Um Mugur is a mountain in Wadi Rum that sits on the edge of the red and white deserts. Mugur is an Arabic word that means basins and refers to the sinkholes that cover the rock formation. Some of the natural basins are big enough for a person to sit in. The location is not a known tourist attraction, however it offers great sunset views over Wadi Sabet.
As you travel south out of the touristic red desert of Wadi Rum the valley opens into the vast expanses of the white desert. In this starkly contrasting surrounding, Um Mugur provides a resting place. Although they seem insignificant in comparison to the overwhelming cliffs in the primary Wadi Rum valley, they are majestic in themselves. You can see the colour change as you approach the white desert. The further south you get, the softer and whiter the landscape becomes. This is because these stones are without iron oxides, which means they erode faster. Therefore the white desert has lower mountains and elevated sandy valleys. The more rounded features of the white sandstone mountains contrasts the steep jagged shapes of the red desert cliffs.
While Um Sabatah sits on the red desert side of the changing landscape and retains the red cliffs, Um Mugur is on the white desert side and has starkly different forms. Rather than being a single mountain, Um Mugur has eroded into a labyrinth of narrow gorges. These gorges are separating the remaining rock formations from each other. As you study Um Mugur closer you see holes of various sizes. It’s almost like a giant rodent has taken bites from the cliffs! The softer white sandstone has been eroded by the wind and rain. This has created the holes that have pooled water, and made the location famous among the nomadic Bedouin herders.
More than water basins
Another notable feature of Um Mugur that is not present in the surrounding area are the vertical fault lines in the rocks. These form channels that water runs off and can be captured. Imagine walking through the hot desert and stumbling across these natural water channels! Because of the sheltered areas and water sources this became a good location for late winter and spring grazing. There are a number of stores that are used by herders during their spring visits to this location.
Um Mugur is home to our favourite sunset viewpoint in Wadi Rum. It is at the edge of Wadi Rum’s white desert where the valley opens up and you can see vast landscapes to the west. It is an amazing view, as you see the sun shift the colours of the rocks change.
The GPS coordinates are: 29.445867, 35.437112.
- Um Mugur is well known by Bedouins nomads as its natural basins collect water when it rains. This is where the name comes from.
- Although Um Mugur is part of the natural landscape which itself is a feature, it is best recognised for the sunset views it offers.