Wadi Rum is one of the most spectacular natural environments in the Middle East, a sandy desert with giant granite and sandstone mountains rising up to 800 metres from the desert floor. Famed for its natural beauty, Wadi Rum also has a special historical significance as the place from where Lawrence of Arabia planned his assault on Aqaba during the First World War.
Our Bedouin guide Mteer takes us to the place where Lawrence is said to have stayed in Wadi Rum. It is a piece of desert like any other really, with a crumbling stone wall to ‘prove’ that Lawrence spent time here. The source that springs in one of the rock faces nearby has also been renamed as Lawrence’s Spring. With a bit of imagination I can see Lawrence hunched around a campfire with a group of Bedouin fighters, planning their assault on the Turks.
Mteer invites us to drink tea with his family who live in a couple of tents in Wadi Rum. His father has three wives and Mteer has 25 brothers and sisters, most of whom work as guides in Wadi Rum. The family invites us to stay the night with them, but unfortunately our schedule is too packed and we have to pass on the generous offer.
Mteer leads the way as we climb up the rocks above the camp. At a height of about 50 metres we have a magical view of the sunset which bathes the rocks in red light.
It is dark when we drive back to the edge of the Wadi Rum nature reserve. We say our goodbyes to Mteer who makes us promise to come back and stay longer next time. It will be an honour!