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Blog OliveHarvest
Olive Harvest in Jordan

If you happen to be in Jordan in autumn, you are definitely lucky! …because that means that you can participate in the olive harvest, and experience this memorable event up close as you work alongside local families.

 

An essential part of Jordanian culture

 

The olive harvest is an established event in Jordan’s calendar. Since thousands of years it holds significance both in terms of tradition and in terms of being a vital source of income. This makes the farming of olives an essential part of Jordanian culture and economy. The products that emerge are diverse, and besides the olives also the wood is very valuable. It is fashioned into a variety of products from jewelry to household items and furniture, and then sold. Important note: Only wood from non-producing trees is used for that.

 

But the real deal are the olives! Or perhaps rather what’s made out of them is. Jordan is one of the world’s top-10 producers of olive oil. And this is a good thing, for it is also consumed by the gallon here. Practically every meal uses this precious ingredient – a local favorite is simply bread dipped in olive oil and Za’atar, a traditional Arab spice mixture consisting of thyme, roasted sesame seeds, salt, and additional other spices.

 

Olive Picking

 

Wondering if you would be up to that task?

 

So, as stated above, if you are in Jordan during autumn, you have the great chance to visit a farm and participate in the olive picking process.

 

Here is a simple how-to:

 

1. Stretch plastic tarpaulins below the tree.

 

2. Pull your hand down every single branch, stripping the trees of the ripe olives, which then fall onto the tarpaulins.

 

3. Once the tree is stripped of all the olives, shake them into the middle of the tarpaulin. Sift through them, and also remove the twigs that have fallen into the mix.

 

4. Also collect any olives lying on the ground. Don’t even think about throwing dried and shriveled olives which are seemingly past their best! They are actually the best kind to take to the press. This is because the water has evaporated from them, leaving only concentrated oil behind.

 

5. Pile the olives, now twig free, in buckets, which are poured into sacks. These sacks get transported to the warehouse and factory where the press lives. There, they are churned and juiced, pulped and purified, until only the gorgeous yellow oil remains.

 

 

This experience, which is part of our weekly walks program, offers excellent insight into a process that is at the heart of Jordanian culture, in terms of economy, cuisine and tradition. Of course, not all olives are turned into olive oil. There is another process that begins to create olives for eating. Yum! But that is for another post.

 

If you’re in Jordan now, sign up for the harvest – for a day in the fresh air of the green northern countryside with many new interesting insights and a lot of fun for young and old. You won’t regret it!

 

Get more information about this and other cultural experiences, events and trips here.

Blog Getting Around
Experience Jordan’s Guide on Getting Around

Navigating Amman’s complicated roads and the overall somewhat chaotic driving in Jordan can be a daunting task. The good news is – there are plenty of options for getting around! Our team at Experience Jordan Adventures is always happy to help you arrange transportation in- and outside Amman. If your adventure includes setting out on your own though, let us present you herewith …(*drums*)… Experience Jordan’s Guide on Getting Around:

 

Apps – Uber and Careem

 

The international ride hailing app Uber, and its Arab world alternative Careem are readily available in Amman. Careem was bought by Uber in May 2019, but will remain an independent brand. Both companies initially faced legalization battles in Jordan, but by now have emerged successfully.

 

The apps’ rating systems, GPS navigation, and automatic calculation of prices may spare you from many uncomfortable situations. They can for example prevent the driver from overcharging you. Or both you and the driver from getting lost on the way to your destination. On the other hand, it can sometimes take painfully long between ordering a ride through Careem or Uber, and that ride actually arriving at your starting point. This is especially the case during rush hours. However, you can prevent the problem by pre-scheduling your ride several hours, or even the day before.

 

All in all, experience showed that if you’re in Amman, unfamiliar with the city, and want a save, clean, and comfortable ride, Uber and Careem are great choices!

 

Taxis

 

Yellow taxis are ubiquitous in and outside of Amman, and can take you almost anywhere. They are also a bit cheaper than Uber and Careem.

 

The perhaps most important thing to know about yellow cabs: They are legally required to operate with a meter. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a cab driver to overcharge foreigners, particularly when picking them up around tourist sites or hotels. Always make sure the driver uses a meter (al-addad) and turns it on. Shaghal al-addad is the Arabic phrase for this. If he refuses, simply get out and take another cab.

 

There are some other taxis customs that travelers should regard in Jordan. For instance, it is recommended that women sit in the back, especially when travelling alone. Men usually take the front passenger seat. Also, while technically not required, it is nice to round up the fare to an easy number with for example five to ten qirsh. Just keep in mind that most taxi drivers don’t make a great salary…

 

In Aqaba, the “yellow taxis” are green. In Amman you might also see silver and white taxis driving around. The silver taxis are basically the same as the yellow ones, just more luxurious (newer models), and therefore also more expensive. The white taxis are called service. They are a type of public transportation which follows specified routes and are shared with other passengers. Visitors (and at times locals) usually find it very difficult to navigate service. We therefore recommend avoiding them in favor of the yellow (or green) taxis.

 

Private Drivers

 

A private driver is an excellent option for those looking to go on a day trip to one or more of the many sites close to Amman. These drivers generally have excellent knowledge of the surrounding areas, and often become one of the best parts of the trip, adding entertainment and information to the experience!

 

Some yellow taxi drivers or private car owners will agree to drive visitors around for the day. We, however, recommend hiring a private driver only from reputable companies. If you need assistance with this, we are happy to help! You can also have a look at our transfer services between Jordan, Jerusalem, and Israel/Palestine.

