Bird Watching Lagoons

 

Jordan is home to migrating birds because of its location north of the Hijaz desert and alongside the North Africa region (Egypt) which makes it a bridge between the two continents of Asia and Africa, in addition to the variety in topography and weather. The Aqaba city, with its unique location between the Sinai desert and the Middle East, has become an oasis where migrating birds rest during their long journey.

So, the Jordanian Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) decided in 2003 to establish lagoons for bird watching at the natural waste water purification plant in cooperation between the Company and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone authority. It was agreed to supply the facultative and maturation ponds, as well as the evaporation ponds with water around the year to enable them to receive migrating birds.

The bird lagoons are magnificent sites that attract many birdwatchers from around the world in addition to school students, especially during periods of migration. These lagoons have formed an ecological model that combines preserving unique bird species and using the tanks supplied with the reclaimed water by Aqaba Water.

There are more than 150 types of bird in these lagoons in addition to 90 migrating species. They include little grebe, the gray heron, the squacco heron, black stork and the white stork.

This strategic location has provided a chance to watch birds during migration as follows:

  • In spring, the birds take a resting period or a temporary stop in Aqaba city after a long journey of 2000 km over the African desert and the Desert Mountains of Sinai.
  • In autumn, migrating birds come from Europe. Aqaba is the last resting station where the birds get a supply of food and water in preparation of the long journey across the desert.

 

Nature Reserves

 

Dana Biosphere Reserve : The Rift Valley Spectacular 

A series of spectacular mountains and wadis that extend from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba. Stay overnight in any of three unique sites, experience exciting guided and self guided hikes and trails, and enjoy the warmth of Dana's local communities.

Azraq Wetland Reserve : Oasis in the Eastern Desert

Your perfect choice for bird watching, this desert jewel contains several pools, a seasonally flooded marshland and a large mudflat, and is an important stop for migratory birds on the African-Eurasian flyway. This area is rich in cultural history and conservational value.

Mujib Nature Reserve : The Lowest Reserve on Earth

Dramatic narrow canyons & fast flowing rivers provide the perfect recipe for a hiking adventure. With the area’s unexpected richness of wildlife, it is home to the endangered Nubian Ibex.

Ajloun Forest Reserve : The Oak Forest Escape

Enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate while looking out over rolling hills covered by dense woodlands of evergreen oak, carob, and wild strawberry trees. The area’s rich history is reflected in the many archaeological ruins scattered in the woodlands and surrounding villages, which can be explored through a series of adventurous hikes. Kick back and relax in our tented bungalows or cozy cabins, or enjoy some of the finest cuisine Ajloun has to offer.

Shaumari Wildlife Reserve : Home of the Arabian Oryx 

As the first wildlife reserve in Jordan, it provides a safe haven for one of the most endangered animals in the world, the Arabian Oryx. Enjoy a night-time safari, where you might also spot some other locally extinct desert animals, including the Persian Onager, the Goitered Gazelle, and Ostrich.

Dibeen Forest Reserve

This unique pine-oak forest located in the north of Jordan supports many locally and globally endangered species. Its beautiful wilderness of rolling hills and deep wadis attracts people from across the kingdom to stroll along its soothing woodland trails.

 

Trekking & Hiking in Jordan

 

Roe Deer Trail


Guided or self-guided

Grade: Easy

Distance: 2 km


Time: Less than 1 hour


Group size: 4-18 people

 

Description:

This short circular trail starts at the campsite and offers great views over the reserve. Not far from the campsite you will find an old stone wine press. Early in the morning, you may be lucky enough to see Roe deer before you return to the visitor center.

 

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Soap House Trail

Guided only

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 6-7 km

Time: 2-3 hours


Group size: 4-18 people


Description:

This trail begins at the Reserve's Visitor Center and takes you to the Soap House in the neighboring village of Orjan. On the way, you will hike through thick, healthy woodlands filled with oak, pistachio, and oriental strawberry trees. Take a short detour to view a ruined wine press before you pass one of the oldest strawberry trees in the Reserve on your way down into the valley. The trail climbs to 1100m above sea level at Eagle's View Point, and then descends to the Soap House where local women follow the traditional process of making Orjan pure olive soap.


* You can continue walking The Houses Trail or the Village Tour once you have reached The Soap House

 

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The Houses Trail

Guided only

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 7-8 km past Soap House

Time: 3-4 hours

Group size: 4-12 people

Description:

This trail takes you through a tour of Ajloun’s popular three houses; The Soap House and The Biscuit House in Orjan village and the House of Calligraphy in Rasun village. From the Eagle’s View Point you can descend towards the House of Calligraphy, then wind your way to the other two houses. An alternative route takes you first from the Soap House. At the House of Calligraphy, you can take the first steps towards learning how to write some Arabic words. At The Biscuit House, you can visit the workshop where Tasali Jordanian delights are created.

 

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Orjan Village Tour

Guided only

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 12 km

Time: 6 hours

Group size: 4-18 people

Description:

continuing from the Soap House, this tour takes you through wooded valleys to the lush green orchards of Orjan village, giving you the chance to discover the rural lifestyle of the region. A poplar-lined spring provides a wonderful contrast to the arid mountains of the previous stages of the trail. As you hike, note the dramatic rock walls, old water mills once used by local people to grind their seeds and the hollow walnut tree. Enjoy a delicious traditional meal in an orchard of fig, pomegranate, apple and apricot trees.


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Rockrose Trail

Guided only

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 8 km

Time: 3-4 hours

Group size: 4-18 people

Requirements: Reasonable level of fitness


Description:

Named for the flowers that can be seen around the trail every spring, this hiking loop passes through thick woodlands, orchards, farms and villages in and around the reserve. It offers beautiful views of the West Bank, Syria, and the Jordanian countryside. About halfway through the hike, observe the wine and olive press from the Byzantine and Roman eras, and just before reaching the end of the trail, rest in the shade of a large Maloul tree. Each season has different vegetation to enjoy.

The first half of the trail is uphill and the second half is downhill; there are steep scrambles enroutethat demand a reasonable level of fitness.


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The Prophet’s Trail

Guided only

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 8.5 km

Time: 4 hours

Group size: 4-18 people

Description:

This hike takes you from Ajloun Forest Reserve Visitor Center to Mar Elias, the ruins of one of Jordan'soldest churches. It is named for the Prophet Elias, or Elijah, to whom Mar Elias is dedicated. The trailleads through fig and pear orchards, amongst forests of oak and oriental strawberry trees. The stonewalls that crisscross the valley guard the farmers' crops inside from both the winter rains and wild boar. Relax in the shade with a glass of tea before climbing to the hilltop ruins, which provide sweeping views of the surrounding area. The hike also includes a locally prepared picnic lunch near the ruins.

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Ajloun Castle Trail

Guided only (Donkey assisted)

Grade: Difficult

Distance: 18 km

Time: Full Day

Group size: 4-18 people

Description:

Once you have reached Mar Elias, you have the option of continuing on this challenging trail, which takes you by small farm house and their adjacent orchards on your way to Ajloun Castle, built between AD 1184-1188 by Salahadin's nephew. In the first section of the trail you can enjoy views of the West Bank and Syria, before you descend into a wooded valley. The final difficult uphill is rewarded by the incredible castle and the marvelous views that accompany it. The hike also includes a locally prepared picnic lunch.



 

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