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Wadi Rum Beta

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Most info in the forums is a bit old now, I was wondering if anyone has recommendations on to where to stay and what to do for food. Do most people pack their camping gear to stay there (in addition to bivvy in the desert?)

And to bivvy in the desert, what do people do for food? Cook with foraged wood or packing gas/stove?

And lastly, will mid-February be too cold to climb in the shade? Or is mid march better. 

Thanks! 

In reply to Ramon Marin:

> Most info in the forums is a bit old now, I was wondering if anyone has recommendations on to where to stay and what to do for food. Do most people pack their camping gear to stay there (in addition to bivvy in the desert?)

Accomodation in houses in the village is possible, but I've always camped at the Rest House. Others might be able to give contacts, or else just ask around (or, more probably, get asked!). Meals available at the Rest House. Several small shops sell all necessary provisions, including fresh veg. to cook yourself.

> And to bivvy in the desert, what do people do for food? Cook with foraged wood or packing gas/stove?

Take a petrol cooker and ask around (or your driver) for petrol. You shouldn't really use foraged wood, (though the locals will).  If you do make a fire, keep it very small

> And lastly, will mid-February be too cold to climb in the shade? Or is mid march better. 

Not been in February, but generally climbing in the sun is best in Dec/Jan and definitely best in the shade by the end of March, so maybe something in between! You'll find plenty of options at any time.

In reply to Robert Durran:

Thanks Robert!

 Inhambane 11 Nov 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Hi , I live in Jordan and I've camped and climbed all year round in wadi rum, it's never too hot or cold as long as your strategic with sun/shade.  However it may rain and then you wouldn't want to be in a narrow gorge. 

You can't rely on foraged wood as there is hardly any around.  Camping gas you can get in the big supermarkets in Amman. 

 Bivvy in the desert is great and whoever drives you in can lend you a mattress. No tents needed. 

PM me if you want any contacts or more info.

 joeramsay 14 Nov 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Don't suppose you know if the rest house is definitely still going? Poking around the internet it sounds like it might be fizzling out. I've got a trip planned in March and we were hoping to camp

In reply to joeramsay:

I hadn't heard that - I'll try to find out.

Just googled it and various reviews seem more to suggest that it doesn't offer accomodation but rather just the very basic camping. With tourism very muich back on the up, I'd be surprised if it is not operational offering lunch to the bus loads of dayu tripping tourists.

Post edited at 18:46
In reply to joeramsay:

Might see you there then. What day do you arrive? Will pass on any beta I know. Sounds the resthouse is not the best choice for accomodation whilst in town. So far I tracked one decent option

In reply to Ramon Marin:

>  Sounds the resthouse is not the best choice for accomodation whilst in town. 

I don't think the rest house has ever offered actual accomodation. It is just a convenient place to camp while in the village between trips out to thge desert, and get meals if you want. When I was last there two years ago it seemed to be getting pretty busy again with day trippers off buses in the middle of the day but was very quiet for breakfast or in the evenings. I hope they still have the new routes/route report book!

 beardy mike 15 Nov 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Can't offer much in the way of information, only encouragement as I went years ago. One of the best places I've ever been climbing, and the traverse over the top of Jebel Rum was an absolute highlight. Would go back in a flash...

 gparn 17 Nov 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Hi - I've just got back from a couple of weeks in wadi rum so thought I'd add my two cents(/essay). Having read a bunch of stuff on UKC before heading out my impression was that things have changed a fair bit over the last year so worth a read if you're planning on heading out.

Access

This was the most confusing thing. It seems that, particularly as a climber, you need a reservation to get into the protected area and the name of a bedouin guide to give to the police when you get to the visitor centre. When we got there we tried to explain to the police that we were just planning on camping in the rest house but they were having none of it and told us to go and get a reservation/the name of a guide before we could get in.

Speaking to people in the village, it seems like there have been a number of climbing-related accidents (including 9 deaths) last year. A tourist also died and another was injured a couple of days before we arrived. This has lead to the measures I've set out above - the police seem to be nervous about climbing in general and want someone keeping tabs on you while you're there. In practice this means a 'guide' (who is basically just the person you stay with rather than a climbing guide) knowing where you are going climbing and if something happens it's their job to help you out.

In practice, it works fine when you're inside, it just makes getting in a bit complicated and a bit pricier.

It may of course be that we got the wrong end of the stick when we were there so if others have had a different experience please shout.

