So I've just got back from a short eleven-day trip to Jordan, my first ever visit to the Middle East. Before the report, here's a bit of background.
I flew from Heathrow to Amman with BMI. The return flight was around £200. I think EasyJet also fly direct from London, possibly for less. I hired a car from Amman airport with Alamo. The car was fine, although I wasted money hiring a SatNav, which was almost totally useless. I still managed to find my way around without it, bar the occasional wrong turn. Driving in Jordan is mostly quite straightforward because the roads are usually good and there's not very much traffic away from the cities. Jordanian driving is sometimes a bit quirky but I've seen worse. Pedestrians and dogs occasionally exhibit suicidal tendencies. I usually stayed in cheap hotels, mostly booked in advance through Hostelworld. Places to stay are abundant in tourist areas but less frequent elsewhere. Prices are generally somewhat lower than Western Europe, although entrance fees can be rather high e.g. at Petra, which is 50JD (c.£45) for one day, though better value if you go for two days or more.
Itinerary and gen:
The crucial reference for birding in Jordan is Ian Andrews' 1995 book 'The Birds of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
'. This is very useful and has details about sites and the status and distribution of various species. It's a little out of date now of course. Andrews' 'Birding in Jordan
' website has slightly more recent info, although it's not been updated for eight years.
Two recent trip reports were very helpful - BF's own action hero Jos Stratford visited last winter
, and there is an extremely detailed report from spring 2011 by Thomas Petterson
that includes extensive details of various sites not mentioned in Andrews.
My itinerary was as follows:
December 29th: Arrive Amman, night at Montreal Hotel, Shobak
December 30th: Wadi Dana, night at Tower Hotel, Dana
December 31st: Wadi Dana and Little Petra, night at Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp, Little Petra
January 1st: Petra and Little Petra, night at Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp
January 2nd: Wadi Rum, night at Bedouin Garden Village, Aqaba
January 3rd: Aqaba, night at Bedouin Garden Village
January 4th: Aqaba, night at Bedouin Garden Village
January 5th: Wadi Araba, Dead Sea, night at Queen Ayola Hotel, Madaba
January 6th: Kafrayn, Shaumari, night at Zubi Hotel, Azraq
January 7th: Azraq, night at Zubi Hotel
Janaury 8th: Shaumari, Madaba, night at Queen Ayola Hotel
January 9th: Flight back to Heathrow and then Aberdeen