Experiencing the magic of Wadi Rum from above

wadi-rum-hot-air-balloon-tour-photo Wadi Rum is a famous desert region in southern Jordan. Predominantly inhabited by Bedouins, some of whom still lead a nomadic lifestyle, Wadi Rum is a wondrous land of awe-inspiring sandstone and granite mountains which rise dramatically from the pink-ochre sands. T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, set up his base here in 1917 to assist the Arabs in their efforts to oust the Ottomans. These days, Wadi Rum is a magnet for hikers, climbers and visitors who wish to see the spectacular desert landscapes or experience staying in a Bedouin tent.

Seeing Wadi Rum from a hot-air balloon

The desert landscape, with its wavy sand dunes, towering cliffs and baffling rock formations, is the prime attraction and I highly recommend exploring the desert on a 4×4 jeep tour or on an adventure hike with a guide. In addition, I would, without any hesitation, recommend going on a hot-air balloon tour at sunrise; in my book, the most spectacular, mind-blowing and magical experience in Wadi Rum. Scroll down to view my photo essay of this amazing tour and you’ll see why!

The tour starts in the early hours of the morning, just before sunrise. Guests are taken in jeeps to a site (which site depends on the direction of the wind) where the balloon is rolled out. As we waited for the crew to prepare the balloon, we were treated to a simply magical sunrise.

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A magical sunrise over Wadi Rum

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The balloon was rolled out just as the sun appeared

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Long shadows as the sun rose

Large fans and the burner were used to inflate the balloon while the basket was anchored to the pick-up truck.

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Getting the balloon up

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And we're almost ready to go!

With the balloon firmly anchored to the pick-up truck, we scrambled into the basket which was surprisingly spacious, with high walls (there was no way anyone would fall out!). There were sixteen of us, visitors from all corners of the world, and we chatted excitedly as the captain made the final preparations. I got to stand with the captain in the middle of the basket right under the burners. And that’s the best place to be! He gave me a cap to protect my head from the heat of the burners and told me that I could move around freely. Awesome!

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The burners on full blast!

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And UP we went!

An unforgettable desert panorama

The balloon rose quickly to a height of 3,000 feet and I was stunned! The scenery that unfolded was absolutely breathtaking! Strangely enough, I didn’t experience any fear (like I usually would from great heights). The surreal landscapes below and the soft breeze in my face kept me occupied I guess and I felt perfectly safe.

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The wondrous Wadi Rum desert panorama quickly unfurled

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The wavy dunes were a sight to behold

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The dunes and the mountains

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The mountains and the colours of Wadi Rum

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The spectacular colours of the dunes

The hot-air balloon tour lasted slightly over an hour and judging by the elated look on everyone’s faces, I think everyone had the experience of a lifetime. I most certainly did!

The hot-air balloon tours over Wadi Rum are offered by Royal Aero Sports. This company also offers microlight and ultralight aircraft flights over the desert. If you’re visiting Wadi Rum, the hot-air balloon flight should be on your to-do list! For sure!

Note: a big thank you goes to the Jordan Tourism Board for hosting me.

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14 Responses to “Experiencing the magic of Wadi Rum from above”

  1. velvet 12/06/2012 2:25 pm
    #

    Hi Jan Nel,

    I suggest getting in touch with Royal Aero tours who conduct the balloon tours. I recommend booking in advance as you don’t want to be disappointed if you’re there for a limited time. Royal Aero will come pick you up at your camp – let them know where you’re staying. I believe the balloon ride costs something like 130 dinars.

    Have a great time in Jordan!

    Best regards,
    Keith

  2. jan Nel 12/06/2012 2:04 pm
    #

    Hi

    We are a tour group that will be sleeping at Jacks Camp and I would like to find out if it would be possible to take a baloon ride/ what does it cost and do we have to book in advance. Will we be able to travel from jacks camp in time for the ballon ride?

    regards
    jan Nel

  3. velvet 05/02/2012 2:37 pm
    #

    Hi Nina,
    Thanks for your comment. The balloon tour costs JD 130 per person for a ride of about an hour. Hope this helps.
    Enjoy Jordan!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  4. Nina 03/02/2012 3:43 pm
    #

    Hey Keith!
    This are great photos and I am going to Jordan in April. Eversince i saw these photos on your blog i defintitely want to include balloon ride. Have contacted Royal Aero Sports, but noone replied to my email.. Do you knoe how much is the cost ?

  5. velvet 22/10/2011 10:31 am
    #

    Thanks Rob! You’ll love it there. :-)

  6. rob hermans 22/10/2011 10:21 am
    #

    great article Keith, Jordan here we come!

  7. Nancy & Shawn Power 22/10/2011 2:00 am
    #

    Oh Wow Keith!

    Those pics are “off the hook” amazing!

    You know, we’ve been seriously considering doing that. In a few weeks we’ll be in Phoenix and then Sedona, any of those you would suggest?

    Nancy & Shawn

  8. car gps 21/10/2011 10:11 am
    #

    Gorgeous! what a nice pics.

  9. velvet 20/10/2011 9:53 am
    #

    Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for your comment. To be honest, the whole experience of being up in the hot-air balloon and seeing those amazing scenes was pretty unreal! :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  10. Kelly P 19/10/2011 9:08 pm
    #

    Gorgeous! That sunrise shot is unreal.

  11. Maria 19/10/2011 1:51 pm
    #

    I’ve done this in the US and the most surprising element was that as we slowly descended dogs would not only see us but run their fences excitedly barking. I was surprised they noticed us at all.

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