We will take you to some of the best cultural and birdwatching sites in Jordan. Jordan is famous for its culture and you will journey along part of the ancient Silk Road, that includes Aqaba Castle & Museum, Wadi Rum, Petra, the Kings Highway and visit Jerash and Ajloun castle further north.
On birdwatching, your Jordanian eco-guide will take you to the Eastern Desert and Azraq Wetland Reserve and its surroundings; Ajloun reserve, the Dead Sea Rift Valley; the Gulf of Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Petra, the Dana Biosphere Reserve and Wadi Ibn Hammad.
In 1995 Ian Andrews wrote, “Jordan’s Little-Known Birdlife’ for the Royal Jordanian Airlines magazine and also compiled the excellent guide book, ‘Birds of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’. Since then, Jordan has been a birdwatchers’ Middle Eastern jewel for over 20 years.
As a taster of what is on offer, Ian Andrew’s wrote, “If Jordan were to choose a national bird, I suggest it would have to be the Sinai Rosefinch … the male’s vivid pink plumage epitomizes Jordan’s rose city of Petra and the red cliffs and desert sands of Wadi Rum. No other bird, including the iridescent-feathered Palestine Sunbird, the elegant Tristram’s Grackle with its whistling call, or the rare Canary-like Syrian Serin has quite the same claim to be Jordan’s bird.”
Around 430 species have been documented. Along with the Sinai Rosefinch, some others are globally rare. Combined with rarity, Jordan is one of the world’s major migratory flight paths, millions of birds use Jordan’s airspace every year – from Warblers, Rollers and Bee-eaters to White Storks with 1.6m wingspan. All stopping off to quickly feed and quench their thirst before moving on.
Use your skills, with the help of your Jordanian eco-guide, to spy, hear and identify through behavior the birds of Jordan, and see how many you can account for by the end of the tour, comparing notes in the evening with everyone in your group.
– Explore Jordan’s ancient culture of Petra, Jerash and its historic castles of Ajloun, Aqaba (including museum) and Shawback. Visit Madaba Mosaic Map & Mount Nebo (if your return flight time permits).
– Enjoy many of Jordan’s beautiful nature reserves including Azraq, Ajloun and Dana.
On a Spring morning, you may see spiraling birds of prey as they catch the desert thermals over the mountain ridges of Petra and Wadi Rum, rising beyond sight. Spy Spring & Autumn migrant birds passing through Aqaba and stopping over to rest in one of the desert wadis. Spot desert species, well adapted to the harshness of their surroundings.
Day 1 – Arrival to Amman
Collection from the Airport in Amman and transfer to your hotel in the capital. You will first gather with your fellow companions and your guide over a delicious evening meal for introductions and to discuss the tour ahead.
Day 2 – The Eastern Desert: Azraq Wetlands & Surroundings
An early start, taking a comfortable air-conditioned coach to visit the Pistacio tree lined Wadi Al Butm (migrants here may include White-throated Robin, Menetries Warbler, Imperial & Steppe Eagle), followed by Azraq Wetlands for a good range of wetland birds and passage migrants (highlights may include Moustached Warbler, Egyptian Nightjar and Squaqqo Heron). This is followed by a short coach trip, around 11km, to Shaumari Nature Reserve (scrub/woodland) for possible further sightings of migrants including Cyprus Wheatear, Bimaculated Lark, Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers. This oasis also gives good access to the surrounding desert, where various Lark species and Cream-coloured Coursers might be seen. If time permits, you will travel further east to the basalt boulder desert near As Safawi and possible sightings of the dark forms of Mourning Wheatear, Desert Lark and Sand Partridge. After a long but satisfying day, the tour travels to Ajloun for a delicious evening meal and accommodation (choice of Ajloun homestay or Ajloun RSCN accommodation).
Day 3 – Ajloun Nature Reserve & Jerash
In the early morning you meet your local guide who will assist you with ‘what is in the area this week’. Ajloun is an evergreen oak forest situated on fertile limestone with wide panoramas from certain viewpoints. A birdwatching tour of Jordan is not complete without heading to this lush green northern region of Jordan with possibilities of Short-toad Eagle, Chukar, Wren, Sardinian Warbler, Syrian Woodpecker, Blue Tit and Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Roe Deer and Stone Martin may also be seen. In the afternoon the group will visit the impressive Ajloun Castle and the Roman antiquity of Jerash. Evening transport takes you to your first night’s hotel accommodation in Amman.
Day 4 – – Dead Sea Valley
Much of the Dead Sea Valley is irrigated farmland however some natural habitat consisting of patches of Tamarix thickets provide opportunity for a guided tour to watch the Dead Sea Sparrow, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Pied and White-breasted Kingfisher, Little Green and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. Your eco-guide will also take you to key spotting sites near the border with Palestine. We then travel onto Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve, which offers potential to see Fan-tailed Ravens, White-crowned Wheatear, Blackstart and Striolated Bunting. Lunching at Wadi Mujib Chalets, there will be opportunity to float in the Dead Sea, before your eco-guide takes you to the start of Wadi Mujib canyon, where perennial water flows between intriguing rock formations. Lastly, a Dead Sea sunset awaits at either the Mujib Chalets or a Dead Sea Resort hotel.
