Petra & Wadi Rum activities

Travel beyond Petra


RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL’S TOP ACTIVITIES

Cycle tours

Cycling is an amazing way to get closer to the landscapes surrounding Petra with a choice of distances making this a more inclusive alternative to trekking, horse and camel rides. Cycle rides to Little Petra, across Wadi Rum and through traditional Bedouin territories can all be undertaken on either tarmac or well tramped surfaces with rest stops for tea, fruit or coffee always presenting welcome refreshment. Most organised cycle tours allow travellers to bring their own saddle along for familiar comfort and although bikes don’t usually have panniers, lunches are generally carried by the support team which helps to lighten the load. As it’s impossible to cycle on sand (it has been tried so don’t bother), there are loads of tracks and trails to take you through Wadi Rum and beyond with the 40km descent to the Dead Sea from Madaba providing one of the best freewheel coasters ever invented. Cycling to locations like Jerash, Mount Nebo and Petra herself are all incredible experiences and all the more rewarding for having undertaken the journey by bike.

Trek the Bedouin trails

Many of the trails near Petra are only known to the local Bedouins and as you follow your guide across deserts and into rocky escarpments over the Great Rift Valley you’ll probably wish them to remain that way. Ruined villages, weathered sandstone and possible sightings of Ibex, but few other travellers, make trekking trails around Petra as unique as the city itself.
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Little Petra by camel

Why not go all ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ by setting off in search of the soot preserved paintings and fragile frescoes of Little Petra on the back of a camel. This former trading suburb is about 9km north of Wadi Musa and swaying back and forth on your trusty steed enables a much better view of the mountain goats and shepherds as well as a genuine reason to use that keffiyeh purchased on the King’s Highway. Due to the popularity of its big sister, Little Petra is often overlooked by casual tourists and arriving by camel provides a unique glimpse at the carved rooms, Roman columns and Greek-style inscriptions from a totally authentic perspective.

Visit a hammam
in Wadi Musa

After a day on the dusty trails of Petra and Wadi Rum there’s nothing better than a hammam to clean all those hard to reach nooks and crannies. With your modesty covered by a towel (women usually keep their underwear on) you’ll be washed, scrubbed and pummelled for around 15 minutes so if you’re not keen on getting soaped and soaked by a stranger, opt for self-service and forget it was ever mentioned.
Photo credits: [Cycle tours: Andrew Appleyard] [Trek the Bedouin trails: John Cummings] [Little Petra by camel: Guillaume Baviere] [Visit a hammam in wadi Musa: Sandra Vallaure]
Written by: Chris Owen
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