We will spend the night in the desert! This thought has not given us peace of mind for several good months. Unmeasured sandy terrain stretching across the horizon was a sweet promise of a long-awaited adventure. Why send space probes to Mars, when the red planet is actually on Earth. And it’s terribly beautiful, that’s one thing I can promise you.
Wadi Rum (Arab. Romans Valley) is a desert valley in the south of Jordan, the biggest wadi (Arab. valley) in the country. The area covers 720 km2, is listed by UNESCO, and its area is strictly protected. What is interesting and praiseworthy, Wadi Rum can only be inhabited and worked by Bedouins, i.e. the people living in the desert from the grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather.
The amount of one-time admission to the desert paid at the entrance is only 5 YOD, regardless of the number of days we intend to spend in the area. As we had relatively little time, we knew exactly how to spend it. I booked an individual sightseeing program in advance in one of the offices located in the Rum Village village, from which all the trips start.
The program of each of them is almost identical to the price. In Wadi Rum, the number of points worthy of attention has been accurately estimated, so the crossing of trips from several different offices is rather unavoidable, but not necessarily uncomfortable. We came to an exceptionally good time when in Jordan tourists were a cure, so traveling through the desert was a great pleasure, regardless of whether we met anyone on the way or in a given place we were completely alone.
On the first day, in the morning straight from Rum Village with a squeak of tires, we set off to a camp located in the middle of the desert, surrounded by rock formations separating the camp from the rest of the world. After quickly unpacking the bundles, we, in turn, packed up in an old-school Toyota from the twentieth century and set off on the road.
A car like a dream, I wouldn’t change it for any other, despite the fact that every now and then the vehicle itself, even on a small hill, was making noise as if it was to give out its last breath. By the way, the chance for Wadi Rum to hit Toyota is much greater than winning a flight. I have the impression that the company has maintained its monopoly here for years, which does not change the fact that we found ourselves in a classic with a character.
The first stop was Lawrence Spring (Arab Ain Abu Aineh), a nearby spring located three kilometers from the village, named after the British archaeologist Thomas Edward Lawrence, called Lawrence of Arabia. The British intelligence agent participating in the anti-Turkish Arab uprising of 1916 went down in history thanks to his war memories of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, published in the form of a book.
In his memoirs, he describes the place which is now visited by modern adventurers. Wondering where the water comes from in the midst of chip-dried rocks? I was wondering, and the answer is as simple as usual – nature surprises. The surrounding rocks consist of limestone at the top and granite at the base. Limestone absorbs rainwater perfectly, which cannot be said about borders. The droplets of water come across an unbeatable ground and leak on the outside of the rock creating tiny streams, and when there is enough water, there is a spring, et voilà!
We climbed the rocks, pulled wild mint growing out of the vestibules, which I initially took for a herb (sorry, I spend too much time on the Vistula) and set off towards a more exciting point in the programme, rising to over 1 600 meters above sea level. Khazali Canyon.
Once a favorite place for Bedouins looking for shade, a moment of rest and relaxation, today an exceptionally photogenic rock formation. The route possible to walk is not long, but the pleasant coolness inside made us spend 40 minutes looking at the counting, bagatelle, only a few thousand years, petroglyphs (drawings carved in the rock, depicting figures, camels, inscriptions, and traces of human feet) left by Arabs and Nabateans.
When the sun reached its peak, we reached a large orange dune, evidently the biggest attraction in the area. Even before we found ourselves at our destination, I could clearly see myself on the sandboard that we were carrying in the car. The wind blows my hair and I’m going down. But when we saw how high the dune is, I was closer to vomiting than to excitement. Expectations vs. reality.