Blog Winter
Experience Jordan in Winter

You may be wondering, is winter a good time to visit Jordan? Does Jordan get cold? Or, how can I make the most of my trip while staying warm? And of course, what should I pack?

– Don’t worry! We have the answers to those questions and more below. There are plenty of great options for sightseeing, hiking, and having an amazing experience!

How is the weather? And what to Pack?

Practically, if you are visiting Jordan between December and February: Do pack warm cloths! Although it may seem that the temperature is higher in Jordan than your home country, the feel of the temperature can be quite different. There can even be snow. Wearing layers is advisable, as it means you can react flexibly to changing temperatures (day/night, inside/outside), plus a decent coat, sturdy shoes, and warm socks.

Indoor heating may be different than what you are used to from your home country as well. In Jordan the buildings generally have room heaters (hot water carrying wall units), AC units (that are also able to blow hot air), or space heaters (electric or gas) as primary heat sources. That is instead of central heating like more modern buildings and areas. Hotels should always be comfortably heated in the winter. However, houses and older buildings are very often poorly insulated. So even inside buildings, you may want to wear a light jacket. 

Preparation is key, so be sure to check the weather forecast before you come for any signs of rain/snow!

Winter is a great season to hike in Jordan.

In summer most places are crowded with tourists, and the blazing sun can make being outdoors uncomfortable. But you can avoid both of these inconveniences by planning your trip during the winter months between November and March.

This time of the year is especially perfect for activities such as hiking, since the temperatures are comfortable for even long hikes on desert trails. For example the route from Little Petra to Petra is a fantastic hike to consider: Rated among the top hikes in the world by National Geographic, it has you enter Petra via the lesser travelled ‘back door’ route. That route enables you to explore the beautiful and wild landscape, as well as many other attractions on the way, without the heavy traffic of thousands of fellow tourists. It also incorporates the phenomenal site (and sight!) of Petra with a better grasp of cultural and historical places and traditions. 

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While in Petra, you perhaps also want to take the time for a visit to Petra kitchen. It’s a great option for the shorter days of winter! There you can learn to cook traditional meals with local women. Additionally, it is a fantastic opportunity to engage with locals, sample delicious dishes, and learn more about the fundamental importance of food and hospitality in Jordanian culture.

Other Options for visiting Jordan in Winter:

A trip to Madaba, could include visits to several (heated) museums and churches, as well as a stroll on nearby Mount Nebo. The view over the Holy Land is best at this time of the year, when the dust in the air has been washed away by the winter rains. There is a renovated church on top of the mountain, boasting an array of beautiful mosaics, and on the road up to/down from the site itself you can visit the best folklore museum in Jordan: La Storia. In Madaba there are different churches that are also worth stopping by – above all the Church of St George accommodating the oldest existing map of the region. …and since Madaba is a predominantly Christian town, a December trip can incorporate the sighting of sparkling Christmas trees too!

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Another great option is to travel to the Dead Sea. Due to it’s low altitude, the climate in this region is much warmer than in the rest of Jordan, and the opportunities for relaxation are unrivaled. Even if you find it too chilly to swim in the sea, many of the hotels have heated pools, plus the spas are heavenly – treat yourself!

And last but not least, there are also many options in the capital city of Amman. In Amman there are art galleries, restaurants, cafes, cultural centers, concerts, historical sites, or local markets. As travel experts, we would be happy to recommend some options specific to your trip.

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Hiking Wadi Mukheires

​There is a strip of road by the Dead Sea where you will find a dozen or so hotels on the water’s edge. Their entrances with the glittering golden letters sit proudly at the roadside. You couldn’t be blamed, therefore, to be looking at them when driving past. Nor for looking even further out, beyond the buildings, to the reason they’re all there – the Dead Sea. If you finally look the other way, however, to the rocks and the dust, you will see the entrances to several wadis. They are tucked away from the road, and outwardly inconspicuous, but ready for exploration!

 

Wadi Mukheires wasn’t my first wadi hike, but definitely the best!

