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Hiking And Trekking In Wadi Rum 

The problem with hiking in Wadi Rum is that many people find that just walking in sandy valleys, however beautiful, becomes boring after a fairly short time. For us this is a challenge, and we have therefore put in place the following practice.

We concentrate on short hikes of 3 or 4 hours, often less, through the narrower valleys and canyons and we intersperse these hikes with jeep rides when the walking becomes monotonous.

This is very popular, since in this way tourists can get a maximum of sightseeing in a jeep as well as covering more ground and having a more attractive walk.

We offer here one and two day tours, but they can easily be extended, either by adding on all or part of another program, or by taking a few other routes not described here.

We can also provide a more varied week in Wadi Rum by combining the hiking trips with the simpler scrambling. Many groups coming from tourist agencies much appreciate our week long trekking tours in Wadi Rum.

Footwear: these trails are straightforward, and hiking boots are not necessary. You can wear trainers, boat shoes or trekking sandals as you like.

Other equipment: You are likely to be in the sun for much of the time and should have a head covering of some sort - this is the time to learn how to tie a Bedouin kefiya!

You will also need a rucksack or shoulder bag for water, and such oddments as your camera, sunscreen, a light sweater according to season and perhaps some biscuits for a snack. Chocolate melts quickly, but the guide will show his devotion to duty in helping you to eat it.

The T. E. Lawrence trek - optional return - 5 days
T. E. Lawrence took three days in a dash from Wadi Rum to Mudawarra on a racing camel to cut the Hejaz railway line. We shall go more slowly, covering much the same ground in five days. This is another route that is taken by few people.

On arrival at Mudawarra, we shall be met by a jeep with provisions and you can return to Rum by the road with it if you wish. Otherwise the return is made again with the camels, taking a different route and a further five days.

The longer trek allows you to become fully used to riding a camel - it's not really very difficult and much easier than a horse.

The "No Man's Land" Trek

Day 1: We start by jeep from Rum Village and head for Jebel Um Adaami, the highest mountain in Jordan which we shall climb on the south eastern side. The climb is straightforward, a simple uphill walk on the usual path. We come down the other side, which is less popular. You will see that the countryside is much starker than the soft red of the sand and the sandstone in Wadi Rum itself. It is not used by the Bedouin for pasturing their herds or for cultivation of any sort. We might meet a rare hunter, the area is outside the Protected Zone of the Nature Reserve, but even this is unlikely.

When we are down, we have lunch and continue by jeep and then another uphill walk until we reach a beautiful valley, less than 300m from the Saudi border, which is still far below us. We sleep in this valley.

Day 2 : Taking a packed lunch, we go up into the No Man's Land area. The climb involves some serious scrambling - no rope is really needed, but the guide will bring one anyway. This is a mountain walk with great views to the north and the south. We have lunch in a valley among the red sand dunes there. We continue along another crest with yet more views and are picked up by a jeep to take us back to Rum Village.

Around Jebel Rum
This is a programme of 2 days very easy scrambling that takes you around the slope and then through the Jebel Rum massif

Day 1 : We start off from Abu Aina, perhaps one kilometer from Rum Village, with an easy scramble up the scree. Abu Aina, often shown to tourists - but not by us! - as "Lawrence's Well", is the place where the water from the real spring high in a valley on Jebel Rum runs down to the desert. This is regularly used as a watering place for the camels who roam through the desert, and a concrete trough has been built for this. If you are very good walkers, or if you want to start off early, we could also begin our hike in Wadi Shelaala beside the "real" spring. This takes us on a narrow contour walk along the cliff side, past rock pools and palm trees (believe it or not!). From Abu Aina, the path turns to the interior of the massif, through a canyon leading to Wadi Rumman on the other side of the mountain. We shall be eating a picnic lunch in this canyon, before continuing along the west slope of Jebel Rum and finally down to the valley floor.

