How many days in Wadi Rum and Jordan
How long do you need to visit Jordan and how many days should you stay in Wadi Rum? There are a few elements to consider when planning your trip. We have compiled information that will help you plan a rewarding holiday in Jordan and decide how much time to spend at each location. We have also given you a thorough understanding of what to enjoy and how many days to stay in Wadi Rum.
What to see in Jordan?
During your visit to Jordan there will be a number of competing interests:
No one can miss the Arabian cuisine
A safe access for westerners to get a close understanding of Muslim cultures on the Arabian peninsula
Religious sites of the 3 great monotheistic religions
Historic sites of the Nabataean, Romans, Crusaders, etc
Red Sea beaches and diving
The lowest point in the world at the dead sea where you can literally float on water
The most unique desert landscapes in the world in Wadi Rum
One of the 7 wonders of the world at Petra
What is the best Jordan itinerary?
For most visitors you will have a limited time to spend in the country and will want to see an number of destinations. The question is how long to spend in each place. We want to focus on explaining to you the benefits of time spent in Wadi Rum but that will be a trade off for visitors with limited days. We recommend that all visitors plan a minimum of 4 days as per our suggested Jordan itineraries.
These key attractions should form the basis of any visit to Jordan:
half a day for Jerash
a full day in Petra starting early in the morning
a full day and night in Wadi Rum
an hour stopover at the Dead Sea with an add on of Wadi Mujib during the summer
a day to settle into and explore Amman
How many days to allocate to Wadi Rum?
It would be beneficial to have additional time to visit other sites and to spend more time in some of these locations. We will make a case for why Wadi Rum warrants additional days. However we want to clarify that if you only have 4 days in Jordan, all of the above listed sights we consider must see and should not be substituted for additional days in Wadi Rum. If however you have a more flexible itinerary here is what you can expect from your additional time in Wadi Rum.
How to make the most of your time in Wadi Rum!
Bedouin Camp Experience
The most critical decision of all visits to Wadi Rum is the Bedouin Camp. Unlike a city hotel, Wadi Rum is in a sparse desert. Although there are some accommodation offerings on the edge of the small villages, the most appealing locations are isolated in the desert. There are numerous camps located inside the Wadi Rum Protected Area offering an authentic desert experience. To make an informed decision, check google maps locations and aerial shots to get an idea of the surroundings. Provided you do your research and find a camp that is not near to other infrastructure. you will have a picturesque setting as all of the Protected Area offers scenic beauty.
The next consideration is the choice between the luxury camps usually run by large businesses from outside Wadi Rum or the traditional camps usually run by local families. The luxury camps cater to the higher end of the market and are either located alongside the village to utilise the towns amenities or run large generators. If you require air conditioning or are interested in a bubble tent experience these will be the best offerings to research. Years ago only the luxury camps featured private bathrooms, panoramic views and hot showers. Nowadays the traditional camps provide these comforts too. The traditional camps have been rapidly improving their offerings. They now offer a comfortable balance of local cultural interaction and basic hotel standard accommodation – often referred to as glamping.
Select the right camp for you
The decision of which camp you stay at is important, not only for the location and type of camp but also for your hosts. Due to the isolation of the best camp locations, all meals and activities during your time in Wadi Rum will be coordinated through your hosts. You will socialise and spend your leisure time in the camp. If you stay at a traditional camp you will likely develop a close relationship with your hosts. It is logistically unrealistic to arrange activities separate to your accommodation as there is no road access to the camps. Therefore your camp should be confirmed before considering activities.
Desert 4×4 tours
Regardless of your interests, 4×4 tours will make up the basis of your activities to explore the Protected Area. The short sandy tracks, the desert heat and the vast expanses of Wadi Rum ensure there is no other practical way to visit locations in a finite time frame. The red desert tour, available as a half or full day itinerary visits the best attractions of Wadi Rum. These are concentrated within the red cliff area of the desert. This should be the starting point of any visitor who only has a single day to visit Wadi Rum. It allows you to see a large number of the best sights quickly.
