Do you want to go to Wadi Rum and you are just not sure about what to do there? Whether you have a car of your own to explore the beauty of Jordanian landscapes, or you are there with some other kind of transportation, there are loads of things you can do!
1. Khazali Canyon
One of the most famous places in Wadi Rum and one that attracts many tourists is Khazali Canyon. The story goes that the mountain was named after Khazal, a criminal who, running from his pursuers, climbed the mountain and after seeing that the only way of escaping them is to leap from the mountain, did exactly that. The story says that, miraculously, he was unharmed and managed to escape them.
This canyon, even though only 100 meters long and very narrow, is one of the things you must experience and see with your own eyes. Do yourself a favor and go inside the canyon itself. Numerous ancient Nabatean, Islamic (Kufic) and Thamudic inscriptions and petroglyph rock drawings cover the walls of the canyon, depicting various moments and stories of ancient people living in the area many centuries ago. Islamic inscriptions tell stories about prophet Mohammed and Allah, while Nabatean petroglyphs depict various animals and people. While the two are in good shape and can be seen clearly, it is not the case with Thamudic drawings, as they are damaged by the sun and barely visible. As people came to Wadi Rum a long time ago, they built pools that you can find inside the canyon as well.
Khazali is impressive as it is, but while being at the entrance of the canyon, look in the opposite direction of the canyon – to the vast area in the direction of the Wadi Rum Village. This area is used by many Bedouins to this day, whether it be for bringing tourist to their campsite, taking camels to a different area or bringing herds to graze the scattered and patchy grass. During winter, every couple of minutes you can see a car or a wandering camel slowly moving through the landscape, but during the summer, the numbers multiply.
2. Desert camping
No matter whether you like comfort, modern, or real Bedouin experience, there is a place to fit your needs in Wadi Rum. Tourism industry boomed here, and whatever you prefer regarding your traveling, you can find it. Camping in Wadi Rum has its charms, from clear dark nights, with basically no light pollution, to listening to the wildlife that vocalizes in the distance or be it a plain sitting around the fire in the night. One of the regrets we have is not learning more about how the Bedouin spent their time around the fires.
Winter camping can be cold. Some campsites have tents where you can have the heating on, in a form of a fire or even electric heaters, but you must understand that this is considered the luxury and it is something you will have to pay extra for (or it will be included in the price of your reservation). But whether you opt for a place that is heated by an external source or the place where your bed is heated with your own body, you will be provided with loads of sheets and blankets so you will not be (too) cold.
3. Camel and car rides in Wadi Rum
Camel rides are a must. Length is up to you, but it’s something to experience. You get a camel that you can ride, where you want to, while someone experienced is following you in case something goes south. Car rides are usually longer. If you opt for a car ride, they will take you around the desert, around the sandstone mountains where you can see many different attractions.
If you are staying in a Bedouin camp, they will most likely offer you some combo for both camel and car ride. Here is where you have to be good at knowing what is the price you’re willing to pay for the experience. There are obvious benefits of getting the car ride, such as getting to experience more of the area in a fairly short time and spend loads of time wherever you want to.
4. Hiking the desert
I feel this is the most underappreciated activity in Wadi Rum. You get all these exotic options, as 4×4 car rides, camel rides, or both, you get to sleep in real beds and you get to use modern, dare I say it, Western-style bathrooms. Desert has full 4G cell service and there is always someone that is whizzing next to you in a 4×4. Having all these luxuries of the modern age at their disposal at any time, people seem to forget that this is a desert, where you can find deadly animals such as scorpions, where not having water is a very, VERY bad idea.
All of that said, if you are prepared and if you want to experience the true essence of Wadi Rum, you must hike it. Short hike, long hike, it does not matter. Feeling the sand under your shoes, following the animal tracks, listening to Desert Finches singing or leaving a footprint in the sand is something you might cherish more than taking a selfie in a back of a truck. Khazali Canyon is a great place to hike to or from.
Keep in mind, that if you do decide to hike, you should dress properly and bring plenty of water. During winter time, the wind is not an unusual occurrence, while on the other hand, you will need to have sunblock to protect yourself from burning your skin in the sun.
5. Have fun!
No matter what you do, what you decide, enjoy your stay. Bedouins are generous people, they will help you with any and all your needs. The camels can be tricky to handle, but you get used to them in a while. Cold and heat can be dealt with. All you need to do is to enjoy.
If you get to Wadi Rum Village before 5 PM, stay there until that time. They had the most amazing Call for Prayer there, that resonates the sandstone and granite mountains that surround you, creating an echo that will give you goosebumps.
Have you been to Wadi Rum before? If so, tell us what we’ve missed and what you think we should have done besides this, as we definitely plan on going back there one day! 😊
Stay tuned and follow our footprints!