After I had seen my fill of the Lost City of Petra, I had a few days to play with before I had to be back in Amman for an onwards flight. Luckily, there were a few more spots in Jordan that I was desperate to see before I left!
Not too far from Petra lies Wadi Rum – which is the largest wadi in all of Jordan – and perhaps the most spectacular.
Also known as the ‘Valley of the Moon’, Wadi Rum truly does look like something from another planet!
Sandstone and granite boulders and rocks are met with seemingly endless dunes of the most red sand you can imagine, and the result is something so aesthetically pleasing, it is almost guaranteed to take your breath away; and if the views don’t do it, climbing up the steep dunes certainly will!
To be perfectly honest, I arrived at Wadi Rum with absolutely no expectations. I didn’t know anything about the history of the area, the geography or what kind of sights I could expect to see, and perhaps having no real expectations is the best way to approach exploring a new place – because I loved my time exploring Wadi Rum!
Wadi Rum covers a huge 720 square kilometres, so it is definitely not the kind of place you can just go for a little stroll through! Also, the sand dunes make for some seriously tricky traversing, so it isn’t a place to go with your rental car!
The easiest and best way to explore this Wadi is to hop in the jeep of one of the local bedouin men who work for a camp or tour company. Personally, I stayed overnight at the Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp – and spent time exploring the wadi with a driver associated with this camp.
This area has been inhabited by many different groups of people over the years, most notably, the Nabateans. As such, Wadi Rum isn’t just an isolated desert landscape with no signs of life! If you stray from the sand dunes towards the rocks and caves you will likely find wall carvings and graffiti – and in some places you may even find neatly carved stairs… amazing!
In modern times, only very few people actually live and reside permanently within the wadi, but people certainly still do!
We had been out exploring for most of the day and I was absolutely bursting at the seams – I needed to pee and there was no toilet anywhere nearby! So, in an act of desperation, I went into a small gorge to privately relieve myself, and just as I went to unzip my jeans, I looked around once more to check that I was alone and it turned out that I definitely was NOT.
This is what was headed straight for me!
The goats were adorable, so much so that I was distracted from my rather urgent situation for a few minutes.
How could I not be? Look at this cute little kid!
After I had spent enough time getting excited over baby goats (and after I had finally solved my, ahem, problem) it was time to keep exploring!
This next shot is easily one of my favourites from my Wadi Rum adventure!
In a way, Wadi Rum reminded me of my home country – Australia. When I think of Central Australia, the first thing my brain pictures is rich red earth, which is a very similar colour to the earth that you’d find in Wadi Rum.
After a long but wonderful day of exploring (and only getting the jeep stuck in sand dunes once) it was time to relax and soak up the sunset.
I spent that night having an amazing dinner at one of the desert camps, and after a seriously comfortable nights sleep, I woke up to find these fellas parked right outside my lodgings.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to the glorious landscapes of Wadi Rum and continue on towards Amman.
The last thing I desperately wanted to experience whilst in Jordan was a frolick in the Dead Sea.
I remember seeing a documentary about Israel when I was a little kid, and the images of men reading newspapers whilst floating almost on top of the water really stuck with me. Ever since then, a float in the Dead Sea had stayed firmly on my bucket list.
However, sometimes travel experiences just don’t quite live up to your expectations, and this was definitely the case for my dead sea experience!
Firstly, the weather was rather crummy.
Visiting Jordan in the cooler months certainly has its advantages (I can’t imagine doing all my Petra hiking in intense summer heat) but it has disadvantages too…
…it isn’t exactly warm in the water!
Secondly, I had no idea that getting into the water wouldn’t be a simple task!
First, you must climb up and down over hard deposits of salt – something that is really quite tricky for the uncoordinated!
Once I finally made it into the water, I enjoyed my floating for sure, but it just didn’t live up to the hype I had created in my head.
The experience wasn’t bad, but it was certainly underwhelming. I wonder if this is one experience that would be more enjoyable from the Israeli side of the Dead Sea?
After attempting to get clean after my swim (borderline impossible – the salt clings) it was time to head back towards Amman in order for me to catch an onwards flight.
