Best tips and advice to book a Wadi Rum tour

Finding the right Wadi Rum tour from the overwhelming choice? We give you the best tips and advice to book your tour in Wadi Rum in Jordan.

A Wadi Rum tour should be part of every Jordan itinerary. The Mars-like landscapes, red sand and surreal rock formations are well worth a visit. So including the Wadi Rum desert in your travel itinerary for Jordan is a no brainer if you ask us. But as you start searching for a good tour guide or camp to sleep at, you’ll notice that you have a lot of options to choose from. How on earth could we find the perfect tour to discover this dry valley, that is the size of New York city?

jeep driving in the distance through a huge desert

We found it very daunting at first, because after all, you want to have a good time for the money you’re paying. In this blog post we’ll cover all the details you need to know before booking your once in a lifetime Wadi Rum desert experience!

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matthias standing on boulder overlooking the wadi rum desert from a viewpoint

Where is Wadi Rum located in Jordan?

Wadi Rum is situated in the south of Jordan, 60 kilometers east of Aqaba. Most people fly into Jordan via the capital Amman in the north and make their way south via the King’s Highway. A typical and convenient itinerary for Jordan looks like this: Amman – Jerash – Dead Sea – Petra – Wadi Rum tour – Aqaba. We highly recommend renting a car in Jordan to make the most out of your time. We always rent with discovercars.com because they offer the best prices, you get free cancellation and full coverage insurance is included. It’s a worldwide and trustworthy company that offers great deals and excellent service. Check prices and availability below as car rentals get sold out very quickly in Jordan.

Matthias stepping in rental car next to a road in the mountains

Check current prices and availability below

icon read on Read more: Our travel guide on how to visit the Dead Sea

How to get to the Wadi Rum desert?

Wadi Rum is located a 2 hour drive away from Petra. The route is very easy to navigate and well signposted. Once you leave Petra (Wadi Musa) you follow the traffic signs to Aqaba. Continue your drive south by taking the King’s highway. This road is in good condition, is all paved and offers some stunning views along your road trip.

If you have a rental car, then it’s perfectly doable to leave your hotel at Petra (Wadi Musa) after breakfast to arrive at 10 AM in Wadi Rum village.

Note that before entering the Wadi Rum desert you have to register at the Wadi Rum visitor center. These are the exact coordinates. Entrance to the Wadi Rum protected area costs 5 JD. Children below 12 years old can enter for free. If you have a Jordan Pass, the entrance fee is included, but note that you still have to register and get your pass scanned at the reception.

Traffic road sign of a camel
Entrance to the Wadi Rum information center

Don’t worry about finding the right location. There is only one way that leads to the visitor center and there is a lot of friendly staff that will be happy to show you the way to the reception. At the visitor center, they ask you some details about the camp you will stay at, the Wadi Rum tour you booked, … If you don’t have a pre-arranged tour booked, the visitor center is a good place to make plans.

Directions from Petra to Wadi rum visitor center

Arriving at Wadi Rum village: the gateway to the Wadi Rum desert

A couple kilometers from the Wadi Rum visitor center, lies Wadi Rum village. This village is where most likely your Wadi Rum tour starts and where most local guides and tour companies live. Wadi Rum village is also the place where the daily bus to Petra leaves or where you can find a taxi. 

Communication with the Wadi Rum tour company often goes via Whatsapp. Upon arrival in Jordan, we bought a local SIM card. This only took us 5 minutes at the arrival hall in the airport. There are two main telecom operators in Jordan, Orange and Zain. In our experience, Orange has the best coverage in Jordan.

We always share the mobile data by using a portable WiFi hotspot travel router. This is a small and portable device that turns a local 4G signal into a wifi signal so that you can connect your Ipad, smartphone and laptops as if you have your own wifi network. So no need to buy two sim cards or switch between phones. Just put the sim card in the device and you can connect.

icon hello info Get your portable travel WiFi hotspot here

Mieke sitting in the back of a 4WD jeep
Mirror of 4WD car with rock formations in the background

What is the best time to visit Wadi Rum?

You can plan a Wadi Rum tour year-round. But seasons can have an impact on the temperature and the amount of people that are visiting the Wadi Rum desert. When it is the high season in Jordan (March to May and September to November), the tours and attractions in the Wadi Rum desert can get very busy so book your tour and accommodation on time. The weather at these times is ideal, but be aware that there will be more jeeps and people at the different stops. 

