My 6:20am departure from Petra went smoothly in an otherwise crowded minibus. It was worth the tight squeeze for the $10 trip to Wadi Rum where we would be met by our respective hosts. Khaled, a fellow who could have passed for a Jordanian prince, took me to his house to discuss the details of my visit and plan my tour. In the middle of the proceedings his adorable little, toddler daughter peeked around the door, giving me a glimpse inside day to day life in a Bedouin village.
Next my luggage was loaded by Adel onto an old Toyota truck in which I would be delivered to the Wadi Rum Bedouin Way Camp. It has the singular honor of being the farthest outpost in Wadi Rum. No other camps can be seen from their location.
WADI RUM VISITOR CENTER – STOPPING TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE
It’s a hazy day as we begin our 10 kilometer drive to the camp.
Wadi Rum, also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon,’ is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite here in southern Jordan. It is also the largest Wadi in the country.
Hazy or not, Wadi Rum is something to behold.
My air conditioned tent. For A/C just open the window and door at the same time.
My bed for two nights. Given the hazy weather, I’ll take the opportunity to catch up on some sleep after lunch.
Monochromatic Hazy Sunset
Dinner is buried out back so the lads are busy here unearthing it.
The upper tier is for the meat which is closer to the heat. Lower tier is for the vegetables.
Adel gets a bite to eat after the guests have had their way with the buffet.
MY FRENCH NEIGHBORS
“SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM” rock formation
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wadi Rum has been used as a background setting in a number of noteworthy films. Filmmakers are particularly drawn to it for science fiction films set on Mars, but Wadi Rum will always be remembered as the backdrop of one of the grandest epics of the twentieth century.
Lawrence of Arabia was shot here in 1961, and was not only beautifully crafted, acted, and directed, but even the Bedouin of today have an appreciation of their portrayal in the film. They are gratified by the fact that Lawrence had to learn how to ride a camel, and didn’t just come readymade for the task.
Here are a few other films that featured Wadi Rum over the years.
Lawrence of Arabia – David Lean filmed much of this 1962 film on location in Wadi Rum.
Red Planet – Wadi Rum was used as the surface of Mars in this 2000 film.
Prometheus – scenes for the Alien Planet
The Last Days on Mars – filming for exterior shots representing the surface of the red planet for this film.
The Martian – filming for the Ridley Scott film began in March 2015, for shots that stood in for the surface of Mars
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the area was used for scenes set on Jedha.
I’m pretty sure that formation is in Lawrence.
Looking down from a dune that I climbed. The tented area below had some geologic products for sale. I picked up a couple that were called desert flowers, and also put some of the classic red sand in a container back at campsite.
These panoramic shots always remind me of Lawrence since it was shot in Panovision.
Standing on a small, natural bridge.
Desert bandit awaits a tourist group to raid.
Entry to Khaz’ali Canyon that features ancient graffiti and drawings.
I passed on climbing the rope, and further injuring my shoulder which would have ruined any attempts at scuba diving in Aqaba.
JABAL UMM FRUTH BRIDGE
ONE LAST CHALLENGE
STANDING ON TOP OF THE BRIDGE
ELI – MY ROOMATE FROM JERUSALEM – HE LIVES IN JORDAN AND IS A FRENCH GUIDE FOR A LOCAL TOUR COMPANY
ONE LAST DUNE
ADEL – My driver for the day.
CHICKEN ROCK & MY RIDE
MY FRONT YARD
WADI RUM BEDOUIN WAY CAMP – Our campsite is so much more attractive under blue skies.
Each tent has beds, a light, and an electrical outlet. There is no Wifi or phone service in this remotest of locations.
A/C IS ON
VIEW FROM THE DINING AREA
Views in Every Direction
WADI RUM SUNSET
UNEARTHING ANOTHER BATCH OF ZARB
LEAVING WADI RUM