The day didn’t start well, with our drive from Petra back to Amman shrouded in some of the thickest mist I’ve ever seen. Visibility in the mountains was down to about 20 metres, and we really weren’t comfortable driving, but our driver was used to it and carried on at very slow speed.
Dropping out of the mountains to Wadi Rum was like flying through the clouds into the bright sunlight above. In just a minute or two the mist stopped and the skies were once again clear.
Wadi Rum has what looks like a newly built visitor centre, opposite the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a mountain named after the book by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia).
After a quick registration (just sign your name and pay up) we climbed into the back of a 4×4 and set off into the desert.
Siq Um Tawaqi – Lawrence’s spring
Siq Um Tawaqi is supposedly where Lawrence of Arabia washed during the Arab Revolt. The area also has a tent where you’re invited in for free coffee (along with heavy hints about offering donations to cover the coffee).
It’s traditional to have three coffees. Just one suggests the coffee is bad, two is being polite, three indicates the coffee is good. Shake your cup to get more. There are no toilets, so three is more than enough.
Wadi Rum Tips
We only had half a day there on the drive back to Amman, so travelled round in a 4×4. If you’ve more time Wadi Rum an be explored on camel or horseback. We also passed one foreign guy on foot, but he didn’t look very happy. There’s also a number of interesting rock climbing sites.
Wear flip flops as shoes fill with sand. Bare feet is possible, but where the sand has been under the sun for a while it can get unpleasantly warm.
Around the holiday camps (but not the Bedoulin camps) there are a few bits of litter so watch for broken glass or ring pulls.
If you sit out on the back of the truck wear sun screen and dress warm. It can get chilly when the truck is moving fast or when you walk in the shade of the rocky outcrops.