In July and August (summer months) the days are longer and crowds thin out. But during these months temperatures rise in the desert. Tours will adapt their day program with more rest during the hottest hours of the day and more exploring takes place in the morning and late afternoon.

From December to February there are few tourists, as the nights are chillier and the weather less predictive (we saw some photos of the desert covered in snow, although this happens very rarely, like once in 5 years). We went at the beginning of February and although the nights were chilly, we never had cold as we received plenty of blankets to keep us warm during the night. During the day we had clear skies, more than 15+ degrees Celsius and lots of sunshine to get our dose of vitamin D.

Matthias climbing sand dune with warm jacket

What type of Wadi Rum tour should you book?

Regarding types of Wadi Rum tours, you have different options to choose from. Ranging from doing a short 4 hour jeep tour to sleeping 2 nights underneath the stars in the desert. Choosing the best Wadi Rum tour for your travel needs can feel very daunting at first. That’s why we give you all the pros and cons of each type of tour so you can make the right decision:

Matthias in sand dune overlooking the rock formations in the Wadi Rum desert

4 hour jeep Wadi Rum tour 

PROS

  • Great for a short stop-over
  • You see most of the highlights
  • Gives you a good idea of the Wadi Rum landscapes
  • Time efficient, ideal if you just want a quick visit

CONS

  • Too short to truly experience the landscape and desert
  • No night in the desert
  • No local meals included
  • Rather expensive compared to what you get in more extended tours

If your tour operator allows it, we recommend starting in the afternoon so you can see the sunset after finishing your jeep tour.

matthias standing in between rocks with stunning views
Small plant growing in canyon

1 day Wadi Rum tour with 1 overnight

PROS

  • Includes most of the highlights
  • You fully experience the landscapes
  • Local meals and snacks are included
  • Campfire and tea experience 
  • Possibility to sleep under the stars

CONS

  • Main disadvantage is that you won’t see the most remote and most beautiful landscapest in more extended tours
Matthias walking on dusty road in wadi rum
Matthias standing on large rock bridge in Wadi Rum

2 day Wadi Rum tour with 2 overnights

PROS

  • All the highlights and more
  • Most remote and unique places
  • Best value for your money
  • Enough time to truly appreciate the environment

CONS

  • Most expensive, but still good value for what you get

When we visited the Wadi Rum desert, we opted for the 2 days with 2 overnight stays Wadi Rum tour. If we would do it again, we would make the same choice. We enjoyed the second day even more than the first day and it was nice to spend time at the more remote parts of the Wadi Rum desert. So when you visit Jordan, make sure to foresee enough time to book a Wadi Rum tour and explore this beautiful desert!

Two eroded rock formations agains a clear sky

What is the best Wadi Rum tour company? 5 reasons to book a tour with Wadi Rum Stillness

It is not a problem finding accommodation or a Wadi Rum tour; the problem is finding the right one from the overwhelming choice. If you read previous posts of us, you know we mostly give several options on where to sleep or where to book a tour. For your Wadi Rum tour, we only give you one option and we guarantee you won’t regret it! The reason for that is that we are 100% satisfied with the tour we booked at Wadi Rum Stillness

We can’t imagine a more beautiful camp, better guides or even more delicious food in the entire 720 km² of the Wadi Rum desert. So if you are looking for an authentic and professional tour in the Wadi Rum desert, then book your tour with Habis and his team at Wadi Rum Stillness. Below you can find an extensive review on our experience in the Wadi Rum desert.

Just so you know, we don’t get paid to promote this Wadi Rum tour, this is truly our own experience.

1. The Wadi Rum Stillness camp

The Wadi Rum Stillness camp has 6 authentic Bedouin tents for 2 persons and 2 tents for families. The camp prioritizes authenticity and therefore limits the number of guests to a maximum of 20 persons. That way, you get a unique experience, even during high season. So make sure to book in advance!

There is a communal tent for dinner and breakfast, with a cozy fireplace in the middle. We really didn’t expect to have so much comfort in the desert! We traveled during winter time (February) but we never were cold in our tent thanks to the many warm blankets and the cozy fireplace. 