Accommodation

You can either try and make a reservation from the UK or sort it our when you're at the visitor centre. I recommend the former as at the visitor centre they are catering for tourists and not climbers - practically that means things are more expensive and less convenient (seems most tourists stay out in the desert whereas if you're climbing you want your base to be in the village).

When we were in the village we met Abu Ali, he runs a restaurant in the village and is a very nice and welcoming man who used to climb. He is in the process of setting up his own accommodation but in the interim is working with a Bedouin named Hamdan who has good accommodation in the village - we paid 17jd for half board, eating at Abu Ali's restaurant but I think others ate at Hamdan's. They have wifi and hot showers (other accommodation was much more basic in our experience...)

Link is: https://www.booking.com/hotel/jo/hamdan-house-for-holidays.en-gb.html. If you book through booking.com you'll go through Hamdan, then I'd recommend getting in touch with Abu Ali when you're in the village as he knows more about climbing etc (I have his contact details if you want to go through him). I'd thoroughly recommend staying with these guys but there are I'm sure other options if you dig around.

Abu Ali can sort you out with anything you need for the trip (jeeps etc) and also has the new routes book (or a book at least) - this is no longer in the rest house.

No one was staying at the rest house when we were there - it seems largely defunct. Apparently the cooking facilities which did exist have gone and there are basically just some toilets. 

I think you can still just camp in the desert for free, but you will need the name of a guide / reservation at an established camp to get in, and not sure how you procure that - unless anyone else does???

Eating

The shop in the village has everything you need for lunches etc (as long as you don't mind lots of tinned hummus). It also sells canned food you can heat up if you're going out into the desert. If you're not doing half board and want to eat at a restaurant, there are a few around - Abu Ali does a mean dinner for about 6jd (big portions and tasty).

If you're flying to Aqaba you can buy gas canisters (valve and screw top) at a shop on Zahran street for cooking stuff in the desert. In Barrah canyon you can make fires but the firewood is dead bits of bush and requires a lot of effort to keep going - not recommended for cooking... Otherwise a petrol cooker best bet as others have pointed out.

Climbing

Climbing is amazing. Some of the most spectacular scenery I've ever experienced. East face of Jebel  Rum and Barrah canyon have loads of more conventional climbing and then there are the bedouin routes... Easy grades but spectacular positions, exposure and challenging route finding... You have to be confident padding down slabs over giant cliff edges! We did the west-east traverse of Jebel Rum - one of the best experiences I've had. 

Can't speak for temperatures in mid feb, but am thinking about a March visit myself. Apparently later in the month is better as it's the tail end of the raining season and you're a bit stuck there if it does rain (given sandstone / canyon flooding etc).

Hope this is helpful. Give me a pm if you have any questions.

In reply to gparn:

That's all very interesting. It would be a shame if things are now more restrictive. Did it look like it was still possible to camp at the rest house? I am going next April with largish group and would really like the flexibility of coming and going between camping in the desert and the village as without having to plan too much in advance.

 Inhambane 17 Nov 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

I have never seen anyone camping at the rest house, there is not really a campground there and seems all exposed and not very nice.  The rest house does sell beer and small meals like chips. 

There are plenty of options for accommodation in the village now with a number of people offering basic houses or camping inside their grounds.  I normally stay with these guys who are climbers as well and know all the routes (recommended by Tony H as well).

https://www.facebook.com/wadirumclimbers/

I don't think things are becoming restrictive, it just seems to be part of protocol that when you enter the park you need to say the name of the person who your staying with/or who is driving you into the desert, as the majority of people who come are staying in the camps and have it all pre-booked.  Therefore to camp in the desert you don't need a reservation but you still need someone to drive you and giving name over at the desk will be fine.

You don't need a guide to climb and bivying in the desert is still 100% fine.    

Post edited at 13:49
 Inhambane 17 Nov 2019
 gparn 17 Nov 2019
In reply to Inhambane:

Yes that sounds right to me - the police just want the name of someone who you are either staying with or who will be responsible for you when you're on the park. 

Once you're in you can pretty much do whatever I think. When you're in there it's not restricted, it's just we found we had to get over that hurdle when we arrived (we were planning on camping at the rest house too).

When we were there we stayed in the village for a few night then chucked our stuff in the car and stayed in the desert for a couple of nights - you won't get charged for the nights you're not in the accommodation and it's all very flexible.

Post edited at 14:44
In reply to Inhambane:

> I have never seen anyone camping at the rest house, there is not really a campground there and seems all exposed and not very nice. 

