13th September 2022: Wadi Rum (and the bus) {Jordan, September 2022}

I had a boiled egg, potato hash-browns and coffee breakfast because my body was craving salt, I guess. Then we set off on the bus, where we ended up spending around seven hours (the 412 km are supposed to be done in 5 hours and a half, but that does not take into account bad traffic). Urgh. Our first stop was a viewpoint over the whole canyon area.

Wadi Musa valley panorama, showing the deep gorge from above

The second stop was a souvenir shop that had probably somehow bribed our guide or driver for it. None of us even bought anything, but we were forced to be there for about half an hour before we could continue to the only organised activity for the day – a two-hour jeep tour throughout the Natural Reserve and Unesco World Heritage Site of Wadi Rum | Wādī Ramm [وادي رم]. It is the largest wadi “valley”, created by alluvial fans and wind deposits, rather than the idea of a river bed. They are often found in deserts.

During the tour in Wadi Rum Reserve [محمية وادي رم] we drove through the desert and stopped at some rock formations that had built a gigantic dune. Wadi Rum used to be a granite and sandstone rocky formation. Thousands of years worth of wind eroded the sandstone back to sand, forming and shaping the desert dunes. Huge granite structures still stand, such as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom [عمدة الحكمة السبعة], just at the beginning of the route. One of the stops is the tourist-named Big Red Sand Dune, which you can climb for kicks, giggles and some nice views of the landscape.

Driving into Wadi Rum. The roof of the jeep is visible, along with a rock formation in the background. Between us and the rock formation there is the other jeep, causing a dust cloud

Back of a dune we had to climb, and the rock + sand landscape that could be seen from the top. Wind erosion marks have created soft ridges. The rocks are red-grey and the sand is rose-gold

Then we drove off to see some petroglyphs, and were offered dromedary rides. These petroglyphs, depicting early humans and their cattle – bovines and dromedaries – are the reason for the Heritage status.

A rock wall with some dromedaries in the foreground + a close up of the petroglyphs engraved in the rock, also showing dromedaries (by JBinnacle)

Finally we were shown a Bedouin tent at the feet of the Lawrence Canyon, a beautiful rock formation with faces of Jordan monarchs. Unfortunately, we did not get to see any onyx or fennec foxes, but I did see a small lizard. The Bedouins treated us to a cup of tea, but then we had to tip the driver about 10€…

Lawrence Canyon, a deep cut in the rock filled with sand at the bottom + details of engraved faces and Arab script, a lizard and a bit of tea, along with a traditional Bedouin coffee maker

Afterwards, we started off our trip back northwards back to Amman | ʻAmmān [عَمَّان]. Though the trip is supposed to take about 4 hours, it was way more than that, and we did not arrive at the hotel until way past 18:00. We went through the security checks and ended up learning that we could not travel between floors, so we could not go to the others’ rooms using the lifts, and the stairs were blocked… Well, at least we had… views?

A view of Amman skyline in the dark

After we managed to regroup, we had dinner and decided to try to check in online for the flight next day’s flight – and I was successful. Apparently, the airline only cared about us filling in our Covid certificate to enter Jordan, we were on our own for the way back.