 

​We set off from Amman bright and early, after a short briefing. It was here that I met Ayman, who was our guide for the hike, and – like me – a new Experience Jordan employee. Wadi Mukheires is located perhaps forty minutes from Amman, but soon after entering I had the impression I was in another country. The wadi was shady and cool, varying in width, with a small stream winding its way through the valley, easy to follow by the lush greenery lining its route. Reeds and rocks and ferns were sprayed across the wadi floor and they seemed to get bigger and greener the further into the wadi we hiked. The water too, became deeper and wider at points. To continue into the wadi we had to climb up several waterfalls of varying size. A couple of us definitely got an extra shower or two at various points along the way.

 

 

​Once or twice I was pretty convinced we had reached an impasse on the route. I looked around despairingly, expecting the apologies to the group, the trek back to the cars slightly sooner than expected. The next thing I knew, two of my fellow walkers had sprung up what seemed like an impossibly smooth and high boulder, and were already giving hand-ups to others. We continued like that for a couple or so hours, splashing through the blissfully cool waters, climbing over rocks, brushing through green curtains of vegetation, chatting to each other.

 

​We reached the end of the wadi when we reached the huge waterfall at the end. The splashing water echoed around the high rock walls and we had our group photograph in front of the spray, in a patch of beaming sunlight, before heading back the way we came and stopping for lunch a short way back along the stream.

 

​Ayman, who had been heroically carrying a huge tin kettle and all the food for the trip, started up a small fire and we cooked sausages and burgers on a small grill, and then boiled the kettle and drank Ayman’s special tea blend in the shade. It was a delicious stop in the early afternoon, and time to take in the beauty of our surroundings in the quiet valley.

 

​We were soon back at the entrance of the wadi by the cars, and drove back to Amman as the sun was getting lower in the sky. I arrived home tired, but wonderfully invigorated. The day had been a my much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of life in Jordan’s capital.

 

Edited by Juliane Zimmermann.

Blog PetraBackDoor
Experience Petra: Enter via the ‘Back Door’

If you come to Jordan, you absolutely have to take the opportunity to discover the Nabataean city of Petra. Carved in beautiful red rock more than 2000 years ago, the impressive buildings and long staircases take present day visitors back in time and hold many secrets to discover.

We highly recommend entering Petra via the back route, which takes you on unbeaten paths past the Monastery (ad-Deir). This way, you will escape the majority of other tourists and end up with an enriched encounter of this magical site.

Options:

The ‘back door route’ can basically be done in one day. Starting at Little Petra, the path will take you all the way to the monastery and down into Petra. Along the way, enjoy taking in spectacular landscapes and the awe-inspiring monastery, arriving at the site with time for exploration.

For the more passionate hikers among us, there is the option to do the full Dana to Petra trek. That trek, which is also part of the Jordan Trail, is not without it difficulties – you especially should make sure to bring a certain fitness level. But don’t let this statement dishearten you. The experience is totally worth every bit of struggle! Rated as one of the best in the world by National Geographic, the hike leads through a wild and stunningly beautiful scenery, diverse landscapes and untouched nature.

The full hike, which can be completed in around 5 days, should generally be done with a tour company as it leads through some very remote areas.

Banner Advertisement for Trekking Tours on the Jordan Trail, from Dana Bisophere Reserve to Petra

Re-Entering via the ‘front door’

If you’re staying the night in Petra you can attend ‘Petra by Night’, where the sight is illuminated by hundreds of candles. The next morning we recommend re-entering Petra the common way: via the Siq. You will walk through the canyon, walls of rose-colored stone towering above you on each side. While walking the anticipation builds as you feel yourself nearing the heart of the ancient site. Suddenly, there it is, right in front of you!

The appearance of the Treasury at the end of the gorge is a breathtaking moment. And while it is a moment usually shared with many fellow travellers, you will be the lucky one. By first entering via the ‘back door’ and then – assuming you made it out of bed in time – early the next morning via the Siq, you will have gotten the best of both worlds. Petra is so immaculate it is best taken in from multiple angles and lighting. From afternoon, evening, and morning sunlight to candlelight – Petra’s majesty can be witnessed in many different ways. 

