Wadi Rum fun

Wadi Rum was the absolute highlight of last weekend for me, perhaps because of all the ‘firsts’. First time in the desert, first time seeing the Milky Way, first time sandboarding, first time driving off-road in a 4×4, and best of all my first ever camel ride!
We arrived at dusk, and I finally got my long-awaited camel ride. Nobody else in the group wanted to do it, so it was just me and my Bedouin guide. I got on with slight trepidation, as I wasn’t quite sure how the camel was going to stand up without toppling me over its head. However, I managed to keep my seat just fine, and we set off into the desert.

(Thanks to Mark for the camel photos)

The strangest thing about riding a camel through the desert was how static it seemed. The distances were so vast that it was impossible to perceive progress. It was also difficult to tell how long we had been travelling, so it was a bit of a shock when my allotted hour was up and a pickup truck came to take me to the camp.

We had a decent dinner, and the Bedouin lady who helped run the camp played us her drums. We also saw one or two bats overhead. However, the best bit of the night by far was the stargazing. I saw 18 shooting stars! I had never seen the Milky Way properly before, but it was clearly visible at Wadi Rum. Sadly I don’t have the camera for taking those kinds of photos, but (as you might expect) it was stunning. We fell asleep under the stars, and the night was surprisingly mosquito-free, if surprisingly cold.

Next morning we were off on a 4×4 tour of Wadi Rum. The desert landscape is quite like how I imagine Mars to be – red and dusty. We saw several sites associated with Lawrence of Arabia, and some rock art. The pictures don’t really show you the scale of the rocky outcrops scattered through the desert, but they were HUGE. Every few minutes, we stopped at one of these outcrops to climb and explore.

Our guide described this rock as being like a cow, but I thought it looked more like a sheep.

More climbing.

We even did some sandboarding! I’d been told that it was a bit of a disappointment compared to snowboarding, but fortunately I’ve only ever skied so had no expectations. Therefore I really enjoyed myself, despite the fact that walking uphill in deep sand is just as tiring as walking uphill in deep snow.

Our final stop was at a ravine to look at some rock art, including these cute little footprints.

Eventually it was time to leave the desert. I was pretty keen to jump on a camel and just wander for days, but sadly we were running to a pretty strict schedule. Hopefully I’ll get to spend more time in the desert, either here or in Australia.

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