Jordan is a country of outstanding biodiversity. It is a land that encompasses all, from pine-clad mountains, lush green valleys, wetlands and oases to the breath-taking desert landscapes of Wadi Rum and the kaleidoscopic underwater world of the Red Sea.
Undoubtedly, Jordan’s most important and impressive ecological treasure is the unique area along the eastern coastline of the Dead Sea. Here, 410m below sea level, many small streams flow down from the surrounding hills, their mineral-rich waters creating gushing waterfalls and an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. Here too, are hot thermal springs, their health-giving waters having attracted visitors for thousands of years. On the Dead Sea coast, nature has taken simple salt, fashioned it into impossible sculptures, and imbued them with colors of unbelievable vividness.
The people of Jordan are aware of their rich natural heritage and go to great lengths to protect it and ensure its continued well-being. For this reason, several large nature reserves have been set up and are professionally-run, in order to minimize negative impacts on the natural habitats and rare species of Jordan’s flora and fauna.
The moon-like landscape of Wadi Rum is unique in the world. The desert of Rum is dotted with massive mountains, colored in shades of red, yellow, and orange. Their hues spill over to color the sand dunes around the desert and the horizon of its breath-taking panorama.
This is a place where you can become one with nature, where visitors are humbled by the towering mountains and overwhelmed by the serenity and quiet ambiance of this magnificent place. The eco-system of Wadi Rum holds many rare and endemic plants, Spring reveals hundreds of species of wild flowers. About 120 bird species have been recorded in the area, including the Griffon Vulture, the Fan-Tailed Raven, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Hume’s Tawny Owl. Baseline surveys show the existence of the Grey Wolf, Blandford’s Fox, the Sand Cat, and the Ibex within the area.
The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value – as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man.
Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed.
In the south, the seaside resort of Aqaba provides the perfect location for rest and relaxation on the shores of the Red Sea. In addition, it offers first-class scuba diving and snorkeling with some of the most beautiful and best-preserved coral reef in the world. The visitor can also participate in swimming, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, or enjoy views of the active marine life on a ride in a glass-bottomed boat. Aqaba is renowned for its warm water and sunny weather and is a delightful destination that can be enjoyed all year round. The five and four-star hotels in Aqaba offer world class spa facilities.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve is an area of staggering beauty, history, and biodiversity. The only reserve in Jordan that encompasses the four-different bio-geographical zones of the country (Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian and Sudanian), it is a melting pot of species from Europe, Africa and Asia.
Such a combination of natural communities in a single area is unique in Jordan and many of Dana Biosphere Reserve’s animals and plants are very rare. So far, a total of 800 plant species and 449 animal species have been recorded in the Reserve, of which 25 are known to be endangered, including the Sand Cat, the Syrian Wolf, the Lesser Kestrel and the Spiny Tailed Lizard.
The Dead Sea
At 410 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth. Jordan’s Dead Sea coast is one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world and it remains as enticing to international visitors today as it was to kings, emperors, traders, and prophets in antiquity.
A large amount of investment in the area has provided the Dead Sea with new roads making the new and luxurious Five-Star and Four-Star Hotels, Resorts and Dead Sea Spas easily accessible.
The main attraction of the Dead Sea is of course the soothing, abnormally salty water itself. The salt content of the water is 31.5% making the water so buoyant that it is impossible for the visitor to sink. The water also contains 21 minerals including high levels of magnesium, sodium, potassium, and bromine and 12 of these minerals are found in no other body of water in the world.
Studies have shown the combination of the Dead Sea water and the rich black mud found along the shoreline to have significant health benefits including increasing circulation, easing discomfort from arthritis, healing allergies, and revitalizing skin.
A trip to the Dead Sea would not be complete without a visit to one of the first-class health spa facilities of the luxury hotels. Here the visitor can enjoy year-round massages, Dead Sea mud bath, use the excellent fitness facilities, or just spend the day relaxing on their beautiful private beaches.
At 400 meters under sea level, the Dead Sea region is blessed with ozone and oxygen rich air, low pollution, year-round bright skies with UV filtered sunlight, and perhaps most famously, its mineral rich water and sea mud. Indeed, there are few places on earth that are as naturally therapeutic or so conducive to spa wellness journeys, and the Dead Sea Spas treatments capture this unparalleled wealth in extraordinary journeys.
The Spas and medical centers at the Dead Sea are well recognized worldwide and are the first in the region to efficiently offer natural skin treatments and skincare, it also offers massages and mud packs. With luxuriously tranquil surroundings, delights to refresh each sense and intuitive care that takes on deeper meaning, your feeling of well-being lingers long after your farewell.
Hammamat Ma’in / Ma’in Hot Springs
Visitors to the Dead Sea should also take advantage of another nearby wonder, Hammamat Ma’in (Ma’in Hot Springs). Popular with both locals and tourists alike, the springs are located 264m below sea level in one of the most breathtaking desert oases in the world. Thousands of visiting bathers come each year to enjoy the mineral-rich waters of these hyper-thermal waterfalls. These falls originate from winter rainfalls in the highland plains of Jordan and eventually feed the 109 hot and cold springs in the valley. This water is heated to temperatures of up to 63° Celsius by underground lava fissures as it makes its way through the valley before emptying into the Zarqa River.