 

Public Transport

 

Public transport in Jordan is very different from the one in most European or North American countries. Services tend to be more informal, and timetables or system maps are nearly impossible to find, or -if existent- unreliable.

 

An exception to this is JETT. The transportation company is running buses on longer distances at fixed rates and schedules.
For all other buses, the best option is to find out from where to take the bus (you can e.g. try asking the staff in your hotel), and then go to this place and wait for the bus to pass by. Sometimes you also have to wait for the bus to fill up with passengers. The good think is, these buses are really cheap. The bad thing is, using them requires quite a bit of regional knowledge, as well as time and flexibility.

 

We hope this guide can bring some clarity to the Jordanian transportation system. And – on a last note – sometimes, getting around is as easy as asking someone to take you there!

Dead Sea view on your trip to Jordan
Experience Relaxation: A Day by the Dead Sea Makes Your Experience in Jordan Complete

When you visit Jordan, you don’t want to miss the world-renowned Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, really a large salt lake,  is the lowest point on earth. Known for its super-salty water that makes floating effortless and for its mineral-rich mud that is used in cosmetic treatments all over the world. A day at the Dead Sea is like a day in paradise! Here you can treat yourself like royalty.

Visit the Dead Sea in Jordan

Due to the altitude of 400m below sea level, the climate at the Dead Sea is mild in winter and hot in the summer. Amazingly, it has temperatures an average of 10C hotter than in Amman, despite its proximity. So it’s a great escape for those traveling from colder weather. But even in the Summer, it is a worthwhile and recommended experience.  Through the wintertime, you can still expect temperatures that will allow you to enjoy the pools and salty water of the sea.

The sea’s buoyancy is incredible. Other people’s accounts can’t prepare you for the sensation of weightlessness as you let your feet lift from the bottom of the banks and you begin to bob with the gentle flow of the water.

Float in the Dead Sea when you visit Jordan

Floating in the sea

While there, people can be seen on the banks lathering themselves in the black mud. It is true that the minerals in the mud are many and are extremely good for the skin. However, it remains for the individual to decide if they wish to coat themselves in it entirely, or simply choose a few key spots.

A host of spa hotels line the Jordanian bank of the sea, meaning no matter your budget and situation, the restful experience is real.

For families, the Dead Sea Spa hotel is a great option. In addition to beach access, it has a range of pools: ones suitable for adults to float and relax, and others with slides to keep the kids (and kids at heart) entertained.

For those looking for a top-end luxurious experience, there a several fantastic 5* hotels, including the Movenpick and Kempinski, with full spas and a large range of treatments. The Dead Sea is a great place to pamper yourself.

Five star hotel accomodations at the Dead Sea with Experience Jordan

Looking out from a hotel room

On the other end of the spectrum, for you who are not bothered about relaxing by a pool or indulging in a massage, there are several public beaches which you can visit and enjoy both floating in the sea and the famous mud for only a few dinars (local currency).

In addition to the water sports, food and entertainment options are available depending on what hotel you are booked with. Other activities near the Dead Sea include hiking in wadis, Lot’s Cave, Ma’in Hot Springs, and The Baptism Site to name a few.

When you book your trip with Experience Jordan Adventures, let us know what your interests are for your trip and we can create the perfect itinerary for your ideal vacation.

Blog Headers
Experience Adventure: gear- where to go, what to get

As the saying goes: under each great hiker is an even greater pair of boots… or something like that anyway!

 

In all seriousness, when it comes to adventure sports such as hiking and biking, being properly equipped can make all the difference to your excursion.

Items such as boots with good grip are essential when trekking Jordan’s rocky terrain, plus when embarking on a physically stimulating trip, being hindered by clothes that aren’t breathable or don’t fit is the last thing you want to be worrying about.

 

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Good job you don’t need to then!

 

Amman has several stores that stock an excellent selection of sports gear, from large backpacks to decent hiking socks, from lightweight t-shirts to super-thick sleeping bags- they’ve got it all.

 

TREKS, GoSport, and Sports 4ever are three of the best, stocking fantastic brands such as Merrell footwear, and Columbia hiking clothes.

 

The latter two are easier to access, with several stores within Amman. In fact, both have a store in TAJ lifestyle center, so take yourself along to this Mall and you’ll be spoiled for choice!
TREKS is located a little further out, just down the Dead Sea highway.

 

TAJ mall

Hikers top kit list:

Range of tops: lightweight and thermal – when it comes to hiking clothes the material used is important, but the best choice will vary depending on specifications such as heat, and the intensity of exercise, as well as personal preference. For sports incorporating a lot of stretching/bending polyester is great; if you’re looking for a super absorbent fabric, choose nylon. For more info on fabric choices, click here.

 

Zip-off hiking trousers (long/short conversion possible)

 

Backpack with waterproof lining

 

Decent hiking shoes Merrell have an excellent selection

 

Socks – this may seem silly, but socks specifically designed for hiking, make a trek so much more comfortable, therefore the hiker’s endurance is boosted. Again the type you need depends on hiking conditions and the season of year; click here to read more.

 

Head torch

 

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This list in NOT exhaustive, other supplies such as water, sunscreen, and food (more than you think you’ll need, just in case) are rather essential too- but we kind of hope they’re more obvious to you! Feel free to have a look at this alternate list, drawn up by REI co-op.