EXPLORE Wadi Rum Protected Area with this slideshow, check the location map and get all the facts and information below.

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Map showing the location of Wadi Rum Protected Area World Heritage Site in JordanFactfile

Website Category: Deserts

Area: 742 km2

Inscribed: 2011

Criteria:

  • Exceptional natural phenomenon (vii);
  • Outstanding natural beauty (vii);
  • Cultural criteria (iii, v)

Location and Values: Wadi Rum Protected Area is located in southern Jordan, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. It encompasses an area of spectacular desert landscapes, with sand-filled wadis bounded by massive towering cliffs with narrow gorges, natural arches and other geological features. It is a mixed site, occupied by Bedouin communities, where archaeological remains, petroglyphs and inscriptions provide a remarkable record of 12,000 years of human development.

Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of Wadi Rum Protected Area is ‘good with some concerns’. The remote and mountainous nature of much of Wadi Rum has made it relatively inaccessible and therefore naturally protected until recently. Its scenic values (which justify its World Heritage Listing) are nevertheless threatened to some extent by tourism activities including poorly regulated off road driving, construction of illegal campsites and other tourism infrastructure, and vegetation damage by visitors. The growing tourism industry and associated infrastructure needs to be carefully planned and managed to ensure sustainable benefits for local Bedouin communities. More broadly, the area’s biodiversity and other values (not specifically recognized in the world heritage listing) are also under some degree of threat from illegal hunting, wood fuel collection and pastoral grazing by local communities. In the longer term, the flora and fauna may also be impacted by climate change, while unsustainable extraction of water from a fossil aquifer under the site may affect the area.

Links:
Google Earth
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description
Birdlife IBA

Slideshow description

Images of Wadi Rum Protected Area World Heritage Site in Jordan

The slideshow ‘tells the story’ of Wadi Rum Protected Area with a portfolio of photos by Maja and Antonio Vasilijević from a visit in June 2009.  They illustrate the landscape and geological features of this outstanding place, together with some of the activities of the resident Bedouin communities.

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