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Nature Reserves in Jordan

Ajloun
Under the authority of the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)
http://www.rscn.org.jo


There is a breeding programme here for the roe deer

Ajloun Reserve is open for visitors from the 1st of April until the 31st of October. This applies to the campsite, the Reserve is open to day visits, but it is a good idea to get in touch with the RSCN first; the reserve is tucked away and not easy at all to find. Please see the RSCN website for prices - see also the page on the Reserves here for my personal opinion!

For more information and booking, please do not hesitate to contact Ajloun Reserve at: Tel. 00962.2.6475672, fax. 00962.2.647.5673 Or RSCN Headquarters: Tel 00962.6.461.6523, 461.6483 fax 00962.6.463.3657, email tourism@rscn.org.jo

The Ajloun Reserve was established in 1988 and covers 13 square kms. It is located in the Ajloun Highlands around the long Ain Zubia Valley and is a Mediterranean hill landscape mainly with open woodland of oak and pistachio trees. It was established in 1988 in another area where a captive-breeding program for the roe deer was begun and was later moved 12 kilometers northwest. Hikers, campers and picnickers are welcomed. These woodlands are like the original forest which once covered most of northern Jordan and there is a remarkably similar area close to Petra, at Hisha in the hills near to Shobuk, which is also popular with local picnickers on Fridays.

The area has a long history of human settlements, due to its Mediterranean climate, dense forests, and fertile soil. This rich history is reflected in the many archaeological ruins scattered in the woodlands and surrounding villages. In the village of Tubna, you will find a Zeidanian mosque and meeting hall dating back to 1750 A.D.

In Zubia Village you will find an area known as "the monastery", which contains the remains of an old Byzantine church. You will also find houses and stables dating back several hundred years. Today, there are more than ten villages surrounding the Ajloun Reserve. Approximately 75% of the young people in the villages work for the army. Other villagers are involved in farming crops such as grapes, figs, and olives. The villages surrounding Ajloun are famous for their olives!

Many woodland animals inhabit the reserve, including badgers, foxes and a few fierce wild boars; and also many typical birds like the great tit, gold finch, turtle dove, hooded crow and jay. In spring it is a profusion of wild flowers, with drifts of colourful anemones and wild rock roses. The whole of the reserve was fenced to provide a safe release site for the locally extinct roe deer but the proximity of several villages and pockets of private land have prevented this release taking place. Wood cutting, illegal grazing and hunting continue to cause problems for management and RSCN has been seeking to establish an alternative woodland reserve in the area.

Two trails have been laid out :

  • Scenic Viewpoint Trail : this 1-2 hours, 2 km short trail leads from the campsite to the summit of a nearby hill overlooking the reserve. The area surrounding the trail is rich in wildflowers in the springtime. The summit is covered with many rocks, and you can scramble around to find the best view. It's an excellent spot for a picnic. Not far from the campsite you will find an old stone wine press. The return trip goes through an oak forest, past a gate, down a dirt path, and back up to the visitor's centre. Price for the guided tour 6JD/person - maximum 15 people.

  • Moderate Trails : Rockrose trail: 8km trail, taking 4-5 hours, passing across heavily wooded valleys and ridges, inside and outside the nature reserve forming a round trip loop from the campsite. This highly scenic trail passes through villages and olive orchards and offers beautiful panoramic views. It leads away from the campsite along the rim of a scenic wadi Orjan to large three clearings with scattered rocks. The trail continues around to the other side of the hill and back up to the visitor's centre. There are steep scrambles en-route that demand a reasonable level of fitness. (open from the 15th of March until the 15th of November). Price for the guided tour 15JD/person - maximum 15 people.

Sleeping in Ajloun Reserve

Ajloun Forest Lodge : The Ajloun Campsite is on the edge of the forest in the Ajloun Nature Reserve in the north of Jordan. It occupies a large grassy clearing, enclosed by oak, pistachio and strawberry trees and offers beautiful views of the reserve and beyond. On clear days, you can see the west bank and the snow- capping Jebel Sheikh in Lebanon. There are 10 four- person tented lodges available with small terraces and beds inside. Shared showers and toilets are available, nearby, along side the reserve centre, which offers a small restaurant, interpretation room, training room and the reserve management offices. The campsite is open mid March to mid November. Ajloun Campsite contains 10 tents (40 persons per night). Check in after 3:00 PM. Check out before 12:00 Noon.

The charges for sleeping go down from 20JD for 1 person to 15JD/person for 5 people or more.

 

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