Wadi Saabit : Photo taken on the
Khasch Ridge by Christian Beisl, Linz, Austria, whom we thank for letting us use
This is an exciting
three day/two night programme, taking you far to the south away from Rum
Village and into the valleys close to the frontier of Saudi Arabia. It
is an "adventure" programme and we shall be sleeping in the desert, away
from any camps.
We shall be sleeping in a
different place in the desert each night, and will ask you to bring sleeping
bags; we shall supply mattresses.
Like all of our programmes, it is
flexible : you can choose to leave out a day or add a day from another
programme to it (for this we suggest a day from the
Wadi Rum Adventure selection). It is nominally a jeep programme, but if you want to get out
and walk for a bit, there would be no difficulty.
|The red sand dunes
||View of the Burdah Arch
Day One : we start off with our classic jeep tour as given in
the programme "A day with the Bedouin".
We start in the village and
drive first to Lawrence's Spring and then to the red sand dunes in Wadi Um
Ishrin and to Jebel Anafishiya where you can also see some Nabatean
inscriptions. We continue, visiting "Lawrence's House" from where there are some
great views, and then to the Barragh Canyon. Here we have lunch. There is an
optional short hike in the canyon for about a kilometer. In the afternoon we
drive to where we have a view up the mountain of the bridge on Jebel Burdah, and
then to Um Fruth Bridge (which you can climb if you wish - it is about 20 meters
high) and Khazali Canyon.
We do not
usually actually visit the Seven Pillars of Wisdom since this is very clearly
visible from the Visitors' Centre. We can go there if you wish, but there is not
really all that much point since it is better seen from a short distance away.
the end of the day, instead of going to the camp to spend the night, we head
south into the deeper desert, and shall sleep for the night in Wadi Fur'a, about
half way between Rum Village and the Saudi Arabian frontier.
This will be a desert bivouac, such as we make
for ourselves when we go into the desert : we choose a sheltered spot out of the
wind and where the early sunshine will not wake us too soon, everybody helps to
gather dead wood for the camp fire, we sit around it to talk as the food is cooked and, except in the deepest winter, we
sleep on mattresses
under the stars, cosily tucked into blankets or into our own sleeping bags.
Water will be available for washing as much of yourselves as you want to. We
supply soap but not towels for this. Just find a private place in the rocks and
go to it!
It is a good idea to pick our your sleeping
spot before it gets dark. You can sleep near to the fire or move away from it to
have more privacy, just as you like. We shall have chosen a place where you are
most unlikely to meet any snakes or other unwelcome wildlife - this is something
we learn when we are very young!
Day Two : we continue south - now we are really in the
desert and far away from the
village and the usual tourist track. We pass numerous red
sandstone massifs, and through Wadi
Noghra we reach the lonely Wadi Saabit, one of the longest and widest of the
east/west valleys. Wadi Noghra is at the end of the Khasch Ridge, where we bring
people hiking on several of our programmes.
At the end of Noghra, we arrive finally in Wadi Saabit. You will probably see many camels here, especially in the
spring, when they are there with their babies. If we have had any real rain
during the winter, the grass is good here.
We are heading towards a tiny valley, hidden in a
cleft of the cliffs and well protected by an area of soft sand. It is quite
difficult to drive anywhere really close to it, you might have to walk at the
known as the Siq um Barid, ("the cold canyon") is hidden in a cleft of the
mountain, close to Wadi Noghra and on the northern edge of Wadi Saabit. Even
when you are only a few meters away, you don't realise that it is there.
It is perhaps
50 meters long, delightfully cool and green, and the many inscriptions there
show that ancient people knew and used it. There is a place where water collects
when it runs off the mountains, and the many drawings of ibex show how the
people lived by hunting.
The strange inscriptions at the
entrance are most unusual - do they represent identification of certain members
of the tribes, or of important people? Nobody knows or has any better idea about
afternoon we across the dried stream in the middle of Wadi Saabit (this is
sometimes an exciting crossing!) and on the southern side, we head west, to another
unexpected tiny valley close to Jebel Albzouri, of which the walls are completely covered with
inscriptions. They are quite incredible, no drawings, this time, just writing in
an unknown alphabet.
These inscriptions have been
copied and recopied, but to my knowlege have never been translated. One wonders
why the valley has been singled out for this. There is a Natatean well at the
far end, which seems to indicate that the Nabateans had something to do with
this, certainly they knew about it!
The western end of Wadi Saabit
is the area where most of the camels are to be seen. The valley is more open
here, and wider, the high cliffs are mainly in the east. While many of the
camels are owned by the local Bedouin tribes, a large proportion are brought in
from other areas where the grass is less abundant. Some of them are even brought
from Saudi Arabia!
to the west towards the area around Jebel Sweibit. We are still in the heart of
the red sandstone area of Wadi Rum, the scenery is spectacular and the many
small massifs dot the landscape. The shadows are getting longer as we settle
into our new bivouac.
Day Three : we start heading north again, back towards
Rum Village. The adventure isn't over, but it
is coming to an end. We are driving through
one of the
great climbing areas of Wadi Rum, where some of the most experienced climbers
You will notice that the sand takes on a different
colour as we leave the south. It is still red, but not as pink as in Wadi Saabit
and the area around it. In fact, the sand often has a different colour in
different places, ranging from white up to really deep red.
We have a choice of roads for the way back :
straight north past Jebel al Moghar (see the
map on our website), and to Jebel Qatar and its dripping well,
and past Jebel Khazali to arrive in the village. There is also
another way, further west, which follows the beginning of the Desert Road to
Aqaba before heading through some beautiful and unknown valleys, to arrive in
Wadi Rumman, to the west of Jebel Rum.
Wadi Rumman was used by the Army at one time, and
has suffered for it, but it is now mostly visited by climbers, since many of the
routes to climb Jebel Rum start from there. If we have time we could go to the
very end of it, where the oryx enclosure is, but we are not very likely actually
to see any of the oryx: the enclosure is huge, and they are usually hidden away
in the little valleys running back into the mountain.
Price : on the basis of two or
three people, we would be asking for 80JD/person per day for this tour, or
70JD/person for four people or more.
This includes all meals, mineral
water and mattresses for sleeping as well as the guide and car as above.
We apologize, we realise that it
is expensive, but you have a guide and a jeep for 24/24 hours, a long way
away from the village. There is a lot of driving involved, not to mention
the overnight bivouac and that the guide has to do the cooking, which is not
normally part of his job!
We think that you will decide
that it is worth the money, this is a memorable experience that very few
people would have the chance to have. If you want to reduce the time, we can
come back to the village after the second day, and in that case the price
would be 160JD. But we do need to know this BEFORE you start out on the
note the page about "Private Tours"
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