Wadi Rum

One of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the Middle East, Wadi Rum is 720 square kilometres of desert and surreal rock formations. I spent two nights at a camp in the desert, an unforgettable experience.

The first glimpse was from the visitor centre as the sun set.

Before an atmospheric dusk jeep drive out to our desert camp.

The Bedouin cooked dinner under the ground in traditional fashion.

The morning gave the first view of the camp, and the surrounding landscape. I counted at least a dozen camps visible from ours, there appear to literally hundreds in Wadi Rum, not quite what I was expecting…

Sunrise lit up the landscape.

We spent the morning walking 10km in a loop from the camp. The fine sand was tough to walk on but it is hard to beat these views.

There are some beautiful flowers and plants in the desert.

And plenty of animal tracks and a few bugs.

The rich colours reminded me of the Australian outback.

The different colours in the distance were phenomenal.

We walked past a herd of goat.

There were camels around but jeeps have taken over as the main form of transport.

The rock formations reminded me of Uluru and other sights in Central Australia.

This is how the Bedouin capture water from the landscape.

We stopped in the shade by this incredible rock formation.

This mushroom shaped rock has been formed by wind erosion.

Nearby was this arch in the rock, one of a number in Wadi Rum of varying size.

The best views came from walking over the arch and up the rocks.

In the afternoon we boarded jeeps to visit four of the most popular sights in Wadi Rum. In the morning we saw no one else, in the afternoon there were many other groups and tourists doing silly things…

First stop was a giant sand dune, which I didn’t head up fully as I’ve been up similar ones in New Zealand and Australia and found them hard enough work without the afternoon heat of the desert.

Next stop was Alkazali, an impressive narrow gorge with old carvings into the rock.

Then onto another small arch.

And finished with a much larger arch.

We finished a busy day with a good if not amazing sunset. There was too much dust in the air, but it was still a pretty impressive spot to end the day. The night sky that followed was underwhelming compared with the New Zealand backcountry or Australian outback, with far too much light pollution from the many camps impacting the clarity of the star gazing.

Author: jontycrane

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