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Jordan off limits for birders? (1 Viewer)

hanswurst

Member
Few weeks ago, I was just briefly asked whether I intend to take my camera (7D+400mm) out of the country again, they didn't even ask about my binoculars. Took one minute at the most.
 

PennineBirder

Well-known member
Just a quick update to add to this old post in case anyone was considering a Jordan birding trip and might be deterred by some of the experiences mentioned here. I have just returned from a 10 day trip to Jordan (part birding, part archaeology) and had no problems with the authorities with regards to binoculars. Airport security did hand search my (and others) cabin bags containing binoculars on the way out of Amman airport as they had shown up on the x-ray machine but there was no problem or delay and we were allowed through. Bottles of water, unlike UK airports, were allowed through without question which seemed to me a far more sensible security procedure than we are used to in Europe.
The birding in Jordan was excellent but the raptor migration along the Jordan valley and at Aqaba was not as impressive in late Sept as I had hoped but still lots to see. As long as birders take some sensible steps such as not birding across military bases and the like, it is a great place to go.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
I had heard of this problem before with Tunisia, but not Jordan. I ended up backing out of a planned trip to Tunisia a few years ago because I couldn't get a straight answer on whether bins, scopes, DSLRs with telephoto lenses, laptops etc were alllowed in. I tried the Tunisian Tourism Authority offices in London and Tunis, and the British Consulate in Tunis as well. The consulate seems to think that getting your stuff confiscated couldn't possibly happen, but couldn't advise on a surefire means of ensuring things would be OK. The Tunisian tourism authorities in London told me everything would be fine on the phone but when I asked for that in writing refused. Their Tunis-based counterparts told me that I would need to hire an official guide for my trip in order to be able to bring optics in ... but then I guess tourism authorities do exist to maximise the amount of money tourism brings in to their country, so they were only doing their job...

Tom, you could try the equivalent organisations in respect of Jordan. You never know, you might have better luck.

anyone know if this is still an issue in Jordan. Have heard it is now in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, so maybe spreading as a problem.
 

Andrea-Bologna

Well-known member
no problem in april 2019

I know that an organized group of Italian birders and photographers, more or less friends of mine, have been in Jordan in April 2019. I know they did not have any trouble, despite of using bino's, scopes and of course various cameras. Important fact is, I think, that they usually were accompanied by local guides. Once, being at the Israeli border, they also had a military authorization and escort.
 

Acrocephalus

Well-known member
Morocco
Morocco

anyone know if this is still an issue in Jordan. Have heard it is now in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, so maybe spreading as a problem.

For Morocco, the case happened recently was just one of those very rare incidents, no more. There is no new law or something similar. For more details please read this blog-post: Are birding optics banned from entry in Morocco?. Google it here or see this thread (scroll down to post #12) where I already linked to it.
 

dandsblair

David and Sarah
Latest update

We have just returned from a standard tour but having heard about trouble getting in with scope and large SLR we took just our compact binoculars and a small zoom camera for incidental birding.

We had no trouble getting into Aqaba but had three lots of security checks with camera and small bins being examined and swabbed three times and us held up for about an hour when getting out.

Not sure if it is due to heightened security - American peace plan being announced and possible unrest forecast had anything to do with the change from getting in v out.
Really glad we did what we did although my photos Rosefinch and Wheatear are pretty rubbish on the little Lumix.

One guy with only 300mm lens and SLR took even more time to get through security on the way out but again didn't get stopped on arrival.
 

opisska

rabid twitcher
Czech Republic
Update on the problem of getting optics to Jordan: our friends have just returned from the border crossing in Eilat/Aqaba - they tried to enter Jodan with DSLRs with long lenses and birding scopes and were not allowed to enter, ended up returning to Israel. At one point they were told that at least binoculars will be permitted, but that was later also rescinded - and without any optics whatsoever they decided that it's not worth even entering the country. Sadly the Israeli exit fee is non-refundable ...

We were quite considering Jordan, but seeing that this is still going on, crazier than ever, we can't really be bothered.
 
Update on the problem of getting optics to Jordan: our friends have just returned from the border crossing in Eilat/Aqaba - they tried to enter Jodan with DSLRs with long lenses and birding scopes and were not allowed to enter, ended up returning to Israel. At one point they were told that at least binoculars will be permitted, but that was later also rescinded - and without any optics whatsoever they decided that it's not worth even entering the country. Sadly the Israeli exit fee is non-refundable ...

We were quite considering Jordan, but seeing that this is still going on, crazier than ever, we can't really be bothered.
Good to know- was seriously considering Jordan for a visit soon .
 

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Update on the problem of getting optics to Jordan: our friends have just returned from the border crossing in Eilat/Aqaba - they tried to enter Jodan with DSLRs with long lenses and birding scopes and were not allowed to enter, ended up returning to Israel. At one point they were told that at least binoculars will be permitted, but that was later also rescinded - and without any optics whatsoever they decided that it's not worth even entering the country. Sadly the Israeli exit fee is non-refundable ...

We were quite considering Jordan, but seeing that this is still going on, crazier than ever, we can't really be bothered.
Huge thanks for this. Was seriously considering returning but this makes it a non-starter.
 

janel

Member
Huge thanks for this. Was seriously considering returning but this makes it a non-starter.
We have just returned from birding in Jordan, we had 4 pairs of bins, scope and telephoto camera.
Flight landed 12.30 midnight and no checks at all. Whilst travelling around there are various police checks to go through, only stopped 3 times, you say hello, you say you come from London and everything is smiles. Once near observatory in Aqaba (near Israeli border) one of us stupidly left bins around neck, soldier handled them a lot but was only interested in the dollar price, which we said were a few hundred.
On exit through airport it was different, we had suitcases cursorily searched. All rucksacks were asked to be emptied but two of us ignored that and walked off as guards busy The other bins, scope and camera were swabbed and a record was made of equipment with passport details. There were two stops on exit, I think they wanted us to put optics in suitcase.
We never felt that anything was going to be permanently taken from us, they like to huddle and chat but not hostile in the airport.
I would definitely say that the risk is very low in our experience but you need to allow at least 15 mins extra at airport.
I did take out insurance before I left and made sure I would be covered on a confiscation but wouldn’t bother again.
It was a fabulous 12 day holiday and we loved everything. Burqa was magnificent, we were overwhelmed with species.
 

janel

Member
Di you climb up the hillock to the ruins and use that as a vantage point overlooking the waters? Stunner of a place, and one I recommend to all birders to see on a migration period!
It was every birder's dream, so many birds we could hardly take it all in. We did not go up hillock, you can drive 90% around the lake and as we approached the ruins we realised that was the end of the road so we turned around. Would definitely like to go back but I presume it is a hit and miss destination with the water levels and we struck lucky.
 

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