We shall sleep in Wadi Rumman in an open bivouac. Mattresses and blankets will be brought around by a jeep and we shall be eating a hot supper. Although it is very close to the main tourist track, hardly anybody visits this valley. The upper part of it has been closed off by the Nature Reserve for the breeding of the oryx.

Day 2 : Starting off from the overnight camp, we have another easy scramble up the scree to the mountain. We cross the beautiful valley of Wadi Anhesa and have lunch in the shade of Abu Doud. Again we pass through Jebel Rum by a different route and arrive in Wadi Leha on the eastern slope. From here a jeep will pick us up to return to the village.
This itinerary involves mainly easy walking with only the occasional need for hands to help you along. There should be no problem for people who are nervous with heights. We have tried to arrange this walk so that you will be in the shade for a good part of the time. You will be walking for 4 or 5 hours a day, with an extra 2 hours if you start off in Shelaala.

This trip gives us splendid views over the Ghor al Ajram, towards Jebel Khazali and the south and east. You will also see the "intimate" side of Jebel Rum; how the rock pools and the hidden valleys break up what seems like a solid massif from below.

5 days easy scrambling:

This is actually a set of 5 different programmes of easy scrambling routes that take us all around Wadi Rum. However, if you don't have the five days to spare, we are perfectly happy if you prefer to choose to do just one or more days. In that case, you can choose whichever day or days you like from the programme. This is the best selection of scrambling programmes we offer for people in reasonable physical condition who want to go off the beaten track and explore the far corners of Wadi Rum

Day 1: We head off straight away to the Rakebat Canyon through the massif of Jebel Um Ishrin. The beginning involves scrambling up a big slab, before descending steeply into a narrow ravine – this is “Goat Gulley”. When we start inside, you will realise just how much of a labyrinth exists inside the imposing mountain. Canyons start off in every direction, and you need either a sharp eye for terrain or a good guide with you. It should take about 2 hours to get to the end. After lunch in Wadi Um Ishrin, we have an easy hike to the Barragh Canyon.

Day 2: The Barragh canyon leads between magnificent cliffs, with high sand dunes heaped up against them. These cliffs are the site of many world class climbing routes, and perhaps a team will be climbing here. From the Canyon we make our way to Jebel Burdah and a climb to the famous Arch. This is easy scrambling, but as in the Rakebat Canyon, the guide will have a rope with him for safety, but the climb should provide no difficulty for active scramblers. To go up and down again usually takes about 4 or 5 hours. In the afternoon we hike towards the "Middle Arch" of Um Fruth. This is very simple climbing compared to the Burdah Arch.

Day 3: We drive south to the Khasch Ridge. This is a long ridge stretching from east to west across the desert. There is no particular difficulty about this walk, although perhaps you might need to use hands to go up and to come down again at the end. We shall take a picnic lunch with us and stop somewhere to eat. Be sure to cover up against the sun here, there is little shade around, but the views to the north over Wadi Rum and to the south towards Saudi Arabia are magnificent.

Day 4: the views are even better. We are heading to Jebel Um Adaami, the highest mountain in Jordan, right on the Saudi border. This is a difficult drive for the 4x4, but as passengers you should enjoy it, especially the wide and lonely Wadi Saabit close to the mountain. When we reach the foot of it we shall start up through a gully : this is the only difficulty in the ascent. The rest of the path is a stony one, leading to the cairn marking the summit. Here we are right on the border and can see far into the Saudi mountains. Make sure you have plenty of film with you!

Day 5: The last day comes too quickly. Today we are circling the base of Jebel Rum between the steep cliffs above and the heaps of fallen scree, first of sandstone and later of granite, below. Many wadis are crossed, each offering the possibility of a different ascension of Jebel Rum (more than 10kms long and between 3 and 4 kms wide). We shall try to finish at Lawrence’s Well in Wadi Shelaalia close to the village of Rum, where the transport onwards will be waiting. If this is too far, we shall be picked up by jeep for the last few miles.