Jordan

Why We Love It

For many people, Jordan equals one word – ‘Petra’. It’s one of the iconic images of travel – the pink face of the hidden city, the beautiful facade of the ancient building. And it’s a must for any trip there, but it’s far from the full story. My most memorable moments in the Jordan have probably been in the Wadi Rum. It’s a truly magical landscape, a place with the serenity that only deserts can possess. But the real pleasure is the companionship of the locals - to camp under the dark velvet skies and canopy of stars after an evening of stories and songs with Bedouin locals is one of my favourite travel memories. Dana Nature Reserve is not a place first-time visitors have heard of, but it sums up much of what’s so great about the country’s landscape. It’s unbelievably varied in such a small area. Sub-tropical plants shoulder up alongside desert species. Terrain changes markedly in just a few kilometres. It makes a walk here for a few hours a great exploration. Likewise Aqaba. The country’s stretch of sand along the Red Sea is fantastic for a little snorkelling or diving. Jordan’s been conscientious in conserving the reef here, so the abundance of life – the rainbow of fish, the gardens of soft coral – makes for a spectacular splash in the water, and a brilliant contrast with the stark beauty of Wadi Rum. But, okay, I can’t finish this without mentioning the King of Jordan, travel-wise at least. Petra – don’t settle for any travel brochure or film to convey the majesty of the place. Nothing can compare with being face-to-face with it, and the site is unexpectedly huge – two days here is ideal if you really want to get a feeling for the scale and many different characters of the remains, and if you want to catch the beauty at its best, aglow in a luminous red sunset.