Electricity is also provided. There is a light in your tent and in the communal tent, you have the possibility to charge your electronics. The bathroom is very modern, clean and there are 2 hot showers and 2 toilets. The camp is very well maintained with respect for the environment. 

It’s at an excellent location to watch the stars due to the little light pollution. We got lucky and saw a small glimpse of the milky way. It’s important to know that many camps are located in a large valley near Wadi Rum village, one next to the other. 

The camp of Wadi Rum Stillness is located deeper in the desert (13 kilometers from the village) so it feels like you have the desert all to yourself. There are no other camps nearby. Note that this camp is situated in the Wadi Rum protected area and has a license. There are plenty of other tours that have camps outside the protected area and make no contributions to protecting nature in the Wadi Rum desert. Yet another advantage of Wadi Rum Stillness!

Camp with different bedouin tents
Two beds inside a bedouin tent
Fireplace inside communal tent at Wadi Rum Stillness camp

2. Local, entertaining and very knowledgeable tour guides

The professionalism and expertise of the Wadi Rum Stillness guides was immediately apparent. Their comprehensive knowledge of the region’s history, geology, and Bedouin culture contributed significantly to our experience. Our tour consisted of a small group of 4 people with one local guide (Sakhar). Born and raised in the Wadi Rum village, he shared all the beautiful places and interesting stories about the Wadi Rum desert with us.

We always had plenty of time to explore the different locations and take photos. At noon, he took us to some wonderful spots where we could enjoy the scenery while he was preparing a tasteful lunch for us. In the evening, we were joined by some other tour guides of the camp, drank tea together, shared stories and sang Bedouin songs together. 

Tents during nightime in bedouin camp

3. Clear communication, friendly and professional organization

We booked the tour online and got confirmation from Habis very fast. One of the reasons we choose for the Wadi Rum Stillness tour is because their website is very detailed and their program gives you a clear insight in everything you’ll see during the tour. Once we made our booking, we received a detailed PDF document with a thorough tour program. This booking confirmation was a good summary and made it very clear where we would meet, what was included in the tour, what to bring, how we could pay, etc.

On the day itself we arrived at 10 AM at the Wadi Rum Village where we met the owner of Wadi Rum Stillness (Habis). He welcomed us, we drank some tea and he made us immediately feel at home. Shortly after, our local guide (Sakhar) arrived with a 4×4 WD, ready for our desert adventure. We could park our car in the driveway of the house, so we felt very safe to leave our car behind.

mieke looking up into canyon

4. Tour program: more than just the highlights

The desert landscape of Wadi Rum is truly magnificent. Towering sandstone formations and expansive valleys provide a breathtaking backdrop when driving through the desert in the back of a 4×4. Our tour guide spoke English very well and gave us a good insight into Bedouin culture. On the first day we saw all the highlights (Lawrence spring, Khazali canyon, Red Sand dune, rock bridge, etc.).

eroded rock formation with plants
Mieke standing next to 4WD jeep looking at rock formation

On the second day we drove further down south to see the wildest and more remote part of the Wadi Rum. It was amazing to have the desert all by ourselves in this less visited area. This second day was another reason why we chose for the Wadi Rum Stillness tour. It seemed like only a few tours offer a second day filled with so many highlights.

To be honest, we enjoyed the locations we visited on day 2 even better than the locations we visited the first day. We ended the second day with our second stunning sunset while drinking tea together and returned to the camp for a warm shower.

Mieke watching the sunset from a rock in the desert

5. Food and drinks

The food was delicious and thanks to Ahmed it was always freshly prepared. And there was plenty of food! Breakfast, lunch, tea, snacks, dinner, everything was included. All meals are authentic and really add up to the Bedouin experience.