Overall, my time in Jordan was absolutely amazing. Wadi Rum was otherworldly, the Kings Highway was spectacular and Petra was everything I had hoped for, and much more.
If you are thinking about whether or not to book a trip to Jordan – do it! You absolutely won’t regret it.
As always, happy solo travelling! xx
Getting to Wadi Rum: From Amman, Wadi Rum is about a 4hr drive
Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp: A comfortable and beautiful desert camp! Prices start at 35 JD per night
The Dead Sea: The saltiest sea on Earth would be best experienced whilst staying at a nearby hotel – you will want a hot shower afterwards!
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: If you take your camera into the dead sea – be very careful not to get water on it – the salt really sticks to everything!
59 thoughts on “Overnight in Wadi Rum + Floating In The Dead Sea”
Fabulous deep red- even deeper than our ferrous oxide rich red deserts, in Sedona and Monument Valley, Arizona. Wadi Rum looks very much like the latter, though, in terms of scenery and rock art.
Really? In that case, I have a few more places to add to my US bucket list!
You’re so easily distracted by animals. If I was that desperate, nothing would register until I’d sorted the “problem” !
I am going to take that as a compliment hahaha
It reminded me of a similar situation in which I found myself by a river in New Hampshire. Only after I sorted the problem did I notice a man composing a photograph of the waterfall next to me!!
I went to the Dead Sea on the Israel side (which I think is more developed for tourism) but it was during the summer, which presents its own challenges because the sand is SO HOT! I don’t remember the temperature of the water but it was probably cool which made it really nice cause it was so hot there. But I mostly just remember the salt stinging EVERYTHING (any cuts, scrapes, dry skin) which was not pleasant.
Yeouch! I was lucky I didn’t have any broken skin – luckily I had read some advice about avoiding shaving for a few days beforehand… made the hairy legs worth it to not be sore!
So we don’t get a photo of you floating in the Dead Sea Ellen? Disappointed. There again how you’d do that easily with electronics I do not know. You need a little inflatable for your camera.
I do remember another not nice comment about the Dead Sea, I can’t remember where from, but I think it had something to do with the cleanliness. Perhaps other things floating about which you’d rather they weren’t. Oh well. You have fun everywhere.
I was too worried that that would result in a drowned Olympus baby – and I just couldn’t risk it!
Wow the colors are amazing 😍 great post. Thanks for sharing
Thanks for reading 🙂 Wadi Rum is especially amazing!
I’ve just come home from a trip to Australia’s Northern Territory and the pictures of Wadi Rum totally remind me of the Red Centre, even the camels. Jordan looks amazing.
Awesome! How did you like it? And did you visit Darwin? That is my home base!
Loved it. Yes, I spent a few days in Darwin and visited Litchfield National Park. Apart from the heat/humidity, I liked it and really want to go back another time and get a car to do the place justice. Also stayed in Yulara in the southern part of the territory which was a very special place for me.
Omg, so much beauty in one place! I definitely need to go back to Jordan. I have heard about Wadi Rum, but now I see that this is world’s wonder. Great captures and great work sharing!
It truly is amazing! Where did you go when you visited Jordan?
We were staying in Tala bay close to Aqaba and went for a day trip to Petra. Only 6 days there, with Christmas inbetween, so we had a short to-to list 🙂
Look so surreal. What an adventure!
I know right?! I felt like I was on Mars!
Ja, now that you say it, you’re right, the colour and landscape looks like Mars.
Did you have an overnight in the Bedouin camp?
wow! I am jealous..
I would love to go to Jordan and Wadi Rum’s colour just makes me dream more and more about it 🙂
Do it do it do it do it! Ha!
What a gorgeous landscape, looks like you are somewhere in Mars
No kidding! I certainly felt like I had stumbled onto a foreign planet!
My wife & I visited Wadi Rum earlier this year – thanks for the memories :-o)
Like you I posted pics on my blog to try and capture the beauty and wonder of the visit.
Thanks for reading and commenting, I will have to check out your pics 🙂
Wow! Your photos of Wadi Rum are spectacular! It looks like the photos of Mars, but with a few, very few, plants.
