If for whatever
reason you have some time to spare in Wadi Rum before or after your desert
suggest that you might like a self-guided walk up to Wadi Shelaala behind
the Resthouse in the village.
It is an easy walk
on a well maintained path, about 10-15
minutes if you don't dawdle.
This is the "real" Lawrence's Well, in a tiny valley in
a fold of Jebel Rum. You can see that it is still
exactly as T. E. Lawrence described it in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom
(page 363 for those interested). You can see a number of Nabatean
inscriptions along the way, and the well itself is marked with the tribal
marking of the Zilabia tribe.
The water is piped
down from here to what is usually shown to tourists as "Lawrence's Well"
at Abu Aina. This is about three kilometers away across rough ground (no
pathway) and we do not advise any but the most intrepid to try to scramble
on this cliff without a guide. The water at Abu Aina is diverted into a
series of troughs where the camels come and drink.
is a delightful spot, perhaps 150meters above the village of Rum and
accessible by a frequently used pathway. Besides the water flowing freely
on the ground, there is a dripping well whose water is entirely pure, and
water mint and other herbs grow in the water. There is a great view out
over the village and the
valley - see the photo on the top of the left hand
It is completely
in shade in the afternoon and is cool and pleasant with a lovely view over
the village and towards the desert. The well itself is enclosed nowadays
to minimise condensation. The water drips down from the mountain and is
perfectly good to drink if you collect it in a glass or a plastic beaker.
Don't drink the standing water though. There are several aromatic plants
there and the smell is wonderful.
Most people like to
spend at least 15 minutes or so here, and it is indeed a lovely place to
sit for a while Most of the time you would have it to yourself.
A good time for this
is if you arrive on the early bus for Petra and need to wait for the
guide. It is also a very pleasant diversion if you come on the afternoon
bus from Aqaba intending to spend the night in the desert camp.
At any time it is
well worth the 30-40 minutes you would spend.