Banner Sightseeing Petra

Our Recommendations:

If experiencing Petra via the backdoor seems exciting to you, check out this tour which offers the best sights of Jordan and the Little Petra to Petra hike via the back entrance: Jordan Hikes & Sights

If you’re up for more something more physically challenging, you should have a look at our Dana to Petra Treks – possible to do privately or as part of a bigger group.

…or you can of course request to add any version of the hike on to any of our private tours. We are looking forward to hear from you!

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.

ajloun forest reserve cabin
Experience Luxury: Ajloun Reserve Camp

Not everyone loves to camp, but glamping is a treat enjoyed by all. Maybe cabins with beautiful views aren’t ‘glamping’ as such, but we think they’re pretty close. A luxury camping experience is certainly what you can find at the Ajloun Reserve.

 

This camp, nestled in RSCN territory (The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and Wild Jordan) offers explorers a true “Evergreen Escape”.  Situated in the highlands of North Jordan, rich greenery covers the 13km2 of hill country.

 

The idyllic location offers an unforgettable get-away. This coupled with the camping facilities is what makes this venue one we knew we needed to recommend to you.

 

There are different levels of accommodations. If you are looking for a luxury camping experience then the Individual Cabins are a must. Standing on your balcony you will have beautiful views of the green hills as the cabins are surrounded by oak, pistachio and carob trees. Also in your private cabin you will find a spacious bedroom (linen provided) and bathrooms as well as living space with electricity and small refrigerator. The seclusion of the place, far from the noises and business of the city, ensures a restful experience, in a setting of both luxury and phenomenal scenery.

 

There is an on-site restaurant at the camp site, noted for it’s local and homegrown produce, as well as the Nature Shop, which offers an array of artisan Ajloun handicrafts.

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If you can ever bring yourself to leave the delights of the lodge, there are many activities in which you can participate. Be it one of the many year-round guided tours, which take in the flora and fauna of the forest- including Roe deer and orchards aplenty- as well as the historical gems of the place.

 

Close Historical Sites:

  • Mar Elias: Ruins of one of Jordan’s oldest churches, is a place you can relax in the shade with sweet chai (tea), before enjoying a lunch hand-crafted by the locals for you.
  • Jerash: Jordan’s second-most important tourist site, as it is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Roman architecture outside of Rome itself!

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Close Cultural Experiences:

  • The Soap House is also worth a visit, with its hand-fashioned Orjan soap, created using local olive and essential oils.
  • Opposite the camp is the renowned Biscuit House, where visitors can relax and enjoy sweet delicacies handmade by the ladies there.
  • As if that wasn’t enough, you can taste of the culture more by partaking in classes of the ancient art of calligraphy: printing fine Arabic script onto leather or silk.

 

The combination of the fresh-air and stillness, with the variety of activities and sights, topped by the most comfortable stay one could wish for, makes this an experience we could not not recommend to you, our honored customers. It is truly too good to miss.

 

More information can be found on the RSCN site. But here is a quick informational brochure from them. Be sure to check out the information on Trip Advisor.

 

 

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Experience Luxury: Feynan Ecolodge

At Experience Jordan we want our honored guests to have unique experiences that highlight the best of what Jordan has to offer. For this reason we highly recommend staying at Feynan Ecolodge if simple luxury is what you are looking for on your holiday to Jordan.

 

This lovely gem is in the top 25 ecolodges in the world according to National Geographic Travel. Sorry, we had to boast a little bit. The lodge is tucked away from the typical tourist areas offering guests a true luxurious cultural experience.

 

Everything about this site is visual. From the time you hop into the transportation that takes you from the visitor center to the lodge itself, your eyes will have a feast. The landscape around the lodge is magnificent. This video gives an excellent overview of the facilities and a little preview to the landscape.

 

In addition to being a green lodging (solar powered is just the beginning), this facility is providing employment for the people of the community as well as preserving and honoring the culture  of the surrounding community.

