Exactly a year ago we wrote a blog called ‘Independent travellers: 2015 is the year to visit Jordan!’. Only days before writing that blog we learn about the horrific murder on our pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh in Syria. We instantly knew that it was essential to spread the news that Jordan is a safe country. We hoped to keep people from postponing their holiday plans for Jordan. We did what we could to stop the dropping number of tourist. Still, the numbers drop again. And this time more than the years before. Only in autumn, we started to welcome more people to Wadi Rum. Of course, we hope that the number of tourists visiting our country and especially our beautiful desert will rise in this year. Therefore we say, visit Jordan now!
Last year we shared our top 7 gems in Jordan. We ended number 7 with a number of places. Places that are all well worth a visit. In this blog we share some more information about these places.
Umm Qais: Gadara and the Golan
Umm Qais is located about 90 kilometres northwest of Amman. It is a windswept city in the far northwest corner of Jordan. The main attraction is the ruïn city of the biblical Gadara. It is far less complete than Jerash. Nonetheless, it is appealing. In spring you can enjoy the wildflowers blooming. From just out site you can watch over the famous Golan Heights and Lake Tiberias.
Ajloun: castle and forest
Ajloun is located about 75 kilometres northwest of Amman. Whether you are more into culture or nature, Ajloun offers something for everybody. Visit Qala’at ar-Rabad, better known as Ajloun castle. Learn about its long and interesting history and enjoy the fantastic views over the surrounding valleys. Ajloun Forest Reserve a small (13 sq km) reserve which was established by the Royal Society for The Conservation of Nature, RSCN, to protect this rare woodland with oak, carob, pistachio, and strawberry trees. RSCN offers seven hikes between 2 and 18 kilometres in this area.
Azraq: castle, wetland and wildlife reserve
Azraq is located about 100 kilometres east of Amman. Qasr al-Azraq is the former headquarter of the famous British army officer Lawrence of Arabia. Visit the castle and imagine how Lawrence lived here in the winter of 1917-1918. Close by is the small Azraq wetland reserve. The wetland is an excellent place for birdwatchers. South of Azraq you can find the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve. It is home to some of the rarest species of animals in the Middle East. Such as the Orxy, species of Gazelles, and the Persian Onagers. Contact RSCN to find out if the reserve reopened yet.
Madaba: mosaics and Mount Nebo
Madaba is located about 30 kilometres southwest of Amman. It is best known for its beautiful Byzantine mosaics. Visit the sixth-century mosaic map of the Holy land in St. George Church. Walk through the narrow streets with Ottoman stone houses and visit museums containing many more beautiful mosaics. A side trip to Mount Nebo takes you to the place where Moses looked out over the Promised Land. Enjoy the stunning views as the sun sets.
Wadi Mujib: a hike on the wild side!
Wadi Mujib is located about 125 kilometres southwest of Amman. If you are looking for adventure or wildlife Wadi Mujib is one of the places to be. This canyon is located 2 kilometres south of Dhiban is the lowest reserve on earth. It is believed to be the boundary between biblical Moab an Ammon. There are 4 RSCN trails. If you love canyoning and adventure and you definitely should try one of the three water trails. The dry trail is an excellent choice for wildlife lovers. Wadi Mujib is also an excellent place for birdwatching. Enjoy the sight of eagles, kestrels and vultures floating around on rising thermals.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve is located about 190 kilometres south of Amman. It is a spectacular wilderness area. Its beauty is staggering. Its history is rich. And the biodiversity is terrific with four bio-geographical zones. Dana is home to 800 species of plant and 450 species of animals. Many short trails can be explored without a guide. But you can also choose for a full day guided hike. It is an excellent place for birdwatcher and those who like canyoning.
Shobak castle is located about 210 kilometres south of Amman. Crusader king Baldwin I built this castle at the beginning of the 12th century. The beautifully carve external calligraphic inscriptions date back to the end of the 13th century. The gatekeeper can show you around and tell the legendary story about the 375 steps down into the heart of the hill that leads to the water supply. Enjoy the fabulous valley views. The nicely shaped yellow mountains with the typical lines seem to be designed by an artist.
Eastern desert castles
The Eastern desert castles are located between Amman and Azraq. Actually, they are not castles but bathhouses, lodges and palaces. They form an impressive collection of early Islamic architecture. On a day tour from Amman, you can visit Qasr al-Hallabat, Hammam as-Sarah, Qusayr Amra, Qsar Kharana. Wander on the sites, explore corridors, admire frescos, get surprised by both beauty and architecture and enjoy wonderful views. For sure it will be a memorable day.
Ahlan wa sahlan, welcome to Jordan!
Once again we would like to invite you to come and visit Jordan now and experience our beautiful country, our famous hospitality and excellent food. On our tour pages, you can find itineraries for your stay in Wadi Rum desert. Want to do something different? Send us an email. We are more than happy to prepare you a tailored program.