Day 5 – Gulf of Aqaba
If the Dead Sea Sparrow has not been spotted the day before, Feifa Nature Reserve is our first port of call, which is one of the Sparrow’s last strongholds. You then head towards the Gulf of Aqaba, which is a paradise for migrants. On the way, the group will stop at Qatar Nature Reserve (one of Jordan’s best acacia forests along with steppe vegetation) – the Arabian Warbler and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse are among the rare birds potentially spotted here. Entering into Aqaba, you amble around the lush vegetation of the Aqaba Bird Observatory for possible sightings of the Little Green Bee-eater, Slender-billed Gull, Caspian Tern, Spur-winged lapwing, Painted Snipe, Cotton Teal, Pink-backed Pelican, Pacific Golden Plover. Once rooms have been allocated at the Aqaba Hotel, your guide will take you to his favorite viewpoints to spy the Gulf of Aqaba and its surrounding mountains for raptors, gulls and waders coming into roost.
Day 6 – Wadi Rum World Heritage Site
In the morning, you will explore the Aqaba town coastline (sightings have included Collared Flycatchers, Levant’s Sparrowhawks, warblers, chats and pipits) followed by a visit to Aqaba Castle and museum. Your group then travels north for around 50 minutes to the Wadi Rum World Heritage Site – famous for its awe inspiring mountains and red and white desert landscapes. From Rum Village you take a desert truck tour to key spotting and archeological sites in amongst the splendor of this 560km² protected area. Lunch will be prepared by a Bedouin desert family whose sons and daughters are members of the local Rum Desert Youth Association, Shabab Sahra, who specialise in eco and adventure tourism. After lunch, you continue on your desert tour, hoping to see the Long-legged Buzzard, Trumpeter Finch, Scrub Warblers, Hooded Wheatear and the Sinai Rose Finch. The evening meal and accommodation is at Bait Ali or another well appointed camp, close to the World Heritage Site. At dusk, time can be spent listening and watching as this may well reap dividends.
Day 7 – Petra World Heritage Site
Leaving Wadi Rum as soon as possible, the journey to the ancient city of Petra pauses at a high vantage point where you should have fantastic views looking down on the mountainous desert below. Petra is then the marvel that awaits you. You walk through the famous Siq entrance to the Treasury then on to the Monastery, all within one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The whole day is a wonder – the Treasury, Monastery, Nabatean architecture, Roman archeological sites. Meandering through Petra, hoped for Palestine Sunbird, Sinai Rose Finch, the famous blue lizard, Bonnelli’s Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, Desert Lark, Sand Partridge, Mourning Wheatear, Rock Sparrow may be seen. Option to have lunch at a good restaurant within the Petra UNESCO World Heritage Site (please request when booking). Overnight at a Petra Hotel.
Day 8 – Little Petra & Dana Village
Some of the morning is spent spying Little Petra, located outside of ancient Petra, before travelling onto Dana Village. Along the way, you stop at Shawback Castle for a picnic lunch, then continue along the ancient Kings Highway (many leaders of antiquity travelled the same road) towards Dana Village, located at the top of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The group spends much of the afternoon / early evening exploring the upper valley of the Dana Reserve at 1,500m. The Barra Forest of Dana consists of oak and juniper open woodland, terraced irrigated farmland, excellent for Syrian Serin and Upcher’s Warbler. The rock wadi is the home of the Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Scops Owl and the last Griffin Vultures of Jordan. Verreaux’s Eagle has bred here in the past, with individuals still being spotted occasionally. Dana is a wonderful place to stay, and most birdwatchers spend at least a night there. Many excellent bird records are achieved at Dana.
Day 9 – Dana trek, Mukawir and Madaba Natural Hot Springs
An early local transfer takes you to the start of a three-hour moderate trek, which allows you once more to enjoy the upper valley forest of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Picnic lunch is at Dana village. Your eco-guide will then take you to Wadi Ibn Hammad for a very pleasant easy canyon walk. Your last evening is spent at your Madaba Hotel.
Day 10 – Amman Airport
From the Madaba Hotel, there is easy access to Amman’s international airport. Madaba is a pleasant town to enjoy on your own while you wait for your transfer. If your flight time permits, we can arrange a visit to the Madaba Mosaic Map and Mount Nebo (please ask for this option when booking).
Tour dates by arrangement. Best times of the year are the Spring and Autumn.
FB: Starting with dinner on first day, to breakfast on last day. Breakfast and dinner in hotels are buffet meals. Homestay and Bedouin dinners are hot traditional dishes. Lunch is a packed lunch, except with the Bedouin in Wadi Rum. Drinks with lunch and dinner in hotels are not included
All transfers are run in private, air-conditioned vehicles, with excellent drivers.
Hotel accommodation is based on 3-star hotels offering cleanliness with character. Homestays are with highly respected service providers. The Wadi Rum static camp will incorporate a high standard of facilities. Static camp and Hotel accommodation are on a twin share basis, unless you request a single upgrade. Homestay and camping accommodation is all about communal living.
We have English Speaking, Government-Licensed Tour guides who accompany the tour’s eco-guide (who are knowledgeable birdwatchers – licensed tour guide and eco-guide maybe the same person) on this tour. Local guides with expert knowledge may also accompany you on specific days. Also we can provide other language speaking guides upon request.
Terms & Conditions:
The cost varies depending upon the number of people and specific requirements of each group, including any additional sightseeing and services required. Please contact us with your particular needs to obtain a personal offer.
Beginning and end of tour excursions in Amman can be arranged depending upon your arrival time.
We have many add on tours for consideration on our website, either for before or after your Jordan Cultural Sites & Birdwatching Tour, depending what you would like to do.
To request your tour, please complete the details below. If you have any additional questions about the tour, please include it at the bottom of the form. We will check the details and respond within 48 hours with answers to any questions.