Wadi Rum Reserve / Protected Area
Wadi Rum Protected Area is located in Jordan and one of the world’s most outstanding desert landscapes, covering 720 square kilometres of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Its huge and high mountains and broad sandy wadis are home to several Bedouin tribes and a surprising range of desert wildlife. This wildlife now includes a herd of Arabian Oryx, reintroduced by RSCN in 2002. The breathtaking scenery of Wadi Rum has made it one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kingdom of Jordan. But the growing pressure from visitors, and especially off-road vehicle tours, is damaging Wadi Rum’s scenic and ecological values. RSCN has been helping in preparing a management plan for Rum under a contract with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), which tries to reconcile all of these problems within a conservation framework. When the contract expires, ASEZA will assume management responsibility for the protected area, while maintaining a working relationship with RSCN to secure its involvement in the ongoing management of the site.
Wadi Rum Reserve (Protected area) Vs Non Reserve (Non Protected areas)
Wadi Rum Reserve Vs Non Reserve Areas
Wadi Rum is a huge area, and with a quick look at Google maps you could draw a box area of 50 Kilometre in width and high , so it is around 2500 Km² , there is however, a specific area that is considered a reserve or protected area, and this reserve / protected area is controlled by the RSCN ( Royal Society for Cultural Reserves), and this area starts from Wadi Rum visitors centre till you reach the Saudi borders (around 40 Km - 30 Km of road in the desert itself), the reserve itself is almost divided into two parts, one part that is being used by the locals, while the other part is closed and contains all the wildlife that they are trying to take care off ( like the mountain goats, foxes and other animals ), all of the camps at the reserve / protected area are following a specific rules regarding the design of the camps, and they are not provided with power source or water system (no grid lines, cell phone towers or even roads) , so they are usually less crowded, more calm and quiet comparing to the non - reserve / non protected areas at Wadi Rum. The camps on the non reserve parts are provided with all services starting from the electricity, water and roads , and you won’t feel any difference other than staying on a city or town , while on the reserve itself you would get the feeling as if you were taken into a trip out of this world, as if you were taken to another planet.
You actually access the protected area by coming straight ahead from the main desert highway junction toward Wadi Rum and you keep driving straight without turning left or right for about 25 Km/15 Miles till you reach Wadi Rum Visitors centre were you you get the entry tickets or showing your Jordan Pass - so this is the main entrance to Wadi Rum Protected area, and you continue straight ahead toward Wadi Rum Village which is another 5 Km / 3 Miles driving - turning you backward from the Visitors centre means that you are entering or leaving the protected area, so don’t be confused with this .
The second and third highest mountains in Jordan are surrounding Wadi Rum Village itself, so this is simply the heart of the protected area and the main entry point to it - all driving afterwards will be Off-road through the Bedouin routes, so if you arrived with your car it is better to park it at Wadi Rum Parking lot even if you have a 4 wheel drive as it is very easy to get stuck on the desert sand.
Direction to Wadi Rum Village - Rum Protected area.
Whether you have one afternoon or multiple days to spend, Wadi Rum is a convenient stop on your travels through Jordan. You'll probably fly into Amman, making it a great place to start—use these tips to make the most of your time.
If you have limited time and want to prioritise Wadi Rum, you can travel there directly via pre-arranged private transport, taxi or public bus from the nearby tourist hubs in Jordan. From Aqaba you can expect to pay anywhere from $28-36 USD for a private taxi, a one hour ride door-to-door. If you're interested in a same-day round trip arrangement, plan to spend around $60. If you prefer to travel by bus, you can depart from the main station in Aqaba. There is one bus per day that leaves for Wadi Rum between 1:00 and 3:00 PM.
Travellers coming from Wadi Musa, the village just outside of Petra, can catch a daily bus for $10 USD one way. Book your trip through a hotel concierge - the bus makes its rounds each morning at 6:00 AM, picking up travellers at all the local lodges before heading straight to Wadi Rum. A taxi transfer from Wadi Musa/Petra to Wadi Rum costs 60 US$ per car (fits up to 4 guests). The drive takes about 2 hours. If you come from one of the surrounding villages, the transfer costs 65 US$ per car.
You'll be dropped off in Rum Village or at Wadi Rum's visitor centre: the central hub for tourist activity, located about 25 kilometres after the clearly marked highway turns off to the protected area. In addition to the visitor information desk, you'll find a few souvenir shops. Most importantly, this is a main meeting spot for a la carte day tours and where you'll pay the $7 USD park entry fee for international guests (consider purchasing the Jordan Pass if you plan to visit multiple sights in Jordan, more info can be found on the official site). If you are spending the night at Wadi Rum and you have already booked your night stay with one of the camps inside the protected area; You need to continue your drive toward Rum Village and park your vehicle in the parking lot to meet your Bedouin driver there.
