Wadi Rum Trail Organisation (WRTO)
The Wadi Rum Trail is the newest, long-distance hiking route in Jordan and the first project of its kind to centre squarely on the world-famous deserts of Wadi Rum. It connects old trade, travel, shepherd, hunting and Hajj routes into a single 120km, 10 day circuit that seeks to show - step-by-step, kilometre-by-kilometre and across multiple different regions - the best of its homeland to the world. As with its sister projects the Sinai Trail and Red Sea Mountain Trail in Egypt the Wadi Rum Trail was not designed to be hiked independently, but to be walked with Bedouin guides, camels and support. It is in this way it transcends the status of a simple path, becoming more a living space in which the intangible treasures of the region's age old Bedouin knowledge, wisdom and folklore can be best discovered. The Wadi Rum Trail was developed over three years starting in 2020, with Bedouin families from Wadi Rum leading the trail scouting process and taking a leading role in shaping the project into what it is in collaboration with a small group of volunteers from other parts of the world. The trail does not belong to any one person, family or tribe in Wadi Rum; it is a project for its region, upon which every Bedouin operator from the community of Wadi Rum Village has an equal right to work. The Wadi Rum Trail Organisation (WRTO) is a voluntary organisation that oversaw the development of the trail and which manages everything to do with the route today; it produces public resources such as maps, guides and other information and works to raise a wider awareness about the project and Wadi Rum's tourism in general. The WRTO can respond to any questions about the route and will integrate the feedback of hikers, guides and others into making the project the best it can be for Wadi Rum.
Sabbah Eid is a Bedouin elder from the Zalabia clan of the Anaza tribe. Born in the deserts of Wadi Rum, he grew up in a family practising a traditional mobile way of life before moving to Aqaba in his teens to study. He became the first Bedouin from Wadi Rum to enter medical school in Amman before returning to work in a small clinic. Feeling pulled back to the mountains, he left his medical career in the 1980s to work with Tony Howard and some of Europe's other leading climbers in developing Wadi Rum's nascent rock climbing scene. A highly trained and experienced climbing guide with a deep knowledge of his region, widely respected in his community - with his contribution to Jordan's tourism once recognised and commended by King Hussein - Sabbah played a major role in scouting the Wadi Rum Trail and shaping it into the project it is today.
Awda Krayyim is a tribesman of the Anaza, who belongs to its Zalabia clan. The son of Sheikh Krayyim, Awda is one of Wadi Rum's leaders who takes an active role in representing its Bedouin community in different spaces in Jordan today. He was born in the deserts of Wadi Rum and was one of the region's finest camel handlers when young, participating in many races across the region. Awda belongs to the first generation of Wadi Rum's Bedouin to grow up with tourism and has seen it change from the small, grassroots industry it was in the 1980s to the bigger mass market kind of tourism it has become today. He has spent almost his whole life involved in tourism in one way or another and he continues to work in it today. A founder of the Wadi Rum Trail, he helps represent the project and oversee its development with other Bedouin of the region today.
Di Taylor, Founder
In her teens, Di Taylor was in the same Peak District climbing club as Tony. They started climbing and trekking together in the late 1970s, in the UK and Europe and across North Africa, from Morocco to Ethiopia and also in Madagascar, India and Nepal. Di worked at Troll as a designer involved in lightweight clothing, rucksacks and harnesses, and was on the first exploratory climbing visit to Wadi Rum in 1984, along with all subsequent visits to Jordan. She was with Tony exploring Jordan’s often dramatic canyons and caves and contributed to their jointly-written guidebooks covering the whole of Jordan. In 2012, Tony and Di were married in the Shetland Islands but still return annually to Jordan and were invited to join the inaugural thru-hike of the Jordan Trail in 2017. They live together on the moors of northern England, where they grew up.
Sheikh Krayyim Eid
Sheikh Krayyim Abu Awda is the leader of the Anaza tribe's Zalabia clan in Wadi Rum, as his father Sheikh Eid Bin Auwad was before him. Born in the 1950s, he grew up moving all over the Hisma - the bigger sandstone desert of which Wadi Rum is just a small part - and is from the Awadiyeen, to whom some of Wadi Rum's best climbers once belonged. Sheikh Krayyim was once a well-known climber in the Bedouin community, free-soloing routes all over the mountains and aiding the explorations of foreign climbers that arrived in the 1980s. As with many Bedouin elders, he remains deeply attached to the desert, typically making only short visits to Wadi Rum Village. Known for his deep knowledge of Wadi Rum's landscapes, history and heritage, Sheikh Krayyim's support was important in developing the Wadi Rum Trail and he is one of its founders today.
Tony Howard is known for his worldwide exploratory climbs and treks. In 1965, the year he led the first British ascent of Norway's notorious unclimbed Troll Wall, he co-founded the climbing company Troll and conceived the climbing sit-harness design now in universal use around the world. His exploratory adventures extend from the Arctic to Antarctic and from the Yukon to Nagaland in NE India. In 1984 he and other climbing friends discovered and explored the climbing potential of Wadi Rum sponsored by Jordan's Tourism Ministry. With Bedouin advice, they pioneered Rum’s now world famous climbing. Their annual explorations resulted in guidebooks to Wadi Rum, Jordan, and North Jordan, giving them the idea for what became the Jordan Trail. His contribution to Jordan's adventure tourism is unparalleled and he is a founder of the Wadi Rum Trail.
Ben Hoffler has played a supporting role with communities creating trail projects across the Middle East for over a decade. Author of Trailblazer's Sinai: The Trekking Guide he arrived in the region 15 years ago from the UK and has been based here ever since. He has walked with Bedouin tribes all over the region and volunteers as much time as he can to raising a wider awreness of the depth, beauty and ongoing value of their cultural heritage and the way traditional knowledge and skills are being increasingly lost today. He believes tourism can play an important role keeping at least parts of this heritage relevant and alive in new ways for our times. He is currently based a short way south of Wadi Rum in northern Saudi Arabia, where he is working on a set of guidebooks to hiking trails set to launch in the region within the next year.