Jordan - Just deserts
One of a sequence of parallel faults forming valleys in the sandy desert south of Petra’s Shara mountains (wadi means “valley”), Rum’s stunning panoramas are shaped by giant granite, basalt and sandstone mountains rising up to 800m sheer from the desert floor.
The rocky landscape has been weathered over the millennia into bulbous domes and weird ridges and textures that look like molten candle-wax, but it’s the sheer bulk of these mountains that awes – some with vertical, smooth flanks, others scarred and distorted, seemingly dripping and melting under the burning sun.
The intervening level corridors of soft red sand only add to the image of the mountains as monumental islands in a dry sea. Split through by networks of canyons and ravines, spanned by naturally formed rock bridges and watered by hidden springs, the mountains offer opportunities galore for scrambling and rock-climbing, where you could walk for hours or days without seeing another soul.
T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) loved Rum – and the epic, Oscar-winning movie based on his life was filmed right here in Wadi Rum.
However long you are in Jordan, you should clear at least one night in your schedule to sleep out in Wadi Rum’s beautiful natural wilderness, in the safe and capable hands of one of the many local Bedouin guides who operate traditional-style campsites far out in the deep desert. Sunsets are majestic, as the evening cool takes over from the heat of the day. The clarity of the desert air here produces a starry sky of simply stunning beauty – and falling asleep as the moonlight shadows lengthen across the sands is nothing short of magical.
For more information go to www.visitjordan.com.