Wadi Rum, Jordan Through the Eyes of an Anti-Desert Person

I am not a lover of the desert. However, I have actually managed to fall in like at first sight with Wadi Rum in southern Jordan. Translated into English, Wadi means valley and Rum means high place. This aptly named Valley of High Places has the most interesting formations sticking out of the sand which I have ever seen in my life.

Wadi Rum is unlike other deserts I’ve seen in that it doesn’t consist of miles and miles of connected mountains or endless nothingness. This desert is literally decorated with hundreds of huge disconnected rock formations, no two alike. Rather than peeking into the sky as do mountains, the rocks of this desert are mostly flat on top. Why? Millions of years ago the entire area was under the ocean. As we drove through the deep sand in our four-wheel drive, I could easily picture these little mountains sitting on the bottom of the sea.

The rocks of Wadi Rum in the distance

The first sight I saw upon entering Wadi Rum was the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a striking mountain with several distinct natural pillar-shaped rock compositions. This formation got its name from the T.E. Lawrence book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom in Wadi Rum

My favorite sight in Wadi Rum was a giant hill full of what appeared, if you have an active imagination, to be small open doors and windows carved into rock. I could almost see miniature people running around inside, entering and exiting the rock by walking in the doors and peering out the windows at the world going by. Can you see what I mean?

Interesting rock formation at Wadi Rum, Jordan

Underneath the rocks of Wadi Rum lay enough water to keep Jordan going for 100 to 150 years. A project called Disi is currently underway, in which 330 kilometers, or 200 miles, of pipe is being built to pump water all the way from this desert to Amman.

Two mountains of Wadi Rum in Jordan

My guide pointed out rock carvings left by the tribe of Thamud, which lived in Wadi rum from the 5th Century B.C. to the 6th Century A.D. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life aside from a museum exhibit.

Rock inscriptions attritubed to the Thamud Tribe

Although I loved driving around this gorgeous area, one of the best parts was stopping at a large tent for Bedouin tea. I’ve had this type of tea often while living in and taking holidays in Egypt, but I still never get tired of the taste or of the experience.

Three kettles of Bedouin tea in Wadi Rum

Fortunately, after the tea came more of the unique mounds of rock that are Wadi Rum.

The rocks of Wadi Rum

Whether I sail by ferry from Egypt to Jordan as I did on this trip or end up researching cheap flights to get me back into the country, I know when I return I’ll be heading back to Wadi Rum.

Me in front of the 7 Pillars of Wisdom

My trip to Jordan was sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board, but all opinions are honestly my own.

23 Comments Post a Comment
  1. I’m glad Wadi Rum might have sold you on deserts! If not, at least you got some excellent pictures!

  2. Alouise says:

    Love the photos. Wadi rum looks beautiful.

  3. RyukyuMIke says:

    An Anti-Dessert Person caught my attention, right away. Some cool photos from such a hot place !

  4. Mohannad Baker says:

    lovely pictures :)
    you are welcome here again in my country, we were honored to host you :)


  5. Sabina says:

    Thanks, Mike! I was happy with how well the photos turned out.

  6. Beautiful pictures! It’s like I am looking at the real thing.

  7. Sabina says:

    Thank you very much, Mohannad!

  8. Sabina says:

    Thank you, Maria. I’m so happy the photos turned out so well :)

  9. Sabina says:

    Hi, Brock. Honestly, Wadi Rum was the most beautiful desert I’ve ever seen. If only others were so beautiful.. ;)

  10. Erik says:

    I did the obligatory day trip to Petra when I was in Eilat in 2010, but I wish I had splurged and done the two day trip that included Wadi Rum, too. I’ll admit I was running low on patience, energy, & cash, and I vowed I would make it back when I visit the rest of Jordan someday.

  11. mohammed says:

    I think your guide was lucky to have you a board because you admire things to their last detail and gives a great soddisfaction. Nice images comboined to a nice brain. Jordanian tour guide

  12. Sabina says:

    Hi, Erik – I understand the patience, energy and cash issues very well. It’s understandable that you couldn’t go to Wadi Rum last time. While Petra is completely worth the trip, Wadi Rum honestly should not be missed. Next time :)

  13. Steve says:

    Wadi Rum is a place I’ve wanted to see for a long time. I just think it would be such an amazing sight to see. And from the photos you put on here and what you said about it, it really does seem like it would be beautiful and impressive. I wouldn’t be surprised if you starting liking the desert a little more now.

  14. Sabina says:

    Oh, Mohammed, thanks a lot :)

  15. Sabina says:

    Steve, I have to say the desert might be growing on me, just a little bit.

  16. Muhammad says:

    Well done dear Sabina, it is good job :) just love it

  17. Sabina says:

    Thank you, Muhammad!

  18. I’m just catching up on all my unread mail and saw this post, which brought back a lot of memories. Like you, I am definitely not a “desert person” but I fell in love with Wadi Rum many years ago. I can’t help but wonder if that little Beau Geste-style fort is still there. It was manned a few Bedouin policemen who patrolled the region on camels for weeks at a time.

  19. Sabina says:

    Hi, Jim – thanks for commenting! It’s good to meet another non-desert person who likes Wadi Rum. I have a friend who’s a tour guide in Jordan and I’ll ask him to answer your question here :)

  20. Hello Jim, I think you meant by the Beau Gests-Style fort what is populare here with the French Castel which was built in Wadi Rum!! Is that correct?>!! Well, Yes it is still there and one of the best attraction over there in Wadi Rum.

    Would love to reply you for any further details.. Thanks :)

  21. Trvl8dintern says:

    I am not big in deserts either but these pictures are stunning!

  22. Sabina says:

    Thank you! I’m really happy with how they turned out.

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