Vast, echoing and god-like: that’s how Lawrence of Arabia described Wadi Rum during his passage through the Mars-like valley. Its cinematic sandscapes are stars of the big screen – featured most recently in the films Dune, Star Wars: Episode IX, The Martian, and Aladdin. This area of southern Jordan is also prized for its archaeological finds; thousands of petroglyphs, rock carvings and temple remains testify to at least 12,000 years of human presence, adding to UNESCO’s reasons for listing it as a World Heritage Site in 2011.
You can explore Wadi Rum by 4x4, or – in true Bedouin fashion – by camel. Camp overnight to see how ‘the crimson sunset burns on its stupendous cliffs’, as T.E. Lawrence put it. You shan’t forget the stark contrast of the day’s golden sun, blue skies and red sands with the ink-black night, as it’s draped in the Milky Way and strafed by shooting stars.