which is similar in appearance to a domesticated cat and survives in its harsh desert surroundings.


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Weather in Wadi Rum Jordan

The sandy valleys of are located on average around 1000 meters above sea level. That is why the temperatures are cooler than in the eastern desert plains of Jordan, the Red Sea and the Jordan valley. Rum is characterized by a dry climate and a high variation of the daily temperature range depending on the time of the year: in summer, temperatures range from 15 C ° to 45 C °, while in winter they range from 5 C ° to 20 C °.

Annual precipitation is low (i.e. 50 to 100 mm) and concentrated in winter. Ideal months to visit are March, April, September, October and November.

Rum receives its annual rainfall in the winter months. It has also been known to snow in the mountains, yet snow quickly melts.

In the winter, it’s recommended to dress in layers, a jacket over a pullover, over a sweatshirt, over a tee shirt: like this you can peel off as much as you want to. Remember that walking in the sun, and sitting in the shade are quite different, and don’t leave a pullover/sweater at the hotel just because the sun is shining and the sky is blue.


You may well appreciate a pair of gloves for visiting Rum!
Almost certainly the desert temperature will go down close to freezing point at night, quite probably beyond, possibly well beyond! A difference of 20 or even 25°C between daytime and nighttime temperature is quite normal in Jordan.

Protective clothing should be worn in the summer. Sun block, water and cool covering clothing should be used in the summer months. Conservative clothing should be worn at all times, for respect of the traditional Bedouin culture.

What to bring ?
You should have a Light, loose-fitting clothing, Sun hat or Bedouin scarf, sunscreen and sunglasses. Walking shoes or sandals with grip – even if you opt-out of hiking, you will still want to wear comfortable shoes. Day pack or backpack and of course, don’t forget the most important thing: Your Camera !

In Summer time, it’s recommended to wearing comfortable light-weight and light-colored clothing to stay cool. Linen and cotton will keep you comfortable and cool. Wearing a sun hat or Bedouin scarf is essential to protect yourself from the sun.

in Winter time, to wearing warm layers of clothing – jacket or windbreaker, sweater, jumper or fleece jacket, warm hat, gloves and socks. Pack these warmer layers just in case, and hopefully, you won’t have to wear them.

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1 day excursion to Rum from Aqaba
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5 days touring Jordan including Rum
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8 days touring Jordan including Rum

camping in wadi rum

Camping in Wadi Rum allows visitors to immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of nature while indulging in Bedouin hospitality. As the sun sets, a symphony of colors paints the horizon, creating a surreal backdrop for evenings spent around crackling campfires, savoring traditional Bedouin cuisine, and listening to tales of ancient lore. Wadi Rum is a sanctuary where the soul finds solace and the spirit is rejuvenated, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wanderers alike.

wadi rum visitor center

At Wadi Rum visitors centre, you can obtain information about the desert, purchase entry permits, and arrange for guided tours or transportation into the  protected area. The staff at the visitor center can provide you with maps, recommendations, and details about the various activities and attractions available in Wadi Rum.

Additionally, the visitor center often serves as a hub for organizing desert safaris, camel rides, hiking trips, and overnight camping experiences. It’s a great place to start your exploration of Wadi Rum and learn about the local culture, history, and natural wonders.

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