“There is not a single place on earth we wouldn’t like to visit.”
But there is certainly some place that keep us coming back, time and again. Yes, we’re referring to Jordan. After driving through Jordan in 2017, we felt so welcomed by their warm hospitality that we were counting days to explore this timeless country again during the Jordan Expedition 2018.
With our biggest group in tow, we reached Amman, the starting point for our expedition. With a day to ourselves, we had an absolute BLAST exploring the city of Amman like a local and discovering everything from delicious food to ancient Roman ruins. We spent the day exploring the ancient ruins of the Citadel, taking 100’s of picture at Roman Theatre in downtown, eating the best falafel and hummus at Hashem and ending the day on a sweet and sugary note by indulging in mouth-watering Kunafa at Habibah. Now we couldn’t have asked for a better start to this expedition.
Next morning, after a quick briefing session, we excitedly took charge of our specially arranged Land cruisers and got exploring. The first destination on our expedition was Dana Nature Reserve. Offering a spectacular blend of mountains and desert landscapes, along with extraordinary botanic diversity, Dana Nature Reserve is one of its kind. To reach our destination, we took one of the Middle East’s most scenic and ancient routes – the 280 km long kings highway.
Meandering on the highway, the sight of our 14 Land cruisers going up and down the slopes was just unmissable, and we are glad to have captured it on our cam. One of the cool experiences at Dana Nature Reserve, apart from off-roading, was our stay at Feynan ecolodge. This lodge located in the southwestern end of the Dana Nature Reserve was completely off the grid and the stay here rewarded us a sky full of stars. We could even spot some constellations, including Orion.
Next day, we continued our drive to the moon like landscape of Wadi Rum Desert. Described by Lawrence of Arabia as a “vast, echoing and moon like landscape”, Wadi Rum is the world’s richest and largest archaeological site set in a spectacular red sandstone landscape. During our 2 days stay, we all took turns to drive in its dramatic sandstone landscape, witness stunning sunrise and sunset, enjoyed glamping and more.
The desert of Wadi Rum is a Hollywood favourite, with films like “The Last Days on Mars”, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, “The Martian” to name a few. And, since we were here, we decided it was time to pose like an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars.
Next up was the much-awaited visit to the lost city of Petra. Who hasn’t heard about lost city of Petra in Jordan – one of the new 7 Wonders of the World! The magnificent hand-carved architecture of Petra is Jordan’s number one tourist attraction (and a UNESCO Heritage Site). We ticked off Petra from our bucket list in style. We visited this wonder twice in a day… Once to see it during the day and again at night, to witness Petra lit by candles, moon and stars.
After having our fill of this archaeological ruins, we hit the road for one last time on the expedition to reach our destination – Dead Sea. We drove through the Dead Sea highway, parts of which are 350 metres below sea level. While the drive kept us all excited, we looked forward to our picnic lunch this day. While all our picnic lunches were planned at unique locations, this one was right overlooking the dead sea.
Continuing our journey onward, we took a short detour and made our way to Mount Nebo, the site of Moses’ tomb. At this popular pilgrimage site, we witnessed the panoramic views of the holy land and one of the most beautiful sunsets in Jordan.
After reaching Dead Sea, he handed over the keys of our beloved Land cruisers and retired for the day. Next day, it was time for some rest and relaxation. We felt absolutely pampered when we grabbed a handful of the mud that lines the banks of Dead Sea, smeared it on our body and waded into the intense blue water, only to find that it’s possible to defy gravity and float here without needing to know how to swim. Such a surreal feeling bobbing on top of the water and posing like Instagram celebrities.
The day ended with endless laughter, intense conversations and a few too many drinks as we handed over the certificates to the participants and looked back on the days gone by. Oh, how can we miss, our local guide – Moayyad, who looked like an absolute royalty being dressed in dishdashah (traditional Jordanian dress) and everyone took turns to get their photos clicked with him as souvenir.
Jordan hasn’t been less than a paradise for us with warm and welcoming people, history, nature, beautiful sites and delicious food!
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