I’m a total sucker for landscapes. Every time I travel, looking over beautiful vistas or into deep canyons always winds up being a highlight. I just think the Earth is incredibly beautiful and with so much diversity to explore, I love to check out natural landscapes while abroad. Jordan is no exception. Nestled in the center of the Middle East, Jordan is largely desert in the east part of the country. But it also contains the Jordan river and a lush (or at least lush for the region) valley in the west. It also has some pretty spectacular sandstone mountains that form a ridge dividing east from west.
Wadi Rum is a national park in the Southwest corner of the country where some of these mountains are located. It was one of the stops I was most looking forward to on this Intrepid Travel trip, because I had seen pictures and knew the scenery would be beautiful. It did not disappoint. Even right from the visitor center, you can get a spectacular view of the 7 pillars. This region was made famous by Lawrence of Arabia, and was one of the places he spent time during his life. We took a two trucks for the 10 of us, and drove around the park for the day today.
Formed by wind and tectonic movements on sandstone rock, the bright orange formations in Wadi Rum are unique and super striking. Picture it like in the American southwest or Bryce National Park. The rocky outcroppings are surrounded by sand dunes, open desert areas and Bedouin camps. They seem to go on forever. We drove around one, and then there was another. The rocks form caves, arches and pillars, and the elevation can get up to 6,000 ft. The Bedouin people have lived in this region as nomadic people for hundred, maybe even thousands of years. I find this particularly amazing, since there are very few oasis in the site and I have no idea how they ever found food.
We made periodic stops throughout the day at points of interest, including Lawrence of Arabia’s house, Khaz’ali Canyon, and Bedouin communities. We had lunch in the site and then spent the afternoon hiking sand dunes, climbing to the top of a 100 meter arch and drinking fresh Arabic tea. We ended the day at our campsite in a Bedouin settlement. The Bedouin people, and really the Jordanian in general, are extremely welcoming and we were created by the shaik, or leader, of the group. Our tents were top-class, with beds, electricity and a wooden bottom. This is glamping for sure! Once we were settled in and relaxed, we walked to an outcropping just outside the camp to catch the sunset. It was such a beautiful view and the colors splashing on the rocks made for a once-in-a-lifetime sight. The oranges and purples and pinks were so vibrant. We all sat with our legs tangling over the edge, enjoying the scenery and each other’s company.