red (in fact, a film about Mars was shot
here). Wadi Rum is a protected area and access is possible only with a
local guide. Only approved four-wheel drive vehicles are permitted.
We visited one morning in
early November and had left Aqaba basking in 20+ degreesC. However, we
found the desert cool, especially when travelling in an open sided vehicle.
We had got into the mood by wearing headscarves - I wore my kuffiyeh and igal (see Shopping
in Aqaba) - which proved to be a wise move to keep us warm
and to keep the sand out of our faces.
The vegetation gives away the site of a dried up
Those tiny dots on top of the slope are people
There are a few things on
a touring holiday that you could term "Wow!" moments. Wadi Rum was certainly one of those. The scale of of the place
is simply stunning; it is huge and remote and barren. Although we only
travelled a few kilometres from the entrance we really felt like explorers.
A particularly memorable time was when we had tea in a remote Bedouin
tent (see below).
The furthest part of our tour was a cliff that was split rather like
a small version of the Siq at Petra. We were able to walk into the cliff
at ground level and on a narrow ledge some 3m up. There was evidence that
water cascaded through this gorge during the winter. Outside, the ground
was flat and the sand a different colour showing that it was the site
of an occasional pool.
We cross a dried up waterhole towards the cliff
. . .
. . . where we venture inside
After a couple of hours we returned to the Visitors Centre where there
are clean toilets and some souvenir shops. After visiting a small exhibition
about geology, flora, fauna etc, we sat in an auditorium and watched a
movie about Wadi Rum. The film displayed different images on three screens,
which was confusing, and the commentary was full of cliches (reminiscent
of Peter Sellers' spoof travelogue: Balham, Gateway to the South)
- well worth missing.
Before leaving we had a buffet meal at the Visitors Centre. Eating outdoors
with the desert alongside and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom mountain as
a background was nothing short of magical.