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See the RSCN website at www.rscn.org.jo

WADI RUM PAGES

JORDAN OUT OF DOORS

NATURE RESERVES

     Dana

     Wadi Mujib
     Ajloun

     Azraq and Shaumar

Trekking in Jordan
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Two Bedouin friends and their camels

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A walk around Petra

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Some Bedouin customs
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THE MIDDLE EAST
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Nature Reserves in Jordan

Wild Jordan
and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
http://www.rscn.org.jo


The Nature Reserves of Jordan
This is a "thumbnail" image. Click on it for an enlarged version

See separate pages for Ajloun, Azraq, Dana, Shaumari and Wadi Mujib

I should like to express my appreciation of the help given to me by the RSCN in preparing these pages. My (numerous) questions addressed to tourism@rscn.org.jo were answered immediately and in full, and no effort was spared to find an answer not immediately available. Their website at http://www.rscn.org.jo is excellent, and most of the information anybody can want is supplied on it.

Their contact numbers are Tel: +962.6.461.6523/6483 Fax: +962.6. 463.3657/6523 email given above

There are at present six nature reserves in Jordan organised and managed by The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). They have recently launched a national program to establish further protected areas in Jordan, to join the six nature reserves already operational in the country. The suggested new areas are the Yarmouk River gorge north of Umm Qais, the Burqu desert Mudflats in the north-east, the Feifa Area along the south east Dead Sea coast with its freshwater spring and oases full of subtropical vegetation, and the Jordan River gorge north of the Dead Sea, representing one of the last remaining natural stretches of the Jordan River that has been protected for decades, and thus still has indigenous wildlife such as the Syrian wolf.

Prices

This paragraph should really be written in red! The entrance fees and all prices to the Nature Reserves are given on the Wild Jordan website. However you need to scroll right down to the bottom of the list to see that "taxes are not included".

I quote :

  • Above rates are exclusive of government sales tax. Rates and sales tax are subject to change without a prior notice.
  • The government sales tax is 8% on accommodation, 16% on all other services.

Now while I could accept the virtual increase of 16% on all entrance fees - and this is not negligible - I fail utterly to understand why this entrance fee + tax is also applied to the restaurant attached to the Reserve. I visited Ajloun recently with a couple of older people who did not wish to hike but who were looking forward to sitting peacefully and looking over the forest. We would have accepted a reasonable cover charge, but to expect people to pay the entrance fee (8.12JD for non-Jordanians) on top of the normal bill seems perilously close to a ripoff. I believe they would do better to increase the price of beverages etc and give up the entrance fee in these circumstances!

Wild Jordan

The RSCN has adopted a logo "Wild Jordan" and now has a new office with this name in a most attractive building on Rainbow Street on Jebel Amman. It shares this with the Jordan River Foundation, Queen Rania's particular charity (see www.jordanriver.jo). It is built out over the fruit and vegetable market area immediately underneath, a bit dizzying to look straight down, mind you, but with a great view over the Citadel on Jebel al Qal'a and towards the huge flag flying from the Raghadan Palace (this flag covers more than an acre when stretched on the ground!). There is a shop and also a good coffee shop there - you can see from the right hand photo that I didn't get too close to the edge of the balcony. But it is nevertheless a very pleasant place to sit. The restaurant there isn't cheap.

There is also an exhibition gallery and a counter where you can find leaflets and general information. If you need more detailed information, the Ecotourism Unit is welcoming, friendly and efficient. The switchboard number of "Wild Jordan" is +962.6.463.3589 and the direct numbers to the Ecotourism Unit include +962.6.461.6523/6483 email tourism@rscn.org.jo

In these pages I am talking essentially about five of the existing reserves which include two sites that I have already mentioned in the website - Wadi Mujib and Dana. The sixth site, the desert region of Wadi Rum in south Jordan, has been passed to the control of the Aqaba Economic Zone for everyday running and you can find information about it on the Wadi Rum pages here.

As usual I have found too much to say for just one web page, so you will find material about the three smaller and more specialized reserves on a separate page.

Besides Wadi Rum, the present Nature Reserves are :

  • Dana Nature Reserve: a system of Wadis and mountains with spectacular wildlife.
  • The Mujib Reserve, the deep gorge that flows from the Jordanian highland to the lowest spot on earth at the Dead Sea.
  • The Azraq Wetlands Reserve, a marsh and lake area that attracts migrating birds from Asia and Africa.

  • The Shaumari Reserve with its herds of gazelles, oryx, ostriches, and other indigenous animal species.
  • The Ajloun Reserve in north West Jordan,

One of the big problems for a tourist wishing to visit any of these Reserves is that they are not well served by public transport. It is virtually essential to have a car if you are considering going to any of them. They are, partly for this reason, largely neglected by most tourists except of course those particularly interested in nature studies. The other reason is that few tourists have the time to look at less well known sites. But these Nature Reserves are a part of Jordan's heritage and are there if anybody should wish to visit them. They are a must for naturalists and bird watchers. The two reserves treated here are particularly interesting for hikers and trekkers.

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