 

During your stay there are many opportunities for you to interact with and learn from the community. Have you ever wanted to be a shepherd? Interested in the ancient art of Middle Eastern bread making? Wondered about growing up off the grid? The people of the community are happy to answer your questions and welcome you into their home.

 

If you would rather hike than bake, there are beautiful exotic hikes from Feynan Ecolodge. Some require a guide, others you can do on your own. When you go, don’t miss the sunset hike. It is complimentary and boasts spectacular views of the sunset over the rolling hills.

 

When you return to the lodge you will notice that the lighting is by candlelight. These are all handmade candles purchased from the community. The atmosphere is at once dreamy and romantic. The food is also quite amazing. It is all vegetarian and the ingredients come from the local community. As you finish your meal, we suggest heading to the roof for some star gazing, a truly spectacular site in this remote area.

 

Below are a couple of blog posts from people who have visited the site, but don’t forget to check out what trip advisor has to say about Feynan Ecolodge as well.

 

Travel Bloggers Experiences at Feynan Ecolodge:

theplanetD: Feynan Eco Lodge, A Quiet Retreat in Jordan

a little adrift: A Little Immersion…Humanizing the Travel Experience

Never Ending Voyage: Bedouin Life and a Candlelit Night at Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan

 

If you are visiting Jordan, this site is not one to miss. When you book your tour with Experience Jordan, let us know that you are interested in this location and we will be sure to include it for you. People who choose our Dana to Petra Tour love their stay at Feynan Ecolodge.

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Experience Culture: Jordan’s First Microbrewery Carakale

Let’s start by clearing up one misconception by many expats living in Amman, Jordan. Carakale is not brewed in Karak and therefore, they are not misspelling the name. Rather, the authentic Jordan brew gets it’s name from an authentic Jordan native – the caracal wild cat.

 

Now that this has been cleared up, let’s explore why this is a must do experience when you visit Jordan. No need to restate the amazing business story of being the first and only microbrewery in Jordan or of the man, Yazan Karadsheh who has pioneered this project, when you can read these excellent articles on those subjects.

 

LA Times: A beer pioneer launches Jordan’s first microbrewery

AlJAZEERA America: Jordan’s craft brewery brings beer back to its birthplace

 

Let’s instead focus on what your experience will be like, starting with the drive. The factory and tasting room where Carakale is brewed is in Fuhays. This traditionally Christian area is a little bit of a drive from the center of Amman. On the drive you will get to see a different face of Jordan as you pass through the local town centers. The brewery is on the edge of Fuhays, but this should not be a deterrent to visit. The opposite in fact, this is the very reason you should visit. It’s on the edge of the city and therefore you have beautiful views of the surrounding hills. Zero city sounds out here. It’s an excellent beer drinking environment.

 

The tour itself is a mixture of the history of Carakale, fun facts about brewing beer in the Middle East, and helpful information of how the beer brewing process is accomplished. Along the way you will get to try a few beers which incorporate local ingredients whenever possible, and end in the tasting room where you will be given bottle caps for more beer. Here in the tap room you can choose to look down on the brewery or out towards the magnificent hills as you sip you cold brew on the deck.

 

Although tours are typically booked in groups, if you don’t have a group, you can still go on the tour by visiting the tap room on their open nights (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 6:00PM-9:00PM). The tour starts promptly at 6:00PM.

 

At Experience Jordan we like to combine a visit to Carakale with a little hike along the Jordan Trail. Stay tuned as this walk+brew trip will start showing up in our Weekly Walk cycle soon. But, you can book a walk + brewery tour at anytime if you have a group of friends or work group that is ready. Just contact our Adventure Travel Specialist. We love creating custom tour experiences in Jordan. Cheers!

 

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Note: Although this tour does not have access to food, you can bring your own and they even provide gas and a grill if you want burgers or hotdogs with your beer.

 

Want to read about other people’s experiences? Here are two travel bloggers experiences at the brewery.

CTB Global: JORDAN – Beer tasting at Carakale microbrewery, Jordans only brewery

Travel Esquire: Jordan Microbrewery Marks Beer’s Rebirth in Mesopotamia! 

