A Nomad’s Guide to Exploring Wadi Rum in Depth

The wilderness of Wadi Rum is undoubtedly one of the world’s most dramatic, off-the-beaten-track adventure destinations. If you’re searching for an out-of-this-world experience, you'll find it here.

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Photo © Jase Wilson

A lifetime of adventures await the willing in Wadi Rum. Trekking, canyoning, desert camping, rock climbing, and the Bedouin guides provide unforgettable adventures to experience. 

Climbing and Canyoning in Wadi Rum

Not a climber? No worries. There are traditional Bedouin trekking routes to tackle, and guides available to take you through the maze of sandstone domes.

It's possible to trek and climb to the summits of Jebel Rum, Jebel Um Ishrin, or the spectacular Burdah rock bridge. Jebel Khazali has an extremely adventurous canyon descent – you’ll need waterproof gear!

Wadi Rum Bedouin guides can take care of you. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay a minimum of 50 dinar/day (US $70/day) per person, depending on the group size and itinerary.

Exploring Rakabat Canyon near the village of Wadi Rum. Photo credit: Jase Wilson

Desert Camping in Wadi Rum

There are many Bedouin camps where travelers can stay. These are open tents which are fully serviced.

However, if you want to have your own unique experience, Barrah Canyon is a remote and wildly beautiful destination. You will need your own camping gear for this.

Desert camping in Barrah Canyon. Photo credit: Jase Wilson

Explore by Camel Back or 4x4 Jeep Tours

Camel back, or 4x4 jeep tours, are the best ways to view the landscape if you have a limited timeframe. These can be organized easily once in Rum.

Rides out into the desert cost around 100 dinar (US $140) for a return trip.

4x4 jeep tour out to Jebel Swaybeth near the Saudi border. Photo credit: Jase Wilson
 Bedouin guides just outside of Wadi Rum. Photo credit: Jase Wilson

About the Bedouins

Hospitality is important to Bedouins – they will do everything possible to be accommodating. Be careful, they will go to great lengths to meet your requests, even if you change your mind!

You should dress sensibly. Men and women should wear long pants while in Rum, and tank tops are out of the question. If you’re invited to any public events by your hosts – a wedding, for example – don’t say no. Just go: it’ll be an experience!

Accommodation

There are many accommodation providers in Rum, and booking.com has plenty of options to choose from. For the more spontaneous, it’s possible to find a family to host you once in Rum by going to the Government Rest House at the edge of town.

Getting to Wadi Rum

Fly to Amman, or Aqaba and take a bus, rental car, or taxi – depending on the size of your group. The village of Rum is a 4hr drive straight south of Amman.

A one-way taxi from the airport to Rum costs 100 dinar (US $140). The bus trip takes most of the day, and costs less than 20 dinar (US $28) – JETT and Petra are the companies you’ll go with.

When to Go

Early spring (Feb-April) and late fall (Oct-Nov) are the best times to visit for trekking routes. This is the ‘just-right’ time to visit when its neither too hot, or cold.

What to Bring

Lightweight hiking boots, long pants, a sleeping pad and bag, a mosquito net to keep the earwigs out, high SPF sun screen, a sunhat, and sunglasses.

Bring warm clothes: temperatures can drop below zero in the desert at night. Bring plenty of cash, there are no ATMs in Rum. 

Above everything else, bring fitness, and a sense of adventure!

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3 Comments

  • Robert Weiss said

    My wife and I have travelled extensively in Jordan and have made numerous trips to Wadi Rum. The desert there is unique in the world and since it is a UNESCO world site, untouched once you leave Rum Village and enter he pink desserts. We have been hosted at Rainbow Camp, by the Zlabeih family and they have become family to us as well. They have a beautiful camp with fantastic views. They offer all the choices you could want for exploration, hiking, camel and jeep tours etc. The Bedouin are the most hospitable and generous people you could hope to meet. Wadi Rum is unique on the planet.

    www.rainbowcampsite.com - or -Sulieman Al Zlabeih, Manager 962-77-654-6470
    Check Trip Advisor for Reviews

  • Maria said

    Hi, may I know where was the first photo taken? It is a stunning view! It is possible to get there without rope?

  • Jase Wilson said

    Hi Maria,

    The first photo is taken on the top of a peak that is in a very remote corner of the nature reserve. Getting to the top without a rope is not possible. However, off in the distance behind the climber, is the "Old Aquaba Highway", which fully takes you out into the middle of nowhere, and its possible to either take a jeep or a camel trek, although you will have to search around for such adventure providers.

    Jase

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