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.
A hot-air balloon flight over Wadi Rum
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.
Large fans and the burner were used to inflate the balloon while the basket was anchored to the pick-up truck.
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!
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.
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.