From Amman, Wadi Rum is a min. 2-day trip,
and a good overnight destination. It is suitable for grownup kids,
with fun camping facilities, basic, safe and providing acceptable
roughing-up experience for a practical family.
Tips: the main "famous" sights
of Wadi Rum can be done in one full day, but for those who like
hiking and exploring off-the-beaten-track walks, a two or three
days would effectively leave a lasting impact. Wadi Rum is an ideal
"exercise destination" it can help individuals caught-up
in urban, unhealthy duties, to shape up their body and spirit. Rum
is relatively cooler than the eastern desert and its dry clean air
is therapeutic and invigorating.
A trip to Wadi Rum can be combined with other
obvious destinations, such as Aqaba or Petra. Other less famous
destinations can include Humaima (an Islamic site west of the Highway
to Aqaba) Udruh on the way from Petra to Ma'an, the gardens of Ma'an,
and, during the cooler winter season, the back-door drive from Deeseh
Re-thinking Wadi Rum
Not to finish this destination in one go,
it is important to take one aspect at a time, to discover and enjoy
this wide and unique landscape. This is a destination of varied
attractions (general tourists attractions, mountain climbing, birds
and wild plants, star watching, archeology, Bedouin culture… etc.)
Rum can demand from certain types of visitors a lasting relationship
culminating to a degree of devotion, it would keep asking its lovers
to come back; Rum can enrich and educate some of us for lifetime.
For now, the Rum destination would be explored
through the water springs and the small, tranquil, special spots
they create. Spots of little "hanging gardens" in the
middle of this vast, dry, eerie, and peculiar landscape.
Arriving to Wadi Rum feels like the arrival
from an open outdoor space to an Indoor space of vast dimensions.
This feeling acquires its full strength when you see the Rum village
from a distance. This grand space is the largest and most defined
corridor or gallery, with vertical walls and smaller side corridors.
Rum can also be compared to a city with monolithic window-less buildings.
The Main corridors run north-south, with one major corridor (Khor
Ajram) running east-west, show a recognizable grid that respond
to subterranean faults. The Meeting of Khor Ajram with Wadi Rum
at Jabal Khaz'ali macks this mountain, Khaz'ali, a central alter-piece
in a landscape that appears like a humongous ruined temple, with
maroon walls and deep-blue ceiling.
What is surprising, and often deceiving,
is that the altitude of the "bottom" of Wadi Rum is 900
meters from sea level (1000m high at the base of Khaz'ali Mountain).
This fact that is often wrongly assessed, as when we descend from
Ras Al Naqab we think of Wadi Rum as when descending from Amman
to the Jordan Valley. On this platform that appears like a"
Wadi" or valley, Jabal Rum, the mountain to the west of the
Rum Village is a unique monument. It is a chunk of sandstone, 700
meter thick, that sits of a pedestal of granite about 40 meter high
to reach the total height of 1754 meter from sea level; Jordan's
It would be more accurate, geologically speaking, to think of Wadi
Rum as tableland, with sandstone pillars standing on it, rather
than a valley. The visible line of contact between granite and sandstone
can organize our understanding of this natural monument. Below this
line, granite, with its massive boulders, is exposed to us as a
profile that looks like side of a ruined pyramid, with an overall
slope close to 45 degrees. Above this contact line, sandstone stands
mainly vertical, borrowing from architecture many elements such
as domes, cantilevered monolithic shelves looking like balconies,
and arches that, in time, form complete bridges. Sandstone behaves
like an architect, one who is flexible, detail-oriented, and has
a soft spot for ornaments.
This contact line is also the boundary between
rocks of opposite origins. Granite is igneous (was molten before
becoming rock), it is Jordan's oldest rock, related to the "continental
basement" that has formed by the cooling of the earth after
it's creation some 4.6 billion years ago. Sandstone is sedimentary,
has been built up in layers under water some 500 million years ago.
From this point where rocks created by fire meet rocks created by
water, a line of gentle springs hide within its depth many secrets
of this strange land.
There are two main springs on this line:
Ain Shallaaleh (closer to the rest house) and Abu 'Aina further
to the south. Besides these two springs, all along the contact line
of granite-sandstone, water seeps out into light in different amounts.
This line is a wonderful walk and easy to explore. It is like a
crack in big clay jar seeping water; a secret that birds and plants
learned so well and shared it with the Edomites, the Nabateans and
Wild fig trees clinch to this line like leeches
to their host, their roots run horizontally following the farthermost
drop of water. As these trees hang on this line of life, their root
system creates a web of veins adapted to this vertical oasis, they
have to master their anchorage in order to survive
This water line is fed by the massive Jabal
Rum, a chunk of sandstone that works like a big sponge sitting of
a slab of impermeable granite. Granite, the harder rock, acts like
a tray slopping eastward hence the location of springs on the eastern
side of the mountain. The granite of Wadi Rum keeps sloping downward
as we move to the east and disappears completely underground at
the eastern parts of the protected area in the direction of Mudawwara.
Understanding the geology of Wadi Rum can
help us enjoy it as an "integrated system" and not only
as a unique work of art. It would reveal to us the fuller story
as told by nature with its magnitude and subtleties
Wadi Rum is an experience in altering your visual scale; its vertical
elevations are so vast that they can re-format your sense of proportions,
completely re-setting the visual calibrations between vertical and
horizontal. Rum is definitely an experience and possibly a transformation.