Visitors may come to understand Wadi Rum’s alternative name, “The Valley of the Moon”, as an apt descriptor once they become acquainted with the area’s lunar landscape. Though the origin of its actual name is unknown, some believe that “Rum” comes from an Aramaic root meaning “high” or “elevated”. Such a connection is not unfathomable when viewing the enormous sandstone and granite rock formations that jut out of the sandy abyss below, leaving visitors in awe of this overwhelming desert landscape.
This mystical land has been inhabited intermittently since prehistoric times. Hunter-gatherers, pastoral peoples, farmers, and traders have all called Rum home at various points throughout history. Despite the presence of ancient freshwater springs, the harsh desert environment has seemed to repeatedly triumph over any permanent forms of human settlement. Today, the region is inhabited almost solely by Bedouin who have helped to make Rum a tourist destination.
These Bedouin serve as knowledgeable guides for visitors, enriching any experience in Wadi Rum by directing unfamiliar eyes to the historical treasures of Nabatean ruins and Thamudic petroglyphs that remind one of the ancient essence of the place.
Trekkers who enjoy the challenge of a difficult climb are well rewarded with amazing views at the summits of the three large mountains in the Rum region: Mount Um al-Dami, Jabal Rum, and Jabal Um Ishrin. From Mount Um al-Dami, it is even possible on a clear day to see all the way to the Mediterranean. Climbing is not the only option for recreation, though, as visitors are given the opportunity to enjoy a variety of other activities including camel and horseback riding, desert 4×4 safaris, camping under the stars, hiking, and other eco-adventure endeavors.