Wadi Rum is one of Jordan’s most iconic natural attractions and most popular tourist destinations. This is an area of rugged beauty, where sand rocks have been shaped into impressive features by the desert sands over millennia.
Wadi Rum is home to the Bedouin, who have lived through this wide valley for generations.
One of the best ways to experience this spectacular valley is to spend the night at a Wadi Rum Camp, where you can sleep under the stars, with the shifting desert sands all around you.
To inspire your next Jordanian adventure, here’s our guide to exploring this beautiful part of the country and choosing the perfect Wadi Rum Camp for your trip.
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Wadi Rum: Best Camps & Planning Guide
Where is Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum is one of Jordan’s most famous natural sights. It’s also Jordan’s largest Wadi, the Arabic name for a large valley or dried up river bed.
Wadi Rum is located in the south of Jordan, hidden amongst the red sands and rocky landscapes of the desert.
The Wadi is 60 kilometers from the Red Sea port of Aqaba, and around 300 kilometers to the south of the capital Amman. It’s also not far from the Saudi Arabian border.
The total area of the Wadi is 700 square kilometers, making this a huge, remote and for the uninitiated, an inhospitable place to visit.
The History of Wadi Rum
The sandstone rocks, canyons and cliffs of Wadi Rum have formed over millions of years in the deserts of Jordan, while humans are known to have lived in the area since the Prehistoric era.
The earliest evidence of human settlement comes in the form of archaeological finds and Petroglyphs which have been discovered in the valley.
The Nabataeans are the first known group to have made Wadi Rum their home, having left behind Petroglyphs carved into the cliffs.
These nomadic people would go on to carve out the great temples of Petra too, around the turn of the 1st Century BC.
For the Bedouin tribes that would come to dominate the desert in later centuries, this was an important place, and they would make their own temporary Wadi Rum Camp set-ups here for generations as they made use of the freshwater.
They named the area Wadi Rum, which translates into English as ‘Valley of the Moon’.
In the 20th century, the wadi was made famous by Lawrence of Arabia, who wrote about its beauty in his famed book, Pillars of Wisdom.
He helped to stir up the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during World War I, and Wadi Rum, with its remote water sources, would prove to be an invaluable asset to their cause.
Through Lawrence of Arabia’s writings, Wadi Rum became a popular tourist attraction and is now one of the most well-known destinations in Jordan.
How to Travel to Wadi Rum
You can visit Wadi Rum independently or as part of a tour. If you’re on a multi-day tour of Jordan, then there’s little chance that Wadi Rum won’t be included on the itinerary.
You can also visit on overnight tours from Amman, staying in a desert camp before returning to the capital, or on a day, or overnight trip from Aqaba and the Red Sea, which is less than one hour away.
The Wadi Rum Visitors Centre is the main gateway into the valley, however, there is no direct public transport here.
If you’re traveling independently then you can catch a bus heading along the Desert Highway towards Aqaba from Amman and jump off on the highway junction.
From here you need to hitchhike to the visitors center or try and arrange a guide to meet you in advance.
At the Visitors Centre, you can find guides and organize tours and trips into the valley, although you might want to have these arranged in advance if you are traveling independently.
From the Visitors Centre, the next stop is Wadi Rum Village. From here, you can head further afield to the Wadi Rum camps. You will need a four by four and guide or you can join a camel tour.
If you’ve booked into a Wadi Rum Camp, then they should arrange pickup for you from the Visitors Center or from Wadi Rum Village.
Wadi Rum Tours that leave from the Wadi Rum Visitor Center:
Visiting Wadi Rum from Amman? Check out these tours:
- Private Full-Day Trip to Wadi Rum from Amman
- 2-Day Tour: Petra, Wadi Rum, and Dead Sea from Amman
- 3-Day Private Tour from Amman: Petra, Wadi Rum, Dana, Aqaba, and Dead Sea from Amman
Visting Wadi Rum from Aqaba? Check out these tours:
Visiting Wadi Rum from Israel? Check out these tours:
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Best Time to Stay in a Wadi Rum Camp
Wadi Rum has a desert climate and that means it’s subject to extreme conditions. In winter, the nights are bitterly cold while in the summer the heat can be unbearable.
The most pleasant time to explore the area and to stay in a Wadi Rum Camp is in spring or autumn. High season is March, April and May before it gets too hot and when it’s not too cold at night.
Skip summer and the brutal sun, but you can travel to Wadi Rum again from September through to November when things cool down but the nights aren’t as cold as the winter.