For visitors who want to explore the less visited white desert and travel along the Saudi border where few vehicles venture, the landscapes in the southern Protected Area are equally unique and stunning. On the Saudi border is an opportunity to climb Jordan’s highest mountain with views over the Saudi desert. For visitors with a single day intent on avoiding the tourist crowds or for those with multiple days in Wadi Rum, this is the next consideration when looking for value for your time. If you are able to combine these two full day itineraries you will have a good summary understanding of Wadi Rum in only 2 days.
Iconic stories of camel caravans plying the routes along the frankincense trail. Tales of Lawrence of Arabia’s feats during the WWI Arab revolt. The region is synonymous with camels because they played a critical role in so much of the regions history. Wadi Rum offers the opportunity for visitors to experience this for themselves during their stay in Wadi Rum. Camel rides are available in half hour or one hour timings. These experiences begin and end at Lawrence Spring. As camels travel at a similar walking speed to humans you never move out of sight of your starting location.
The best option is the camel journey to/from the camp. This offers a more unique experience of travelling through the desert on your camel. You will either start at Lawrence Spring alongside Wadi Rum village on your arrival and travel 2 hours to the camp. Or camels will be awaiting you in the camp when you wake on the morning of your departure. You will then ride 2 hours to the village once you have finished breakfast.
Hot Air Ballooning in Wadi Rum is a memorable experience, and provides aerial views of the desert landscapes. From elevation you will get a perspective of the size and emptiness of Wadi Rum. Floating over the Wadi Rum landscape highlights the various colours of the desert and the size of the high sandstone cliffs.
The opportunity to balloon over Wadi Rum is possible each morning at sunrise. This offers the best lighting, the most stable winds and cool temperature to offset the heat generated by the gas jets. As such it is only possible to guests following a night in Wadi Rum. Importantly you must book at least a month in advance because of limited space to avoid disappointment.
Sandboarding is an opportunity to ride down the large sand dunes of Wadi Rum on a snow board. We have our own snow boards and offer this as either a stand alone activity or on any of our 4×4 red desert tour.
The nature of Wadi Rum is its main attraction. Visitors who enjoy trekking have a variety of options to explore the natural beauty on foot. Because the Protected Area is large and has few water sources, 4×4 tours are the best option to explore the long sandy valleys. However there are also a number of hiking trails that are not accessible with 4×4. Due to the harsh desert climate trekking activities are planned as half day activities that can be combined with half day 4×4 tours. The recommended options for guests are Umm Ad Dami which is a summit to Jordan’s highest point. Burdah Rock Bridge which climbs Jebel Burdah to reach the highest rock arch in Wadi Rum. Or Jebel Hash which is an easier route that has views over Wadi Sabet.
Relaxing in the desert
Our camp is in a quiet valley without any tourist traffic and little other human activity. There is no light pollution at night and steep red cliffs on one side and open sandy valley on the other. Many visitors have never experienced the quiet and stillness of the desert. Those that have the opportunity to take a break from the stress of the outside world are rewarded.
Every night we prepare dinner is in the Zarb and we all gather for a shared meal. In Bedouin culture it is considered important to eat meals together, particularly when you have guests. This creates the perfect environment for everyone to be on the same schedule and to interact. Afterwards we meet around a campfire, play cards and share stories. This is what we enjoy most as Bedouin.
To fulfil everything above you would need 3 days in Wadi Rum. There are additionally specialised tours for people with specific interests. These can be done in combination with some of the above activities or stand alone. The Petroglyph Tour focuses on the inscriptions throughout Wadi Rum, including Neolithic, Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic. We offer a tour that will explain the different techniques, timeframes and identifying factors of the various inscriptions throughout Wadi Rum. The Nomad Tour allows visitors to Wadi Rum to visit still nomadic families of the Wadi Rum valley. This tour will visit the basic nomadic encampments and provide insight into the lives of our extended families. These people continue to pursue a nomadic herding lifestyle.
The best way to get the most of a short visit to Wadi Rum is to book one of our all inclusive packages!
We have developed 1 or 2 day packages intended to compress the maximum experience of Wadi Rum into a short visit. These packages cater to different interests. However you are welcome to explore our website and customise your own itinerary and we will coordinate everything. We consider it an honour to provide for our guests.