What sorts of birds might we see?
In the east, there are large deserts and the famous Azraq Oasis. The heart of
the oasis has been recently restored and is attracting many wetland birds like
Squacco Herons, Egrets and Marsh Harriers, and it is packed with migrants in
spring. The surrounding deserts have characteristic species like Temminck`s
horned lark, Desert Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Wheatear and Trumpeter Finch. In
winter, Cranes and Imperial Eagles cross this area and while walking around the
desert castles you might see Thick-billed lark. In the west, the wooded
highlands have birds like Upcher`s, Orphean and Sardinian Warblers and Palestine
Sunbird, while in the more open steep country there are Spectacled Warbler, Long
billed Pipit, Woodchat Shrike and Blackeared Wheatears. The mountainous fringe
of the Great Rift Valley holds a wide range of birds, reflecting differences in
altitude and the presence of perennial water courses. Wadi Mujib and Wadi
Shu`eib, for example, are home to the beautiful Smyrna kingfisher and Syrian
Wood Packer, while the rocky gorges of Dana, Mujib and Petra support Griffon
Vulture, Bonelli`s Eagle, Sinai Rosefinch, Tristram`s Grackle and Fan-tailed
Raven to mention just a few.
Last but not least, the Dead Sea area and Wadi Araba (also part of the Rift
Valley) have African and Arabian species like Sand Partridge, Hoopoe Lark,
Little Green Bee-Eater, Arabian Warbler and Dead Sea Sparrow.
Bird Watching Program
Day 1: (ARRIVAL- AMMAN AIRPORT OR LAND BORDERS - JERASH HOTEL)
Arrival to Amman. Meet & Assist at Queen Alia International Airport or at land
borders. Transfer to your hotel in Jerash for O/N.
Day 2: (Jerash - Jerash Visit - Ajlun Visit - Overnight)
Breakfast, Visit the Roman City of Jerash then to Ajlun visiting its natural
reserve which is located in Ajlun highlands, around the extention of a long
valley known as Wadi Ain Zubia. It consists of Mediterranean-like hill country,
dominated by open woodlands of Oak and Pistachio trees. The Reserve is 13 square
kms and is located in an area called Eshtafeena. It has two hiking trails and
has a special area for camping.
Ajlun’s woodlands consist of mostly Oak trees, Pistachio, Pine, Carob and Wild
Strawberry. These trees have been important to local people for their wood,
scenic beauty and quite often for mediocine and food. The Roe Deer is adapted to
forest habitat and feeds on a variety of trees, shrubs and grass. They were
introduced to the habitat in 1988 from a similar habitat in Turkey . Today there
are thirteen Roe Dees at Ajlun. The Persian Fallow Deer is another species that
once common in Jordan . This animal probably became extinct by the turn of the
century. A re-introduction program for this deer at Zubia will begin as soon as
the Roe Deer program has been firmly established.
Day 3:(AJLUN - AZRAQ)
Azraq is a unique wetland located in the heart of the arid Jordanian desert.
It contains several pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a large mudflat.
A wide variety of birds visit the reserve each year, either stopping for a short
rest on their long migration between Africa and Europe; or they stay for the
winter and some breed in the wetland. O/N in Azraq. The word Azraq means `blue`
in Arabic and before water pumping began in the 1980s, the oasis provided a
sparkling blue jewel in the desert, attracting up to half a million migrating
birds at any one time. By 1993, however, the extraction of water was so great
that no surface water remained and its ecological value was virtually destroyed.
With international support, a rescue effort started in 1994 and a
significant portion of the wetland has been restored. Many of the birds for
which the oasis was renowned are coming back and special boardwalks and bird
hides have been constructed to enable visitors to see and enjoy them. Azraq
Wetland Reserve lies at the center of eastern part of the Africa - Eurasian
flyway, which is an important passage for the migratory and resident birds. The
reserve is currently utilized by around 180 species on a regular basis in
addition to around 90 vagrants and about 20 breeding species, resulting in a
total about 290 species.
Day 4: (AZRAQ - DANA)
Today we will head to Dana, a system of mountains and wadis, extending from
the top of the eastern Rift Valley to desert lowlands of Wadi Araba, an
elevation drop of over 1600 meters. O/N in Dana.
The total number of species recorded so far consists of 690 plants, of which 3
are new to science, and 449 animals.Many of these are now very rare and some
threatened to extinction: animals like the sand cat, the Syrian wolf, the lesser
kestrel and the spiny tailed lizard. So far, 25 endangered or vulnerable animals
have been found in the reserve, making it an area of global importance. Apart
from its wildlife, Dana is also rich in archaeology. About 100 archaeological
sites have been identified, of which are the ancient copper mines in Wadi Feinan
that are particularly special, and they are considered as the most important
archaeological complex in southern Jordan outside of Petra. Dana is well
renowned as a model of integrated conservation and development, where the
protection of biodiversity goes hand-in-hand with improving the social and
economic welfare of the local population. Development activities include a
substantial ecotourism operation; handicraft production based on local skills in
silver jewelry, pottery, plant production, and food processing. Furthermore, a
goat-fattening scheme for nomadic pastoralists and sustainable systems for the
use of grazing lands in the Reserve have been established. Over 800 people now
benefit from these income generating schemes and tourism revenue is covering all
the running costs of the reserve.
More than 200 bird species have been recorded in the reserve, of which 33
species are of global and regional importance .Some species have significantly
large populations in the reserve.
Day 5: (DANA FULL DAY VISIT - O/N)
Day 6 : (DANA - PETRA - O/N)
Day 7: (PETRA FULL DAY VISIT)
Full day visiting Jordan's Jewel "Petra" a city fully carved in stones. Upon
arrival, you will take a horse back ride through the Siq, the only access to
this city. Return back to Petra for overnight.
Day 8: (PETRA - WADI RUM - AQABA)
Wadi Rum. Here you will find adventure and feel the romance of the Arabian
Desert. Wadi Rum is like a moonscape of ancient valleys and towering weathered
sandstone mountains rising out of white and pink colored sands. Upon arrival to
Wadi Rum, a 2hrs jeep tour to explore Lawrence Road, visiting the most
spectacular sights of Wadi Rum. You will be treated for a Bedouin lunch at Wadi
Rum. Then we will drive to the Red Sea Resort City of Aqaba for O/N.
Day 9: (AQABA - DEAD SEA - AMMAN)
The Dead Sea eastern coast in Jordan is one of the most spectacular natural
and spiritual landscapes in the whole world. Series of new hotels and
archaeological discoveries are converging to make this region, the lowest spot
on earth at 410 meters below sea level, as enticing to international visitors
today as it was to kings, traders and prophets in antiquity. The leading
attraction at the Dead Sea is the hot, soothing super-salty seawater, which is
four times saltier than normal seawater. It is rich in chloride salts of
magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several others. This unusually salty,
buoyant and mineral-rich water has attracted visitors since ancient times, all
of whom have floated effortlessly on their backs while soaking up the water’s
healthy minerals along with the gently defused rays of the Jordanian sun. The
Dead Sea’s total attraction is due to its unique combination of several factors:
the chemical composition of its water, the filtered sunrays and oxygen-rich air,
the mineral-rich black mud along the shoreline, and the adjacent fresh water and
thermal mineral springs. After enjoying the Dead Sea, we will head to Amman for
Day 10 : (AMMAN - DEPARTURE)
After breakfast, transfer to Queen Alia Airport in Amman or to land borders