The Top 5 Wadi Rum Camps
There’s a wonderful range of Wadi Rum Camps to choose from, and you can spend your night in a luxury glamping site or you can bed down in more rustic, authentic digs in the desert.
Here are our top five Wadi Rum Camps.
Beyond Wadi Rum Camp
One of the best choices for travelers looking to experience the best of the desert without breaking the bank is the Beyond Wadi Rum Camp.
The campsite offers excellent value in wonderfully authentic Bedouin-style tents that sit out under the red rocks of the valley.
Conditions aren’t basic but aren’t luxurious. The amenities are fantastic though, and the campsite can arrange everything from a buffet breakfast to airport transfers.
Check the availability and the price to stay at the Beyond Wadi Rum Camp.
Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
Another great choice for travelers is the Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp. Here you’ll find a great range of tents, all in the traditional Bedouin style.
The camp arranges a huge variety of tours and activities and you can learn more about the Bedouin lifestyle as you explore the desert sands by camel or in a four by four.
Check the availability and the price to stay at the Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp.
Wadi Rum Bubble Luxhotel
If you’re looking for a unique experience in the desert, then book into the Wadi Rum Bubble Luxhotel. You’ll spend the night in comfort, inside a unique bubble tent, which looks like something that could be straight out of a sci-fi film.
This is a glamping site, so you’ll be living in luxury, while the panoramic bubble lets you really enjoy the night sky and the sunrise from the comfort of your bed.
Check the availability and the price to stay at the Wadi Rum Bubble Luxhotel & Campsite.
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp
For a more authentic, yet utterly luxurious camping experience, then book into the Memories Aicha Luxury Camp.
This spectacular camping site is where tradition meets with luxury, and it’s the ultimate Glamping experience.
The large canvas tents offer a fantastic level of comfort and amenities, while the location ensures that you’re surrounded by dark night skies for stargazing.
Check the availability and the price to stay at the Memories Aicha Luxury Camp.
Sun City Camp
The excellent Sun City Camp offers visitors the choice between panoramic bubble tents or more traditional canvas tents.
Both choices are luxurious because this is one of the original luxury Wadi Rum Camp options in the desert.
Sun City Camp has a great range of activities to help you explore Wadi Rum, from learning about Bedouin culture to off-roading in the sand dunes.
Check the availability and the price to stay at the Sun City Camp.
The Best Things to do in Wadi Rum
The most traditional way to travel around Wadi Rum is to join a camel tour through the desert.
This is how the Bedouin have traversed these inhospitable landscapes for centuries and it’s a real adventure as you ride through the valley.
Camel tours will be led by local Bedouin guides who know the animals and the desert, so you’ll have little to worry about as you slowly trek through the sands and beneath the red rocks of the canyon walls.
Below are the best Camel tours in Wadi Rum:
- Camel Ride to Lawrence Spring, Wadi Rum
- Sunset Camel Ride in Wadi Rum Desert | 2 hours
- 2 Day Jeep Tour with Camel Ride at Wadi Rum (All Meals incl.)
Of course, the modern way to get around the valley from your Wadi Rum Camp is to join a Four by Four Tour. You can bring your own if you’re road-tripping Jordan or you can hire a guide and a driver in Wadi Rum.
You’ll be able to cover much more distance in a Four by Four, so it’s perfect for those travelers with limited time who still want an adventure as you bash your way through the dunes and along the rocky wadi.
Below are the best 4×4 tours in Wadi Rum:
- Half-day Wadi Rum Jeep Tour
- Full Day Jeep Tour with Overnight in Beduin Camp Stay! (All Meals Included)
There are several hiking trails through Wadi Rum too, and in fact, several of the overnight camps are within walking distance of Wadi Rum Village.
Make sure you stick to the hiking trails though, because this is an inhospitable place to get lost in. Take plenty of water and sunscreen.
If you’re not confident hiking on your own, then you can always hire a guide too.
Below are the best Hiking tours in Wadi Rum:
- Hiking Adventure in Wadi Rum
- Hiking Adventure through the Canyons of Wadi Rum
- 3 Day Hiking Tour with Bedouin Guide at Wadi Rum
The red, sandstone rocks of Wadi Rum have been a popular rock climbing destination for decades.
There are a huge number of routes that have been set into the cliffs, and you can spend the day climbing these beautiful rocks for outstanding views over the valley.
You can rock climb with local guides to show you the ropes or bring your own kit if you’re experienced enough.
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