Jordan’s Dana Nature Reserve: Photo Essay
The Dana Nature Reserve in Jordan first appeared to be only the rubble and ruins of a century old city upon arrival but left me inspired from its resilient resurgence in tourism and conservation before my departure. I spent an afternoon wandering the village, meeting the locals, and climbing on top of the crumbling walls to photograph the reconstruction project. It was quite an experience staying in Dana for the night and listening to plans of progress for this once abandoned part of the country.
Contributions from USAID and dedication from the Jordan Tourism Development Project (Siyaha) are slowly rebuilding this magnificent mountain community, stone by stone, from the crumbling walls.
Often overshadowed by iconic destinations in the Hashemite Kingdom such as the Nebatean Tombs in the Petra Valley or the desert battlegrounds of Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt, the Dana Biosphere is charming and impressive in its own ways.
Researchers here in the reserve are uncovering artifacts dating back 6,000 years, adding to what many consider the most important archeological discoveries outside of the Petra.
Walking the ruins and examining the efforts to bring the stone and mud Neolithic dwellings back to life as a rustic boutique style accommodation for tourists is rather impressive.
Vistors, like you and I, fund the restoration projects and the socio-economic development that has brought jobs back to an area once abandoned due to lack of basic amenities and employment.
Natural treasures found here contain the most diverse array of flora and fauna in Jordan in four distinct biospheres ranging from sand dunes in the lower Wadi Araba to the Juniper forests high along the Great Rift Valley.
Arriving at Dana’s altitude after a day at the Dead Sea I welcomed the cool air and contrast in scenery. Vegetation is one thing the desert has a hard time sustaining and I enjoyed the junipers and olive trees near the natural springs outside the village that provide its water source.
Tourists taking advantage of the many hiking trails, rustic encampments, or guided wildlife tours may have a chance to see animals rarely spotted anywhere else in Jordan to include Striped Hyena, Syrian Wolves and Nubian Ibex.
Below is a picture of my neighbor for the evening who was kind enough to wake me up at sunrise.
If you have the chance to visit the reserve look into spending at least one day exploring the many hiking trails of the valley below. They are not what you would want to attempt for just a quick hike as reaching the low lands of the Dani Wadi will take some time and it is best not to rush yourself or your vacation.
For more on what Jordan has to offer visit their tourist information page found here: http://www.visitjordan.com