Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Exploring the Wadi Rum Desert with Kids
- 9 Things to do with Kids in the Wadi Rum
- Take a 4x4 Tour
- Find The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
- See the Sun Set
- Find a Cat of Jordan
- Enjoy a Traditional Zarb
- Learn an Arabic Dance Move
- See the Milky Way
- Glamping Jordanian Style
- Ride a Camel across the Desert
- The Wadi Rum Desert in Movies
- Wadi Rum’s History
- Other Jordan Adventures for Your Trip
- Prep and Pack Jordan
Take the kids to explore a legendary Jordan desert, the Wadi Rum, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Seven Pillars of Wisdom as you pass camel caravans. Experience the epic landscape featured in the movie Lawrence of Arabia as your family drives up and down giant sand dunes. Read on for the National Parks TravelingMom’s top 9 things to do with kids in the Wadi Rum Desert.
Exploring the Wadi Rum Desert with Kids
It took me years to appreciate the pure beauty of the desert. Spending too much time thinking death awaited if I lost my way. Explore the Jordan desert in the milder spring or fall to best enjoy the landscape. Make it a desert adventure with these 9 things to do with kids in the Wadi Rum to see a UNESCO World Hertiage Site.
9 Things to do with Kids in the Wadi Rum
- Take a 4×4 Tour
- Find the Seven Pillars of Wisdom
- See the Sun Set
- See a Cat of Jordan
- Enjoy a Zarb
- Learn an Arabic Dance Move
- See the Milky Way
- Glamp in a Bedouin Camp
- Ride a Camel at Sunrise
Take a 4×4 Tour
Hop into the back of a Toyota Hilux 4×4 and explore the same sand that people have traveled for thousands of years. Veering off the main road, sometimes I saw a pair of tracks in the sand then the ruts vanished. Sand swallows everything in its path, including time.
Find The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Named after the British Officer T.E. Lawrence’s book, the mountain formation dominates the desert landscape. Lawrence described the Wadi Rum as vast, echoing and god-like.
Lawrence was instrumental in the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918 against the Ottoman empire. Working as a liaison between the Arab forces and the British, he also led campaigns with Prince Faisal, the future King. After the conflict, Lawrence wrote a book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, retelling the story that later became an Academy award-winning movie.
See the Sun Set
After letting some air out of the tires, our 4×4 gains traction to climb the sand dune that looks like an unsurmountable mountain. At the top, I see the sun inching closer to the horizon.
Skidding down the backside of the sand dune we drive to an overlook. Climbing out of the back of the 4×4, I sit in the sand. The desert turns an amber gold as the sky flames in colors of tangerine and aubergine. Then silently darkening to indigo before the tiny sparkling lights of the night sky dazzle all.
Find a Cat of Jordan
Everywhere I went in Jordan, cats seemed to find me. In every color imaginable, the cats of Jordan find cat people to pet them. Mostly used for organic pest control, the cats are gentle and speak several languages, according to my guide.
Enjoy a Traditional Zarb
The Bedouin’s welcomed me with their legendary hospitality. In the protected area surrounded by shear sandstone walls we gathered around the Zarb, the traditional underground Bedouin barbeque.
A rack holds chicken, lamb, along with vegetables while the coals slowly cook the food underground. Piling plates high we dine on lamb and chicken along with a mezze of hummus, fattoush (bread salad) and babba ghanoush.
Every meal in Jordan ends with Arabic coffee or mint tea along with dessert, usually baklava.
Learn an Arabic Dance Move
In the evenings, guests sit along the upholstered seating in open tents. Over mint tea guests share adventures and make new friends. The music in the background changes.
Our hosts find popular North American songs covered in Arabic. Grabbing hands everyone learns a new dance move.
See the Milky Way
With little light to dim the night sky, finding the Milky Way is no problem. Many Bedouins can still navigate across the desert by the stars.
For a better look, pack binoculars. And some camps offer telescopes to see the Milky Way.
Glamping Jordanian Style
During my visit to the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, I stayed in a traditional camp, Rahayeb Desert Camp. Located in a protected area from the desert wind, I enjoyed a deluxe goat hair tent with a bathroom and a shower.
Rahayeb Desert Camp also offers travelers tents without attached bathrooms. I toured the mini-suites along with the family suites with two bedrooms and an attached bathroom. Find a clean bathhouse within steps of all the tents.
I enjoyed my breakfast and dinner while staying at Rahayeb. Served buffet-style in a tent, enjoy your meal outside around the fire pit or in the dining tent.
Rahayeb Desert Camp arranges camel tours, hot air balloon rides and collects guests at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center for their stay.
Ride a Camel across the Desert
After glamping in a desert camp, I met my guide before dawn for a camel caravan. Travel like the Bedouins have for 10,000 years on the back of a camel. After climbing into a traditional saddle hold on tight as the camel stands up. Surprisingly gentle, the camels glide across the desert sand.
After riding though the soundless desert, the camels reach the point where the sun peaks above the horizon. Take a moment and snap a photo.
The Wadi Rum Desert in Movies
As an easy and painless way to research for a trip, I watch movies. As a bonus movies add drama and excitement ahead of your trip.
Lawrence of Arabia–Top of the list is the 1963 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture. It’s a must. Tells the true story of TE Lawrence, a British soldier dispatched to Arabia to find Prince Faisal. Then leads a group of warring tribes to run the Ottomans out of Arabia during the Arab Revolt.
Filmed in Jordan, the shots of the Wadi Rum desert are stunning. Then I downloaded the soundtrack and listened to it during my flight to Jordan.
The Martian–Filmed in 2015 and features Matt Damon
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Wadi Rum’s History
At a crossroads of civilization and trade, the Wadi Rum seems to stretch to the edge of the earth. The nomadic Bedouin people have traveled the desert on camels using the stars to navigate from nearly 10,000 years.
Now technology helps them with 4×4 Toyotas and smart phones for navigation but the old ways are still important. Most families live closer to schools during the year though kids learn to tend animals.
As the largest desert, or wadi in Jordan, it offered a natural barrier. Though T.E. Lawrence and his troops crossed the Wadi Rum on camels to push the Ottomans out of Aqaba during the Arab Revolt.
The Wadi Rum Protected Area earned its UNESCO World Hertiage Site designation in 2011.
Other Jordan Adventures for Your Trip
Jordan, a peaceful Kingdom in the Middle East offers families chances to see bucket list places like Petra and the Wadi Rum. Then add to it experiences like floating in the Dead Sea and riding a camel. It’s a destination favorite among travelers world-wide.
Prep and Pack Jordan
If it’s your first trip to Jordan, do some research for comfortable and enjoyable trip.
Tips from a TravelingMom
- Jordan is an adventurous destination best suited for middle-school kids and older.
- Visit Jordan during the spring or fall for the best weather.