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Wadi Rum
"Vast, echoing and God-like "- these are the words
of T.E. Lawrence in describing Wadi Rum.
It is the largest and most magnificent of Jordan's
desert landscape, but by no means the only one.
Jordan is crisscrossed with countless valleys of
stunning beauty, from the knife-edged dunes of
Wadi Arabah to Wadi Mujib, a wildlife reserve and
Jordan's answer to the Grand Canyon.

There are many ways to experience Jordan's
fragile, unspoiled desert retreats. Serious trekkers
will be drawn to Wadi Rum, with challenging climbs
some, 1,750 meters high, but casual hikers can
also enjoy and easy course through the colorful
hills and canyons. Tourists with a high sense of
adventure will want to try hot air ballooning over
Rum. Those with a calm disposition will choose a
camel ride or a night under the stars in a Bedouin
tent.

Relatively few of Jordan's Bedouins still follow the
ways of their ancestors. Most are settled in cities
and towns and in every walk of life. Yet low-slung
black tents and pack camels have not vanished
from the landscape, and many travelers find a
shared meal or coffee with traditional desert
Bedouins to be their most memorable experience.

Naturalists will be drawn to the desert in
springtime, when rain brings the greening of the
hills and an explosion of 2,000 species of
wildflower. Red anemones, poppies, and Jordan's
striking Black Iris, Jordan’s national flower, grow at
will on the side of the road and in more quiet
reaches.

Much of the rugged terrain is an ideal habitat for
wildlife. Sinai rose finches, desert finches, desert
larks, and redstarts can be sighted in Rum, and
sapphire-blue kingfishers in Hammamat Ma'in .The
mountain gazelle, hyena, fox and ibex are still
common in Wadi Arabah, and Shaumari Natural
Reserves in breeding and releasing the once
plentiful Arabian Oryx, the ostrich, and the Syrian
wild ass.