Monthly Archives: December 2006
We were on our way to the Dana Biosphere reserve since 7:30 AM; the desert highway kept me thinking of how Jordan has few natural resources (except phosphate) and how tourism has become a main component to the kingdom’s economy. I thought of how vast the desert was, and how people love to spend a day by the sea, when I’d rather spend a day exploring the desert! It has always been a fascinating mystery to me and all through the way Zaid kept on telling me & Nabil “if you think you have loyalty to your job, wait until you experience Dana” Our plan was to visit Dana Reserve, hike to Rummana Campsite, spend the night at the Dana guest house, visit the Feynan eco-lodge the next day and on our way back to Amman stopover the Mujib reserve to do a short hike, and then home sweet home. I was extremely excited; it was my first time to visit any of RSCN’s reserves.
We reached a point were it looked like we were walking on the edge of a cliff, it was extremely exciting, and at that point the mountain scenery around us was mind blowing, the colours, the altitudes, the most amazing landscape, I was astonished, Nabil kept on saying “I can’t believe my eyes” and Zaid was smiling and telling us about the times that he came here for hikes. It was incredible; at one point we all walked to a high flat rock and sat there for twenty minutes. It was so refreshing the wind could revive a soul. The air was so fresh; I just wanted to sleep there. The calmness and smell of natureâ€¦ we were trucked by the beauty of Dana; nature seemed to be in perfect harmony with everything around it.
Lunch was delicious; a variety of mouthwatering traditional salads, and the main dish was vegetable rice with grilled chicken. We all ate and moved to the Bedouin tent were we again had the traditional Dana tea, it was by far the best cup of tea I had in my whole life. I enjoyed every sip!
And then at nine PM we had the tasty Dana tea again, I was ready to sleep at that point, my body was so relaxed, I felt like I’ve been away from Amman for days. The night breeze was soothing, and the tranquil silence was simply ideal!
Zaid suggested going to the Dana Hotel, a very nice locally managed hotel in the middle of the Dana village to have some argeeleh, we walked to the village it was so peaceful and the warmth of the Cafe’s owner was incredible, he offered us some tea, and we stayed there and talked to the locals for almost two hours. When we asked for our bill the owner told us that brothers don’t pay money to each other, totally disagreeing of us paying our bill made me think of how all the locals I met today were generous, warm and hospitable.
Off we went for a sweet good night sleep…
I will update you with the rest of the trip… it was an experience to remember…
It was almost 5 years ago when I first heard of and visited Wadi Mujib. Having heard that exploring the Wadi is quite an adventure but never having visited it myself, I convinced a friend of mine to join me on an expedition to discover Wadi Mujib for ourselves. However I had no idea that at the end of the winter season’s rains the waters in Wadi Mujib would be quite high so I never expected to have to swim! So when I went to go and pick up my friend to go to Wadi Mujib I wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion. Sure, I wore Bermuda shorts and a t-shirt but I also wore heavy hiking boots that wouldn’t help in keeping me afloat!
Also special thanks go to Mohammed Bayatsi for providing these nice photos.
Special thanks to Mohammed Bayatsi and his great team! The kids were amazingly well-trained… well done!!
We believe that such activities are essential to our kids in Jordan. It is what makes them love their environment, know how to enjoy it, respect it and protect it.
I was fasting at the time and starving… couldn’t think clearly… couldn’t wait around any longer! I decided to walk towards Jerash, 15 km south-west from the highway. I’m not sure what I was thinking, I just started walking. After about 2km I heard footsteps behind me, only to look back and find another seven of my fellow bus passengers right behind me. I realized then that they were following me; they thought that I knew the way when I actually had no clue. I was just following a water stream through the fields so I kept following the stream and they kept on following me. It was a pleasant enough walk; it was winter time but not so cold although the soil was a bit muddy.
After one and a half hours we finally arrived at a village setting (it was actually a nursery or farm) hungry, thirsty and muddy. Another guy and I dared to knock on a door which was answered by a gentleman at which point I said “ehna dakhleen ala Allah ow aleik” – meaning “in God’s name we are asking for your help” or “please offer us Iftaar!” The man was still welcoming after realizing that there were six more people with us and invited us all into his home.
Tens of people were in that house; women, children and men and they all joined us for a second Iftar. They were very hospitable and even offered us Qatayef – a regional Ramadan dessert – after which our host drove us to Amman in his pick-up truck. Being the only girl in the gang I had the pleasure of a seat inside the vehicle while the rest had to sit in the back of the truck, while we were driven to the bus station in downtown Amman.
That day I arrived at my house at around nine at night – the longest drive ever from Irbid to Amman.
That day we decided we’d like to enter Little Petra from the other side, so we went off-road to reach a place called Al-Farsh overlooking Wadi Araba. We sat on a cliff for an hour enjoying the view before continuing our short trek towards the Dark Siq (or gorge) of Little Petra.
Little Petra is located 10 km from the main site of Petra. You cannot really compare both sites; some say that the Nabateans started to carve their tombs there, but stopped because they didn’t like the sandstone. Others say the Nabateans designed Little Petra as a decoy in order to confuse the Romans when they tried to invade! Who know’s?!
Having spent the better part of three hours traveling along the winding up-and-down road that leads to Wadi Rum from Amman (the capital), my friend and I finally reached the tiny village of preceding the vast expanse of Wadi Rum. It was pitch-black dark except for the lights of the local tourist rest house and we met up with the rest of the group (Rakan, Tala and another friend) in an empty parking lot. We then transferred into Rakan’s pick-up truck for the rest of the journey to our desert camp. The drive through the tiny village took less than a minute and suddenly the paved road ended and the limitless expanse of desert began.
Driving in total darkness but with the jagged silhouettes of the surrounding mountains rising up ominously around us, thus began the bumpiest ride of my entire life. It seemed that we twisted left and right relentlessly whilst frequently dipping down sand dunes and rising up small hills on a trajectory that would seemingly lead us straight for the stars. I marveled at how Rakan could navigate through a landscape that seemed to repeat itself endlessly and I must confess that I doubted if it was even humanly possible for us to find our way in the dark. After 40 minutes of this unpredictable roller coaster of a ride we seemed to enter a narrow gorge which was highlighted by the lights of our pick-up. The gorge twisted to the right then to the left before abruptly rising into a flat pain and depositing us miraculously at the doorstep of our campsite!
Opening my door I climbed down weakly and sank my feet into soft desert sand. As the blood began to circulate into sore and stiff muscles, a man stood up from the fireplace next to the huge Bedouin tent before us and strode over. After exchanging “As-Salamu Alaikum’s” [which means Peace Be Upon You and is a formal greeting in Arabic] we walked over to the fireplace where a number of European tourists had been lounging and who now had sat up politely. The small fire that was being tended by our Bedouin hosts was enclosed by several rocks and had two candles either side. On one side of the fire was a huge teapot which