For instance we had the chance to eat Maqluba (a dish with rice, veggies and chicken that’s been served in a pot that’s been turned upside down) and Zarb (a Bedouin barbecue that is slow-cooked for 2 hours in an oven in the sand). They also offer vegetarian options. We learned a lot about the history and nomadic culture of the Bedouin people of Wadi Rum. In the evening, we were joined by other tour guides of the camp, drank freshly made tea together, shared stories and sang Bedouin songs together.

cooking pot on burning wood in the desert
matthias with coat overlooking the rock formations from a viewpoint

The best to see in the Wadi Rum desert

On the first day of our Wadi Rum tour, we visited the main attractions and highlights of the desert. Almost all tours include the following locations:

  • Red Sand Dune: as the name reveals, this is a large red sand dune against a rock formation. Climbing the sand dune to the top of the rock formations will give you great first views over the extensive Wadi Rum desert. 
  • Lawrence Spring: Not far from the Red Sand Dune lies Lawrence Spring. The views from here over the desert are stunning, especially if there are some camels that come here to drink from the spring. 
  • Khazali Canyon: the most visited canyon in the Wadi Rum desert, mainly because you can find Nabatean and Thamudic petroglyphs inside the canyon.
  • Small Arch Bridge: Although one of the smaller rock bridges in the Wadi Rum desert, we really liked this bridge with its 4 meter wide span. 
  • Lawrence House: The construction at this location was built by the Romans. Again, the surroundings are stunning. 
  • Mushroom Rock: Rock formation shaped like, well, a mushroom. There are plenty of rock formations in the desert and we enjoyed looking at the rocks and discovering several animals or objects in it. 
  • Um Fruth rock bridge: Probably the most photographed place in the Wadi Rum desert. This rock bridge with a height of 15 meters is a cool spot to take some pictures. At least if you aren’t afraid of heights!
Mieke climbing a red sand dune
Rock formation in the shape of a mushroom
Matthias standing on a rock bridge

On the second day, the attractions become even more impressive. 

  • The eye of the desert: Another rock bridge in the desert. Climbing the mountain gives you magnificent views over the Wadi Rum protected area.
  • Wadi Sabet viewpoint: Did you know that although Wadi Rum is often nicknamed the red desert, there is also a huge part that has white sand? This viewpoint lies in the white desert of Wadi Rum. 
  • Jabal Al-Hash: Situated near the Jordan-Saudi Arabian border, you get the best view over the desert. We could have spent hours here!
  • Bedouin Dam: Here you get familiar with how the Bedouins collect water via an ingenious system using the rocks of the Wadi Rum desert. 
  • Chicken Rock: You need some fantasy to see a chicken in this rock formation, but the egg next to the chicken is clearly recognizable.
Rock formation shaped as a chicken with egg
matthias standing on boulder overlooking the wadi rum desert from a viewpoint
camels next to water bassin in desert

What to take with you on a Wadi Rum tour?

Whatever you pack, make sure you pack plenty of things that protect you from the sun, sand, and (sometimes) wind. 

In terms of clothing, pack comfortable and lightweight clothes, but make sure to bring a fleece sweater or a jacket for the colder nights. To protect you from the sun, a long-sleeved shirt is an excellent idea. If you are traveling in winter, warm clothes for the night, a hat and a scarf can help you to keep warm in the evening. 

The red sand of the desert agains a blurry background
Matthias standing in a small canyon

To help you remember everything you need to bring for your Wadi Rum tour we made an easy list, you can find it below:

  • A small daypack – easy to keep your belongings together or to protect your electronics from the sand
  • Hat and sunglasses – Make sure you can watch the views without hurting your eyes. Sunglasses are an essential in the Wadi Rum desert.
  • Sunscreen – even during the winter months, the UV radiation of the sun is very present. So make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen.
  • Comfortable shoes – Getting the best views will need some scrambling. Make sure to wear decent footwear. In the evening, slippers are recommended, so you can easily take them off before entering the tents. 
  • Warmer layers for the evening (long trousers, a hoodie, and warm socks)
  • Biodegradable wet wipes – Besides inside the camp, there are no toilets in the desert. So during the day, you’ll probably have to use nature’s toilet. 
  • Head torch – always convenient when you have to pee during the night.
  • Travel towel – most camps don’t provide a towel, so best to bring your own.
  • Lip balm – This was a lifesaver!
  • Battery bank to recharge your electronics. We can assure you will take plenty of photos!
  • Cash money – There are no ATMs in the desert and most camps will ask you to pay cash.

We hope this post gives all the information you need to book your Wadi Rum tour! You won’t regret it, that’s for sure! If you have any questions, contact us via mail or social media.

Happy travels,

Matthias & Mieke

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