We left Petra towards Aqaba with a public bus at dawn. The small, circa twenty person capacity public bus stopped at several smaller local stops, and generally anywhere in between where the passengers requested the driver to stop. We hopped off the bus at a divergence and hitchhiked towards the entrance of the Wadi Rum National Park.
Wadi Rum is well known for its beautiful desert landscapes and rock formations, many picturing it as a landscape on Mars. No wonder it became one of Jordan’s important tourist destinations, and by now, the local Bedouin community’s main income source is tourism, organizing activities in the desert like camel & horse riding, various length jeep tours, camping under the stars and hiking. The main attraction of the magical Wadi Rum is the tranquility of the desert, and its astonishing views.
Unfortunately we arrived after a massive dust storm has hit the region, and the distance of view was extremely low, we could see hardly further than a 100 meters. The locals on the way all told us that it could take from several days to weeks to clear out, unless it rains, which seemed quite unlikely.
Wadi Rum Village is a small dwelling in the Wadi Rum National Park, home to only a couple of hundred Bedouin inhabitants who live in tents and simple concrete houses. This is the starting point of all organised tourist activities in the desert.
As we arrived too late in the morning, and haven’t pre-booked any tours, we couldn’t find anyone in the headquarters of the desert tours – the guides left early in the morning for day trips out in the desert.
As we didn’t have too much time left in Jordan when arriving to Wadi Rum, we had to decide between staying here overnight, or visiting the nearby city of Aqaba by the Red Sea as well. Originally we were planning to hike here, and spend the night in the desert under the starry sky, but because of the unfortunate weather conditions, we decided to have a day hike in the desert and travel towards Aqaba later that night.
As we walked through Wadi Rum Village to start the hike in the National Park, we stumbled upon two local boys with their camels, and made a deal with them to take us to Lawrence’s Spring on camelback, for 15 Jordanian Dinar each. Sadly, my camera was running out memory by this time, that’s why I only have a few photos documenting this last leg of the trip.
Riding on a camel in the desert in a dust storm which reduced the view to a couple of hundred meters had its own atmosphere, but we couldn’t examine the stunning rock formations and sandstone hills around us, nevertheless it was adventurous, and camel riding was a great experience itself. There was a small camp site near Lawrence’s spring (a spring where Lawrence of Arabia is believed to stay) , where we had a tea with the local Bedouins while the camels quenched their thirst, then walked up the mountain towards the source of the spring.