Aqaba Governorate:
Coral reefs and a red desert


Home to an unearthly photogenic red desert Wadi Rum, the vibrant city of Aqaba, and the pristine coral reefs of the Red Sea, the Aqaba Governorate has something for everyone.

Aqaba Governorate at a glance

  • Southernmost destination part of Jordan with UNESCO Mixed World Heritage Site – Wadi Rum protected area and the Red Sea

  • Hiking in Wadi Rum and passing the Jordan Trail

  • Mountain and Rock Climbing at Wadi Rum, including the highest mountain in Jordan – Jabal Umm Al-Dami

  • Experiencing Wadi Rum on horse or camel

  • Birdwatching at Aqaba Observatory – around 390 species, including a lot of migrating birds

  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Aqaba

  • Local experiences: Pottery making, sand bottle creation, weaving workshops and soap workshops.

Dana, Petra, Wadi Rum, Jordan, April 2019. Wadi Rum is a protected desert wilderness in southern Jordan. It features dramatic sandstone mountains like the many-domed Jebel Um Ishrin, and natural arches such as Burdah Rock Bridge. Many prehistoric inscriptions and carvings line rocky caverns and steep chasms, such as Khazali Canyon. The natural watering hole of Lawrence’s Spring is named after British soldier Lawrence of Arabia, who allegedly washed there. The Kingdom of Jordan is hosts one of the most accessible desert wildernesses of the Middle East, with a rich Bedouin culture. Photo by Frits Meyst /

One big movie set

Lawrence of Arabia, The Martian, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Aladdin, Red Planet, Passion in the Desert, Prometheus, Last Days on Mars, Dune. The list of blockbuster movies shot in the red desert of Wadi Rum goes on and on. The film industry is rather fond of this unique piece of the planet because the sand is red and almost surreal. 

Wadi Rum looks like an enormous red beach where towering sandstone and granite rock formations have been tossed haphazardly. Pustules resemble melting chocolate ice cream, dragons, or a gorilla, depending on how the rocks have eroded and how big your fantasy is. Wadi Rum lives up to its name. It means Valley of Airborne Sand and sandstorms are one of the adventures you may encounter here.

“Wadi Rum looks like an enormous red beach where towering sandstone and granite rock formations have been tossed haphazardly”

Wadi Rum images

UNESCO World Heritage Site 

The Aqaba Governorate has two major reasons to visit. Wadi Rum is one. The Red Sea is the other one. Both Wadi Rum and the Red Sea are not to be missed places for adventure; hiking, trekking, desert safaris, sand-boarding, jeep rides, camel rides, rock climbing, Bedouin camping experiences, and Hot Air Balloon rides. Wadi Rum offers it all. 

The Red Sea offers diving, snorkeling, shipwreck hunts, surfing, coral reef diving, and other water sports. All that, and Aqaba is the cherry on top with its beautiful beaches, beach clubs, and resorts. Aqaba is very different from other cities in Jordan. It has a historical side, be sure to visit the Aqaba Castle and the Aqaba Church, as well as an adventurous & blissful side. Which one will you discover first?

“Oh, and if you get hungry discovering Aqaba, try the Sayadia, the most renowned dish of Aqaba’s local cuisine with rice, local fish, and a delicious combination of spices”

Red Sea images

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