Countries,  Jordan

A Little Bit About Red Sand: Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan

Hello darlings! How are you feeling? We will continue with Jordan and today we will shake ourselves in jeeps in the Wadi Rum desert. We will learn what you can see among the sands. Why is it so red. What films were filmed here. And of course where are the best places for cool photos.

Wadi Rum is a desert in Jordan. Located near Aqaba and Eilat. “Wadi” is translated as “valley”, and “Ram” is the exact name of the valley and central village.

The desert is almost an ideal place for directors. Here they shot such films as «Lawrence of Arabia», «Transformers», «Red Planet», «Last Days on Mars», «Martian», "Outcast One. Star Wars: Stories «,» Aladdin «,» Star Wars. Episode IX. "

Wadi Rum is located close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Since ancient times caravans were heading from Palestine and Syria to Arabia. Bedouins today lead the same lifestyle as a thousand years ago. Neither the desert, nor housing, nor cuisine are changing. Only cars, televisions and tourists were added.

Bedouins are divided into tribes. In Wadi Rum lives Höwaitat tribe. Its representatives can be found outside Wadi Rum — all over Jordan, as well as in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It is believed that the ancestor of this tribe is Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Muhammad.

The highest peak of the desert is Mount Um al-Dami with a height of 1830 meters. And in 2011 the reserve was included into the UNESCO World Heritage. This is the only desert protected by the organization.

HISTORY

The Arab revolts of 1916—1918 was the most significant event in the desert. And it was here where the British Thomas Edward Lawrence stopped and helped the slaves wage war against the Turks. In the same places the film «Lawrence of Arabia» was shot in 1962.

Lawrence himself is a very interesting personality. He flared like a star of the east while Europe fought in World War I. Since Lawrence traveled extensively in Arabia and studied the Arabic language after enrolling in the British army he was sent to Egypt at the Bureau of Arab Affairs in Cairo. From there events led him to the Moon Valley where he joined the Great Arab Revolt.

On one side there was the Ottoman Empire. It controlled most of the region and was in alliance with Germany. On the other hand-local Arab tribes. For almost 400 years they craved for self-government and the creation of a united Arab state. They were supported by Great Britain. By encouraging and financing the Arab rebellion the British wanted to weaken Turkey influence.

In Europe Thomas was considered to be a hero and he himself reinforced this rumors creating a romantic image of the Arab war in his book «The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.» Here he also described a new method of warfare suitable for the Arabian mentality — guerrilla warfare. So he turned the military weakness of the Arab army into its strength.

But many believe that all this was just a self-PR and there is no direct evidence.

In the Ridley Scott film ‘Prometheus’ android David often revises this film and imitates the main character by dyeing his hair with a light straw color.

WHAT TO SEE

The first thing that is already visible at the very entrance of the desert is Mount Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Near there is the Tourist Center with shops and cafes. And beyond its walls starts the land of winds and red sand.

The color of the sand is not even red. Its more like terracotta. Like frozen clay passing through a fire. Like tiles from the hot countries of the Mediterranean Sea. But there is no heat in this sand. It is soft and dusty, like icing sugar. And cold.

For thousands of years grain by grain this sand was blown from the rocks. They drain down under the weight of centuries turning into the Sea of Red. And above it solid, sharp mountains drift along a dried valley like icebergs.

The desert is silent. Sand swallows all the sounds of its four-legged inhabitants. They merge with the sands and the vastness of the plain. On these estates only camel’s long-legged silhouettes are visible. As they swing and throw their paws forward trying to grab more of that sand. But the largest beast here is an iron Toyota.

Cars are small bugs in comparison to rocky hills. They quickly crawl from one place to another. The sand is buzzing and tamping with their rubber paws.

The desert became a highway for the ancestors of the ancient Arabs. The winds are no longer able to smooth out track wheels chaos. They became part of a viscous surface as well as traces of camel’s soft paws.

And then there is the sunset. It takes away the last heat. The sun rakes up all golden sand overflows. And a colorless mass remains beyond the borders of the rays. The rocks are fading. The only bright spot is the red glowing streak on the horizon. It gathered all the heat, all the density of sand, all the true color of the Wadi Rum desert. But the Earth will make one turn and the sun will return the colors to the fiery desert again.

INFORMATION

I went there with an excursion from Aqaba. Booked in advance. I found a local agency on the Internet and booked online (https://jordan-trip.ru.).

Another option is to get to the desert on your own and book an excursion there. It is worth considering that public transport is very poor so the only options are rent a car, taxi or hitchhiking. And you can’t move around in the desert with your own transport.

Excursions are by car, by camel. Trekking is also possible. It is best to take an excursion not at the Tourist Center but from the local guides. They will show much more. Riding camels all day can affect your back so this option is more likely for a couple of hours. Just for fun.

Entrance to the desert costs 5 JOD ($ 7).

Prices for excursions among the Bedouins:

  • 2 hours (Lawrence spring, red dune, Hazali canyon with petroglyphs) — 30 JOD for one, 30-50 JOD for two.
  • 4 hours (Lawrence spring, red dune, Hazali canyon with petroglyphs, small arch) — 50-65 JOD for one, 70-80 JOD for two.
  • 5 hours (Lawrence spring, red dune, Hazali canyon with petroglyphs, small arch, Um Frouth Rock bridge) — 55-70 JOD for one, 60-80 JOD for two.
  • 7-8 hours (all major attractions) — 65-80 JOD for one, 80-90 JOD for two.

Bedouin sites where you can book excursions in advance:

  • wadirumcamelcamp.com,
  • wildwadirum.com,
  • bedouinwhispers.com,
  • wadirumbedouintraditions.com,
  • wadirumdiscovery.com.

If you wish, you can stay overnight. It will be a bed in a real Bedouin tent.You can book through the same Bedouins, through an agency (there are many different types of excursions), or simply through booking.com). These hotels are held by local Bedouin tribes who live in the desert.

The next point is Petra temple deep in the mountains. Are you with me?) MarrySav

This post is also available in: Russian

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