Wadi Rum: Life On Mars

Wadi Rum: Life On Mars

Known as the Valley of the Moon and home to the real life Lawrence of Arabia, Wadi Rum is an unspoilt desert in Jordan with massive cliffs and jagged sandstone mountains that look like they desperately escaping from the ground before being frozen in time and turned to stone. At dawn and dusk, the red of the sand comes to life and you are left wondering if you are still on this planet of ours. After spending time in the Sahara desert in Morocco and the white and black deserts of the Bahariya oasis in Egypt, I didn’t exactly jump for joy at the idea of doing another desert trip just a month apart. I’m glad my friend Jen convinced me to skip a day in Petra to join her in Wadi Rum. Besides, who’s going to say no to pretty flight attendant?


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Desert 4 x 4 Adventure

Our Bedouin adventure started with a 4 x 4 ride through the Wadi Rum desert to explore the surrounding mountains and valleys. At Jebel Khazali, a popular location for climbing and scrambling, we explored one of the natural slot openings. It reminded me of the slot canyons in Utah. The Jabal Um Fruth Rock Bridge was next up. It’s a natural arch much like some of the ones at Arches National Park in, yup, Utah. With a good pair of shoes and some scrambling, most people can get to the top and our entire group did it with ease.

Goats Need To Eat Too

We had some company when we stopped for lunch. It was pretty peaceful until the goats came along and decided to overpower us with their numbers stealing half our lunch in the process. Even my friend Jen’s bananas were not safe from these guys.

Bedouin Camp

Just before sunset, we make it to camp where the real beauty of Wadi Rum was just about to reveal itself. The Bedouin camp couldn’t have been placed in a more perfect location with a small rocky mountain that gave us an even grander 360 view of the desert. As the sun began dropped to a lower angle, the granite developed a reddish glow. From a photographer’s perspective, I usually wait for the sun to drop below the horizon to softly light up the sky and clouds above, but here, I just wanted it to stay still.

In the evening, dinner was prepared for us in the Bedouin style of underground cooking. Round metal racks filled with potatoes, onions and chicken were stacked on top of each other, covered and buried in the ground with hot coals where it cooked for hours until the vegetable and chicken were so tender it just melted right in your mouth.

Sunrise in Wadi Rum

I woke just before dawn and climbed back atop the rocks to wait for day to break. The soft warm glow of morning light began to spread slowly across the expanse of the desert revealing the details of the sandstone and granite. Even before the sun came over the the peaks, everything was already glowing red. When it finally arrived, it really felt like I was seeing a sunrise for the first time.

I only slept for a few hours that night on this creaky bed, but sleeping under the stars with nothing but the desert around was incredibly energizing.

Bedouin Camp Bed In Desert

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2 Comments

  • […] The town of San Pedro de Atacama sits by the border of Argentina and Bolivia in Chile and is a popular gateway for those looking to see the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. What was originally a short pit stop became one of the highlights of my trip in terms of awe and wonder. It would be a huge understatement to say that this was the more extraterrestrial landscape I’ve encountered on my travels, surpassing even the Mars-like quality of Wadi Rum. […]

  • […] The town of San Pedro de Atacama sits by the border of Argentina and Bolivia in Chile and is a popular gateway for those looking to see the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. What was originally a two day pit stop became one of the highlights of my trip in terms of awe and wonder. It would be a huge understatement to say that this was the more extraterrestrial landscape I’ve encountered on my travels, surpassing even the Mars-like quality of Wadi Rum. […]

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