You have a wonderful talent for personalizing and humanizing your travel documentation. I loved the little side story about what happened when you tried to find a place to pee. I have said this before. You weave your stories so that it is just like we are hiking along together discussing our experiences. Thanks!
As always, thank you Tim! It’s funny, I was just talking to a friend of mine last week about how I could write a hugely long blog post filled with awkward ‘pee’ stories hahaha
😂😂 Out of your usual genre, but I would definitely read it. It would be funny as hell.
Loved your pics, Wadi Rum is a very unique place like none other not only for it’s beauty but it’s history, amazing to be in the same place as ” Lawrence of Arabia “. We stayed at the Sun City camp and loved every min. At the Dead Sea, we stayed at the Marriotte Hotel, which was so amazing, being a none swimmer, I was a little nervous floating but of course you can’t sink, which made me chuckle at the pic you took of the guy floating with with his floaties on his arms 😂 With the exception of the odd water bottle floating by, found the sea to be quite clean. Look to your next adventure.
The floaties made me laugh too haha!
Looks like an amazing experience.
It absolutely was 🙂
Your photos never disappoint, girl. Such a stunning landscape!!
Thank you Tiese 🙂 I love getting comments like this!
You’ve totally captured the beauty of Wadi Rum with your photography. Amazing.
Thank you 🙂 It is a really easy place to photograph though – just so photogenic!
What a beautiful area of the world! And your story with the goats made me giggle out loud. I’m sad to hear that floating in the Dead Sea is a bit underwhelming – that has always been one of my “bucket list” items! Thank you for the post and the beautiful pictures.
Glad to hear my misadventures are funny 🙂 as for the Dead Sea – everyone has different experiences, so hopefully when you visit yours is more exciting than mine!
Super interesting. Thanks for sharing the reality of the hyper saline water. I feel like most of us overhype it in our minds… Hope you find a travel buddy to share your adventures with someday. Be safe out there!
My pleasure, I pride myself on always being honest on this blog 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Beautiful post! We are going to Israel and Jordan in March of this year and we are also planning to stay in Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp ( we booked with a tourist company from Israel) We are very exiting and after reading your post, even more! Thanks
Awesome! You will have such an amazing trip, honestly, Wadi Rum is incredible!
Hi Ellen – thanks so much for your pictures and review 🙂 I’m heading to Jordan in a month’s time and was wondering if you felt safe staying at the bedouin camp by yourself? I’m travelling solo so I wanted to get a sense of what that might be like! I plan on staying at the same camp as you (another reviewer said her family loved it!) Appreciate any insights you could share 🙂 Thank you!
Hi Steph! Yep, I absolutely felt safe staying in the bedouin camps alone – I never once felt unsafe! Enjoy Jordan!
I visited the Dead Sea on the Israeli side and I was not prepared enough for how much it stings! It stings everywhere! I visited in August, so it was boiling and couldn’t stay in too long due to probably getting heatstroke but the water was nice and warm.
I was so lucky to meet people before I went who warned me against shaving my legs before getting in – best advice ever!
We’re drooling while we imagine ourselves in those gorgeous scenes. 💦
We have dreamed of doing this too. Your DIY trip seems like the way to go for sure.
Thanks for sharing all the details that can make it a reality. Very cool. 😇
Loved this post, The photos are just dreamy. I feel like your pictures transported me to a different world, almost! ??I just adore everything you post,Thank you for these stunning photographs and beautiful words
I wouldn’t have missed it for anything either. You have to float in the Dead See if you have the chance. I did it many years ago and still remember all the screams from women who had just shaved their legs. It’s so fun bobbing in the salt water though.
Wow! Looks like you had great time. I have also done overnight stay in bedouins camp and can totally agree with you that it was amazing and the desert looked like another planet! Sadly, but I didn’t visit dead sea from Jordan side and cannot compare my experience with Dead sea in Israel. Dead sea in Israel was great when I first visited there, I really enjoyed Ein Gedi camp, but last time I visited it was already destroyed 🙁
Hi Ellen, quick question – did you have one driver for the whole trip? Or how did you get between various locations? I read your post that you hired a driver from Amman to Petra, did you then arrange separate transfers from Petra to Wadi Rum and from there on to Dead Sea and back to Amman? Advice appreciated! Thanks