Wadi Rum, spreading 60 km east from Aqaba, 30 km south of the Wadi Rum village is the “Valley of the Moon”! This desert has been home to the Nabateans who left their marks on the rocks, and passage to the Romans, as well as byzantine ascetic communities. The rather aggressive landscape has constituted inspiration, not only to the British officer T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) during the times of the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans (1917-8), but also to more contemporary accounts of films shot in the area (“Lawrence of Arabia”/1962, “Passion in the Desert”/1998,”Red Planet”/2000, “Prometheus”/2012, “The Martian”/2015, “Star Wars-Rogue 1″/2016, are just but a few).
Wadi Rum is not a typical desert, at least not when compared to the Sahara or the Arab desert. The distinct red colour of the sand, in combination with the very peculiar geo-morphology of the massive rocky mountains surrounding the valley definitely gives the sense of lunar landscape, with scarce flora and fauna over the rocky areas. In any case, Wadi Rum is what one would expect from a desert in its extremity; threatening, but fascinating at the same time.
We spent a night in the desert, in one of those Bedouin Camps, in a distance of ten km south from the Wadi Rum village, on the 24th December 2016. Beware! Not recommended during winter time! The desert can get freezing cold, given the terrible lack of amenities, as well as comforts taken-for-granted by the western lifestyle: No heating, poor electricity, scarce supplies. Also be very careful before booking with those Bedouin camps, advertised on the internet. Bad arrangements with the locals can make your experience a hard time! Make sure that you have pre-arranged your return to Aqaba (the nearest link by bus to the desert-there’s only one bus that runs every morning during winter period). Wadi Rum is highly recommended for hikers and climbers, or just those who think of themselves as lovers of the desert!