When you think of iconic figures in history, Lawrence of Arabia is likely one of the first names that comes to mind. Known for his bravery, strategic thinking, and pivotal role in the Arab Revolt during World War I, Lawrence of Arabia left an indelible mark on the world.
If you’re a fan of Lawrence of Arabia or simply interested in exploring the Middle East, you can follow in his footsteps on a private tour. Here’s what you can expect.
Step 1: Start in Jordan
Lawrence of Arabia spent a significant amount of time in Jordan, and it’s the perfect place to begin your tour. Start in the capital city of Amman and explore the ancient ruins of Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world.
Next, head to the desert landscape of Wadi Rum, where Lawrence spent many months during the Arab Revolt. Take a 4×4 tour of the desert, visit the Bedouin camps, and spend a night in a traditional Bedouin tent under the stars.
Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a stunning desert wilderness in southern Jordan. It’s famous for its otherworldly landscapes, red sand dunes, dramatic rock formations, and rich cultural history. Here are the top 10 things to do in Wadi Rum:
- Jeep Tours: Take a guided Jeep tour through the desert to explore the vast and varied landscapes of Wadi Rum. Local guides can show you the most iconic spots and provide insights into the area’s history and culture.
- Camel Riding: Experience the desert from a different perspective by going on a camel ride. It’s a slower but more immersive way to explore the dunes and canyons.
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: For a breathtaking aerial view of Wadi Rum’s unique terrain, consider taking a hot air balloon ride. This allows you to see the desert from above, offering a different perspective.
- Rock Climbing: Wadi Rum is a rock climber’s paradise with its sheer cliffs and unique rock formations. Climbers from around the world visit to tackle the challenging routes. You can also find options for beginners.
- Stargazing: Wadi Rum is a designated Dark Sky Reserve, making it an excellent location for stargazing. The clear desert skies are perfect for observing stars, planets, and constellations.
- Visit Lawrence’s Spring: Named after T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), this spring is a historic site in Wadi Rum. It’s said that Lawrence and his Bedouin allies used this spring during their campaigns in the area.
- Sleep in a Bedouin Camp: Experience the Bedouin way of life by staying in a traditional camp. You can choose between luxurious and more basic camps, both offering a chance to enjoy local cuisine and cultural activities.
- Sunset and Sunrise Views: Witness the stunning desert sunrise and sunset from strategic viewpoints like Lawrence’s House or any high sand dune. The colors and silhouettes against the desert backdrop are breathtaking.
- Visit the Burdah Rock Bridge: Hike to the Burdah Rock Bridge, one of the most famous natural arches in Wadi Rum. The trail is challenging but rewarding, and you’ll be treated to incredible views.
- Explore Ancient Petroglyphs: Wadi Rum has a rich history, and you can find ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings) that date back thousands of years. Some tours will take you to these sites, providing insight into the area’s past.
Step 2: Visit Aqaba
From Wadi Rum, travel to the coastal city of Aqaba, which was a key strategic location during the Arab Revolt. Visit the Aqaba Fortress, which was captured by Lawrence and his forces in 1917, and explore the city’s bustling markets and souks.
Step 3: Explore Petra
No visit to Jordan is complete without a trip to Petra, the ancient city carved into the rock. This UNESCO World Heritage site was a key location in Lawrence of Arabia’s story, as it served as a base for him and his forces during the Arab Revolt. Spend a full day exploring Petra’s stunning temples, tombs, and amphitheaters, and soak up the atmosphere of this unique and fascinating place.
Step 4: Head to Saudi Arabia
After exploring Jordan, it’s time to head to Saudi Arabia. This can be done via a direct flight or by crossing the border from Jordan. Once in Saudi Arabia, the first stop is the city of Tabuk, where Lawrence and his forces rested and regrouped during the Arab Revolt.
Step 5: Visit Riyadh
Next, travel to the capital city of Riyadh, where you can visit the National Museum and learn more about Saudi Arabia’s rich history and culture. Take a stroll through the vibrant Al-Batha’a Market and visit the Masmak Fortress, which was captured by Lawrence and his forces in 1914.
Step 6: Explore Al-Ula
Finally, no Lawrence of Arabia tour is complete without a visit to Al-Ula, an ancient city that was home to the Nabataeans and other ancient civilizations. Explore the city’s stunning rock formations, tombs, and temples, and imagine what it must have been like for Lawrence and his forces as they traversed the desert landscape.
A private tour of Lawrence of Arabia’s footsteps is an incredible way to explore the Middle East and learn more about one of history’s most iconic figures. With a knowledgeable guide and plenty of time to explore each location, you’re sure to come away with a deeper understanding of this fascinating region and its history.
In addition to the six steps mentioned above, there are also other destinations you can visit to follow the steps of Lawrence of Arabia. For example, you can visit the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia, where Lawrence made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1916. You can also visit the city of Ma’an in Jordan, which served as a base for Lawrence and his forces during the Arab Revolt.
When planning your Lawrence of Arabia tour, it’s important to work with a reputable tour operator who has experience in the region and can provide knowledgeable guides. This is particularly important if you’re planning to visit locations that are off the beaten path or require special permits.
In addition to following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, a private tour of the Middle East can also provide the opportunity to explore other historic and cultural destinations in the region. For example, you can visit the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq, the stunning mosques and palaces of Istanbul in Turkey, or the stunning historical landmarks of Iran.
Of course, it’s important to be aware of the current political situation in the Middle East and to take precautions to ensure your safety. Work with a tour operator who can provide up-to-date information and advice on the areas you plan to visit, and be prepared to be flexible with your itinerary in case of any unexpected changes.
A private tour following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia is a unique and fascinating way to explore the Middle East and learn more about its history and culture. With careful planning and the right tour operator, you can create an itinerary that takes you to the most significant locations associated with Lawrence and provides a deeper understanding of the region as a whole.