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Wadi Rum: Your Complete Guide

Secondary Categories: JordanGuide

Our Destination Experts aren’t only trip designers – each of them has unique worldly experiences that make them the travel expert they are today. Read on as Destination Expert Jackie Becker gives the rundown on the breathtaking Wadi Rum.

For someone that has traveled far and wide and dedicates their professional life to helping others do the same, Wadi Rum in Jordan is one of my absolute favorite destinations. Join me as I share about this incredible Mars-like desert, why it can’t be missed, what to bring, and so much more.

What is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is a stunningly scenic, red-toned mountain desert in the southern part of Jordan. The area is over 200 square miles, making this wilderness almost as large as New York City!

Wadi Rum has been named a UNESCO World Protected Site, both for its natural qualities and the history it contains. Hieroglyphics dating back as far as 12,000 years have been found on the red rocks, drawing both nature and history enthusiasts to the area.

If scenic sites like Zion National Park, Sedona, and the like make your jaw drop, prepare for similarly amazing views at Wadi Rum. It truly left me awestruck!

Wadi Rum sand dunes in Jordan
Panoramic views of the sprawling Wadi Rum desert.

Where is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is located 4 hours south of Amman, home of Jordan’s international airport. It’s also just 2 hours south of Petra, making it easy (and essential!) to include both sites in your Jordan trip.

Visitors can plan to head south and visit destinations like Dana before stopping at Petra. Then, continue south to visit Wadi Rum before returning to Amman.

If you’d love to keep exploring the region after arriving in Amman, Egypt is a simple 1.5 hour flight away!

When is the best time to visit Wadi Rum?

Spring and autumn are considered the best time to visit Wadi Rum. This ensures the days are not too hot, and the nights are not too frigid.

  • Spring, from mid-March through May: Highs of 94℉, lows of 55℉. Less than one inch of rain expected.

  • Autumn, from September-November: Highs of 90℉, lows of 40℉. Less than one inch of rain expected.

If visiting during other seasons, prepare for more extreme temperatures both during the day and night. Sandstorms are also possible in the winter, so be sure to pack something to cover your face just in case.

  • Summer, June-August: Highs of 101℉, lows of 65℉. Less than one inch of rain expected.

  • Winter, December-early March: Highs of 68℉, lows of 32℉. Rain is expected 2% of the time.

Year round, temperatures drop significantly once the sun goes down in Wadi Rum. Be sure to bring warm clothing so you can comfortably enjoy the night!

Sand dunes Wadi Rum, Jordan
Plan your visit during spring or autumn to ensure the most sun and options for activities. (Photo: Jackie Becker)

What are the top sites to see in Wadi Rum?

At every stop on your Wadi Rum tour, you’ll be met by a new panorama that takes your breath away. Here are a few of the top sites you’ll marvel at:

Um Fruth Rock Bridge

Um Fruth Rock Bridge is a 15 meter high natural rock arch, and is one of the most photographed spots in Wadi Rum!

The rock bridge is not only scenic, but can be climbed by just about anyone who can handle heights and has a decent level of fitness. Climbing Um Fruth Rock Bridge was one of my favorite parts of my Wadi Rum tour!

The Khazali Canyon

Khazali Canyon is a deep cleft in the red rock formations, where you’ll find the ancient hieroglyphics Wadi Rum is famous for.

The first tenth of a mile is easily explored by foot, and visitors can marvel at hieroglyphics and areas that were previously used as shelters. After this, the canyon would require climbing gear to explore further.

Lawrence’s Spring

Located near the entrance of Wadi Rum, this small spring is located at the bottom of a large red rock formation. While the spring itself is unique, the true marvel is the view from the top of Lawrence’s Spring (a 1.5 hour hike).

Lawrence-s Spring in Jordan
Marvel at the view below when you climb to the top of Lawrence’s Spring.

What can visitors do in Wadi Rum?

Adventure activities

While your Wadi Rum tour can be as laid back as you’d like, there is plenty of opportunity for adventurous travelers to get active.

Visitors can enjoy options like the following:

  • Climb to the top of the famous Um Fruth Rock Bridge (my personal favorite!)

  • Hike up a sand dune (harder than it sounds!)

  • Explore deep into the Khazali Canyon

  • Rock climb

  • Trek the desert floor for miles

  • And more!

If you enjoy being more active, ask your guide to let you explore by foot as much as possible. Your time in Wadi Rum will be even richer!

Um Fruth Rock Bridge in Wadi Rum, Jordan
Climbing the Um Fruth Rock Bridge could be a highlight photo from your trip!

Learn about the local culture

The Bedu are a nomadic community native to Wadi Rum. Due to local regulations, only the Bedouins living within the area are allowed to use their vehicles for desert safaris.

This means that most (if not all) visitors will have the unique opportunity to encounter the Bedu along their Wadi Rum journey.

Bedouins are incredibly talented, hospitable people who in my experience, share openly about their culture. When I visited Wadi Rum, I learned that the Bedu are experts of skills like pastoring, tent making, and tracking. I was told captivating stories of Bedouins finding lost animals far into the desert: I couldn’t believe the type of mastery it takes to track something through windswept sand!

Wadi Rum will not only be a scenic experience for you: your encounters with the Bedu will be a cultural one, and one that truly moves you.

Ride camels

Bedouin communities will often offer camel rides as a way to support their families. What better way to authentically explore the desert, while simultaneously giving back?

If you’d love that classic experience of riding a camel through an Arabian desert, get ready to fulfill that dream at Wadi Rum!

Note: It’s important to ensure that interactions with animals are ethical as you travel. As a B Corp certified agency, you can trust your SA Expeditions guide to help you make these calls.

Riding camels in Wadi Rum, Jordan
A Bedouin camel herder offers a ride to some delighted visitors.

Sleep beneath sparkling stars

Given its remote location, the stargazing in Wadi Rum is breathtaking. On a clear night visitors can see thousands of stars and even the spiraling Milky Way.

Wadi Rum has several luxury, mid-range, and simple “camping” areas complete with domes and tents. Make sure you include an overnight within Wadi Rum so you can enjoy the unparalleled stargazing. The views I enjoyed from my Wadi Rum camp were magical!

Stars over Wadi Rum, Jordan
Prepare for an awe-inspiring sky over Wadi Rum.

What should I pack for my Wadi Rum tour?

  • A hat or head wrap

  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses

  • Lip balm

  • A non-porous shoe like hiking boots (as opposed to standard tennis shoes), so you don’t finish your tour with red sandy feet!

  • Cool clothing that offers sun protection for during the day

  • Warm clothing for after the sun goes down

  • Snacks: while your overnight will provide meals, snacks are not readily available in this remote location.

  • A camera high quality enough to capture the night sky

  • Local cash (Jordanian Dinar), so you can pay for local handicrafts, camel rides, etc.

If you visit the amazing country of Jordan, make sure you include a stop at Wadi Rum. I know you’ll leave with as many amazing memories (and photos!) as I did.

Tourist walking at a desert camp in Wadi Rum Jordan

Craving adventure? Embark on an unforgettable journey through the desert land on a Classic Jordan & Petra expedition. You can even venture further and explore the Great Pyramids of Egypt, as the Middle East has so much to offer! Talk to a Destination Expert to get started.

About the Author: Jackie grew up in Texas, steeped in southern culture, but her desire to venture further south only grew. While she did volunteer work in Peru and Brazil, she took advantage of the chance to explore South America. Armed with extensive travel knowledge, she now works in tourism, enabling others to embark on their own dream trips.

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