Getting into and around Jordan is as easy (and pricey) as western Europe except the average Jordanian does not despise Americans, willingly speaks English, and is generally a friendly chap. All of these qualities are even more abundant in the Bedouin people of Wadi Rum where climbers seem to be considered as the top of the visitor pyramid (above your average tourist and way above some Amman or Riyadh city slicker afraid of getting a bit dirty in the sand). Try not to screw up that reputation. Show respect and courtesy and you will feel nothing but warm hospitality in return!
If you can find a cheap flight to Aqaba great (50km from the Rum); otherwise Amman is a ~4 hour drive. Flying into Israel and crossing the land border supposedly had severe restrictions on bringing climbing gear; a least in 2012. Things might have eased up – not sure. Taxi from Amman is 100 JD each way (2016). Round trip taxi fare to Petra was ~35 JD in 2012.
In 2012, we camped at the Rest House (just outside of Wadi Rum village) for 2 JD/person/night in our own tent. This buys you entry into a shared rest room and a shower (harden up buttercup – a cold shower). The downside is the tourist buses which unload their cargo seemingly for the purpose of unloading their cargos in turn all over the shared bathrooms. I mean what filthy animal shits on the toilet seat? You can buy meals (quite good) at the Rest House for about 3 JD/person/breakfast and 8-10 JD/person/dinner…these are prices climbers get when they stay there for multiple days (touristas pay more). Beer is expensive and limited. Though per Khaled’s suggestion we always carried our cash & passports with us, we had no issues leaving climbing gear in the tent (frankly, my only concern was the tourist riff raff coming in and out of the area).
In 2016, we stayed in Khaled’s Milky Way Camp (check out the pretty new website!) in the desert about a 30 minute drive from the village. This is the proverbial lap of luxury! Clean, comfortable and in a beautiful setting. Canvas cabins with beds, solar-heated showers and a very nice communal tent where you’ll find a pot of hot, sweet Bedouin tea brewing on an open fire every night. Email Khaled for information and reservations (Amman pick-up can also be easily arranged by Khaled): khaled.desert1atyahoodotcom.
Bring cash (JD) as there are no ATM’s anywhere nearby. Conservative estimate is 100 JD per 4X4 drop off & pick up from remote desert climbs.
A book by Tony Howard is the only English climbing guidebook to the area. Bring all the gear you’ll use (+extras) as there’s no place to purchase replacements and the sandy environment and rock are tough especially on ropes.
If you’ve been thinking about going to Wadi Rum, you really should! One can always come up with excuses, especially for “that part of the world.” But look around the city you live in, listen to your local news. I’m willing to bet you’ll feel safer sleeping in your tent at the Rest House. Cheerio!
“Wadi Rum Quickie” (February 2016)
“Jordan – First Trip” (February 2012)