Best time of the Year to Visit Wadi Rum
It will be better for you to avoid visiting Rum on summer days because the temperature is so high in the desert. In summer daytime temperature in Wadi Rum is 30 degrees Celsius on average. With peak temperatures that can rise to well over 40 degrees Celsius. The average night temperature is around 10 degrees less than the daytime temperature. And winters are much colder. The average daytime temperature is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. During the coldest nights of the year, the temperature can drop below zero. Otherwise, the temperature is just above zero. So the best time to visit is from March to May and September to November. March, April, September, and October are the most popular and busy months.
Activities you can do in Rum
Jeep Tour: You can ride the Jeep and have a tour starting from two hrs to full day..
Camel Ride: From half an hour to full day.
ATV: The ATV is not available in all the camps.
Sleeping under the stars
What you can see during Jeep Tours
Lawrence’s Spring, Khazali Canyon, sand dunes, Anfishiyeh Inscriptions, Lawrence’s House, the Mushroom Stone, then stop to have a lunch in the middle of the Desert, after that continue the tour to see Burdah Rock Bridge, Umm Fruth Arch, a 40min walk through Abu Khashaba Canyon and an hour walk through the stunning Barra Canyon, one of our absolute favourite spots - you need a full day Jeep tour at Wadi Rum to cover all these mentioned places, you could however take the minimum recommended tour which is the 2 hours Jeep and you will see less places but still you are in the Protected area.
Lawrence Spring: Marked by a water tank near the entrance of Wadi Shallalah, this spring is named for T.E. Lawrence - "Lawrence of Arabia" - who famously made the area his military base and home. The official name of the small spring is Ain Abu Aineh, and the views are spectacular from the top (Covered with Wadi Rum 2 hours Jeep tour)
Khazali Canyon: A long, narrow canyon known for the impressive number of ancient petroglyphs and inscriptions on the rock walls. The first 100 yards are accessible to all visitors; beyond that point, you'll need rock climbing skills (and gear). (Covered with Wadi Rum 2 hours Jeep tour)
Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions: Located on the side of a mountain, this is an especially impressive collection of Thamudic and Nabataean petroglyphs, complete with ancient drawings of camel caravans.(Covered with Wadi Rum 2 hours Jeep tour)
Barrah Canyon: At five kilometres in length, this expansive canyon is a popular tour stop, perfect for a variety of activities: hiking, rock climbing, and camel tours to name a few. (Covered with Wadi Rum day Jeep tour)
Burdah Rock Bridge: The tallest natural rock bridge in Wadi Rum, worth the moderately challenging climb to the top for the fantastic views. (Covered with Wadi Rum 4 hours Jeep tour )
Um Fruth Rock Bridge: Another unique arch, and one of the most photographed landmarks in the area, this fifteen-metre high bridge is featured on many guided tours. (Covered with Wadi Rum 4 hours Jeep tour)
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A rock formation named after the famous book by T.E. Lawrence, accessible by hike or easily visible from the visitor centre (You can see it from the Visitors centre)
Um Sabatah: An ideal perch for sunset views, this hilltop affords gorgeous vistas of the desert. (Covered with Wadi Rum 4 hours Jeep tour)
Khashaba Canyon: A stunning canyon that takes 30-45 minutes to walk through, the driver will drop you off at the entrance and meet you at the exit point.
Jabal Um ad Dami : This is the highest mountain in Wadi Rum, very close to Saudi border side, it is 1854 metres above sea level and around 800 metres from your starting point level, it takes around 2 hours going up and down and it needs a local guide to be with you as routes are not really clear on some places. (Covered with Wadi Rum full day Jeep Tour if requested or can be taken with Wadi Rum 4 hour Jeep tour visiting only that mountain - hiking takes up and down takes around 2 hours)
Rum Magic Nights / Wadi Rum Protected area :
Rum Magic Nights is a modern Bedouin lifestyle camp that is owned by one of the Bedouin families that have been living in that area for hundreds of years. The camp started hosting travellers visiting Jordan in the 1980s, and was redesigned in 2022 to meet more travellers' demands and provide more luxurious options, the desert became very hot during summer time, and very cold in the winter , so it became necessary to provide tents with Air-conditioning and private bathrooms. This looks simple but in fact it is not, because imagine providing electricity which is essential for air conditioning to an area that is 10 Km away from main grid lines ! 10 kilometres of sand and off-road driving! Differently you would agree that this is a tough thing to do.
So there are very limited camps inside the protected area that provides Deluxe tents like Rum Magic Nights camp (With private bathroom and AC on tents), due to the fact that the protected area is isolated from the outside world, so there is no roads, electricity or grid lines, cell phone towers or even Internet; Rum Magic Nights are the only camp amongst these few that have Internet access all over the camp and electricity during your stay. You can easily tell if the camp is inside the protected area or not if it has a road leading to it and connected to the main grid lines.
Protected Area Map :