Shobak to Petra Family Friendly Trip 20
Top 5 Tips for Hiking with Your Kids in Jordan

Do you love hiking? Do you want your kids to love hiking? Maybe you are only mildly interested in hiking, but perhaps you are looking for a family activity that doesn’t involve butter popcorn and sitting quietly. Below we have listed our top five suggestions to make your next (or first) family hike a huge success full of fabulous memories.

Be Prepared

Taking the time to think through the hike, possible scenarios that might happen along the way, and packing accordingly will help you create the family memories that last a lifetime. Here is a link to a list of items to pack with you for a safe hike. Pack Safe List

As you prepare, have the kids participate so that they are invested in the fun and success of the trip. Ask them what they want to eat? What do they want to put in their backpack? Talk about what they might see on the trail. Get the excitement started!

Have a Roles

We talk often about visioning in the corporate environment, but it works for hiking with kids too. When a child has an important role in the hike they will be more likely to stay alert for fun adventures. Let someone hold the map, or be responsible for calling water breaks, or maybe they are responsible for calling out the trail markers, or handing out snacks. Whatever roles you come up with, let them know that they are important.

family hiking in Jordan from Experience Jordan

Curb Your Expectations

For experienced hikers this one can be one of the hardest parts of hiking with little ones. Think like a child. For the sake of fun and the love of hiking, be flexible and always ready to leave when it looks like the fun is about to end. Remember that children take smaller strides and can be distracted by fun rock formations and cool bugs. Let the distractions happen and enjoy them. Renting a donkey is an option on some hikes and an excellent way to do longer treks with children.

Learn together

Hiking is a great activity for teaching observation skills. Games along the trail to use observation skills are fun activities to keep the joy present and boredom at bay. Here is a link to some excellent games for the trail. Trail Games

Another great learning opportunity on the trail is talking about nature. Grab a guidebook on the nature in the area you are hiking and start learning/teaching about trees, plants, and bugs that you see along the way.

At Experience Jordan we share about Leave No Trace on each of our hikes. The principles about Leave No Trace are simple and easily shared and understood by children.

Have Plenty

Make sure you have plenty of the following to make the trip most enjoyable for all in attendance. Rest, take frequent water and snack breaks.  Food, make sure you have plenty of fun snacks to keep the energy level up. To prevent dehydration, pack plenty of water for everyone and make sure everyone is drinking (this includes you). Dish out words of praise frequently as you are on the path.  Load up your camera or phone with lots of pictures. These will be memories to keep you and your children coming back to the trail for more fun family times.

family hiking in Jordan from Experience Jordan Shobak

Are you interested in sharing hiking in Jordan with your children? Here are a few suggested hikes to get you started. Another great option is going to a place like Iraq Al Imir or Ajloun Castle and simply hike around the grounds.

Wadi Himara

Wadi Numeira

The Ajloun Forest Reserve is another great option that involves camping with cabins. There are some great short treks around the campsite.

Now get out there and enjoy!

Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace – Pioneering best practices in Jordan

Experience Jordan is proud to be the first company in Jordan to join the Leave No Trace Centre for Outdoor Ethics.  We are committed to keep Jordan clean, enjoying it’s natural treasures responsibly now, but also helping to preserve them for future generations.  We aim to practice this principles and teach them to our hikers, cyclists and campers who adventure with us.

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are:

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Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

 

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
    • In popular areas:
      • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
      • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
      • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
      • In pristine areas:
      • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
      • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

 

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

 

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

 

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

 

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

 

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

 

Wadi Rum 2 day trip

Wadi Rum 2 day trip

November 26, 2014

 

 

The guides were really nice and new a lot about the area. The weather was perfect for Wadi Rum and we spent to days and one night in a breathtaking campsite. We slept in tents EJ had brought and we had delicious dinner and breakfast cooked on the fire. I will recommend EJ to anyone interested in experiencing the wonderful nature and culture Jordan has to offer. The price of 100 JD was also very fair!