Almost a secret in the Middle East, mentioning the country Jordan usually puts a confused look on people’s face ‘So where exactly is it?’ They ask. Wedged in between Israel and Saudi Arabi and opposite Egypt on the Red Sea, Jordan is home to some spectacular sites such as castles, desert citadels and historical places mentioned in the bible.
Amman is the capital of Jordan with an international airport connecting it with many places in Europe. It’s a very busy city but well connected by bus to the rest of the country. Buses from Amman to the Red Sea town of Aqaba are frequent and from there it’s easier to do tours of the surrounding areas. Aqaba also has an airport with a few international flights and is connected with Amman if you prefer to fly there.
There are all types of accommodation in Jordan and some interesting ones at that. From Bedouin tents in the desert to spa resorts in front of the Dead Sea, hostels, hotels and dive resorts are plentiful in the south.
The most amazing site in Jordan (probably in the whole Middle East), is the 6th century BC ancient Nabataean city of Petra. The entire city is built into the mountains and is truly a site that will make you pinch yourself to see if you’re awake. UNESCO described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage". It’s a long walk and extremely hot in the summer months so be sure to take a lot of water and be in good health to attempt this journey.
Another highlight in the area is the desert of Wadi Rum. With its dramatic landscape, colourful sands and forever changing light and shadow display, it can only be truly appreciated on an overnight trip. Not only will you experience the incredibly different aspects of the desert at different times of the day but you’ll also get to experience the dessert people’s way of life and how to live in this environment. Trips to Wadi Rum and Petra are easily organised from Aqaba.
The Dead Sea is definitely worth a look, at 414 metres (1360 feet) below sea level it's the lowest land area on earth. The ancient biblical site of Bethany or the brook where Jesus was baptised is around this area too. For a great adventure head to Wadi Mujib or along the King’s Highway for a journey through history then stop at the Dana Nature Reserve for the striking scenery.
If you’re here for diving then Aqaba is the place for you. Right in front of the Red Sea with reefs so beautiful and alive that you’ll quickly add this to your favourite place to dive. You’ll find every kind of Red Sea reef fish but the corals are so colourful and plentiful that you’ll think you’re in an underwater garden!
A great wreck dive is the Cedar Pride, for coral gardens and great macro photography opportunities you will love Gorgone 1 and Gorgone 2 and the 7 Sisters (to see an underwater tank as well) and for deeper canyon dives try Oliver's Canyon and Eel canyons. You can do your courses here or if you’re certified, enjoy some great fun diving. Snorkelling is accessible right off the shore so hire a mask and snorkel and off you go.
Drop us a line if you find any other hidden gems in Jordan or if you loved your dives as much as we did.
(By Kelly Luckman)