Certainly on my more recent visits, there have been very few people camping behind the rest house (sometimes just myself). I've always found it perfectly pleasant to camp there with the shady canopies and so on, and I can't imagine anywhere in the village is going to be particulary wonderful to camp - anyway, I've really just seen it as a convenient spot between trips out into the desert.

> The rest house does sell beer and small meals like chips. 

So maybe nothing much has really changed?

> I don't think things are becoming restrictive, it just seems to be part of protocol that when you enter the park you need to say the name of the person who your staying with/or who is driving you into the desert.

Good. That is reassuring - I have contact

In reply to Inhambane:

> There are plenty of options for accommodation in the village now with a number of people offering basic houses or camping inside their grounds.  I normally stay with these guys who are climbers as well and know all the routes (recommended by Tony H as well).

Is this them? 

https://www.wadirumjordanguide.com/about-us

In reply to gparn:

This is all great beta, thanks guys. We’ll be there from end of Feb to mid march, so if anyone is around do please get in touch to meet up

 joeramsay 17 Nov 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Yep all cracking stuff, thanks for posting as it's given me loads of beta also! Me and my mate will be out there for pretty much all of March so it'd be great to say hi. Thanks all for your helpful advice! 

Post edited at 23:18
 Inhambane 18 Nov 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yes they are the same.  Atuallah is the manager and Abduallah is the climber, he's done most of the classics and has been trained by Wilfred Colona I believe.  They are nice, honest people and their family is from wadi rum so they have a real sense of the history of the place.  I've known them for over 2 years now.  

In reply to Inhambane:

> Yes they are the same.  Atuallah is the manager and Abduallah is the climber, he's done most of the classics and has been trained by Wilfred Colona I believe.  They are nice, honest people and their family is from wadi rum so they have a real sense of the history of the place.  I've known them for over 2 years now.  

Cool, yes I know them too - just wasn't clear whether the facebook page was them too. I had the privilege to spend a wonderful week with them two years ago involved in the making of this short film:  https://www.vimeo.com/253962268

 Nathan Adam 18 Nov 2019
In reply to gparn:

Guy, thanks for all this info. A friend and myself are going late January for 10 days and looking to find some inside accommodation so will be in touch with the guys you have mentioned. A little concerned about the weather and the cold but hopefully be nice enough to climb in the sunshine and maybe less people around too. 

In reply to Inhambane:

A thought provoking FB post from Tony Howard (not sure whether link will work publicly) about the unsustainability of tourism in Wadi Rum:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157712976484634&set=a.10151309210534634&type=3&theater

Includes a contribution from Atallah.

 gparn 19 Nov 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Makes pretty grim reading. The number of permanent camps was quite surprising - particularly the ridiculous bubble shaped monstrosities. 

There's clearly a wider question about the sustainability of tourism in the area and how to manage it going forward, but seems to me that as individuals the most obvious and easiest thing to make a difference is to limit your own impact.

Most obviously shocking thing for me was the amount of rubbish and human waste, particularly at barrah canyon. There were a lot of poorly concealed human toilers, with limited attempts from people to clear up their waste. It was disgusting at times. There was also a lot of rubbish - plastic bottles etc - which had clearly been left by climbers camping in the area. Worth trying to pick some of it up and bring it back to the village if you head out there and get a chance.

In reply to gparn:

> Most obviously shocking thing for me was the amount of rubbish and human waste, particularly at barrah canyon. There were a lot of poorly concealed human toilers, with limited attempts from people to clear up their waste. It was disgusting at times. There was also a lot of rubbish - plastic bottles etc - which had clearly been left by climbers camping in the area. Worth trying to pick some of it up and bring it back to the village if you head out there and get a chance.

Yes, Barrah Canyon was a mess when I was last there two years ago. I spent an hour filling several carrier bags with rubbish from the Merlin's wand area while waiting for our transport. I would encourage everyone to take some bin liners with them to Rum and leave camping spots tidier than they find them and at least set a good example. Most of the rubbish seemed to be paper plates, small drinks bottles etc, presumably left by tourist groups having picnics. Climbers should definitely know better and leave the place spotless.

I absolutely love Wadi Rum; the desert, the people, the climbing and I'll be making my eigth trip in the spring, but, having read that post, it will be with some trepidation - it sounds like there have been significant changes since I last visited two years ago.

Post edited at 17:15

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