Dead Sea Salt Beach

Located at the Southern part of the Dead Sea, not very well known location, despite the fact that you would see it very clear while driving on the Dead Sea road coming from Aqaba city and after you pass the dry area that separate the upper part from the lower part of the Dead Sea. Despite that you can see it, but it looks far away to reach for different reasons.


The closest point from the main street to the beach is around 500 meters only, but the tough terrains that you can see on the way will not encourage you to take that walk, and you won’t imagine how much it is easy and joyful till you do it … You won’t imagine what is it all about till you walk on the Salt Beach itself, where the whole beach consists of layers and layers of just salts , just few meters after walking, you will find out that even the close sand and stones to street side are mixed with high amount of salts as well. Other factors that won’t encourage you to go for it is that it is difficult to find a corner to park your vehicle, and there is no trail or path to follow ( it is hard terians as I said) and you need to draw you trail before starting walking which would make things easier and Safe.


I’ve been running the Two Day tour that covers in summer time ( April – October): Petra, Wadi Rum, Dana Reserve , Mujib Reserve (Mujib Siq Trail) and the Dead Sea. And it covers in winter season (November-March): Petra, Wadi Rum, Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea; and as you can tell this is very crowded schedule in both seasons, but after deep review I found out that it would be possible to add the Salt beach to my tour specially in winter season, by replacing it with Aqaba visit, by this way we would reach the resort beach for swimming before sunset time. So we would have two stops at the Dead Sea: First at the Salt Beach and the second at the resort beach. Some maybe asking why to visit the second beach and the answer is that Salt beach is an open area and it has no services at all ( no showers , no WC ..No clean water for washing and it is crucial to wash up your body when you are done with swimming or floating at the Dead Sea because of the high density of salts on the water and the bad feeling that you would feel when you come out from the water, you would simply feel that you were swimming in a pool of oil, for this it is a must to take shower which is not available at the Salt Beach …



Dead Sea Salts Beach, is one of the unknown, amazing place to see while you are visiting the Dead Sea. Sadly you won’t see this in hotel beaches or close to them…








By Mustafa Nofal

Jordan Private Tours and Travel

Amazing photos for Andromeda Galaxy from Wadi Rum

Mustafa Nofal – One of best deep-sky objects of autumn is the Andromeda Galaxy, or Messier 31, that is now accessible low in the east-northeast by 10pm local time in Jordan and Western Europe. By the end of September, when the Moon is again near new and the lunar glow has left the night, M31 can be observed at the same position by 8pm.

Some 2.5 million light-years away, M31 is often quoted as being the most distant object that we can see with the unaided eye on moonless nights from locations free of light pollution. Around 220,000 light-years in diameter, M31 is a spiral galaxy about 1.5 times larger than our Milky Way, making it the largest member of the Local Group. It could contain a trillion (1012) stars.

At its stated distance the Andromeda Galaxy has an angular size of about 5 degrees — the same as the apparent field of view of a typical 10×50 binocular. For this reason, when it comes to making observations of M31, very low magnification instruments under very dark skies will often deliver the most memorable views.


Star-hopping to the Andromeda Galaxy ( Jordan – Wadi Rum )

If you wish to see M31 from Jordan over the next few nights about 10 pm BST then you will need a clear eastern horizon away from the glare of streetlights. A rural site is always best like Wadi Rum , Feynan Eco Lodge or Dana Natural Reserve , particularly where no towns lie to the east. The Moon is currently a very young waxing crescent and will not become obtrusive in Jordan skies until around 8 September ( This differ during the month ) . A telescope would give you a nice view , and you mostly will get nice photos if you are using a DSLR camera, where you need to set the exposure time to 30 second, aperture to minimum ( maximum light in ) , and set your camera ISO to 12800 if available on the camera …


Wadi Rum is the Best for sky stargazing in Jordan. 

The following photos were taken during Dec last year 2015 from Jordan – Wadi Rum area at around 9-10 PM, I was using my DSLR Nikon D5300 with 18-55mm lense.

Photos were taken by Mustafa Nofal


“Welcome to Jordan!” Seven tips to help you achieve total local immersion

Written by Cherry Ott

Upon arriving in Jordan, the first thing you’ll hear is, “Where are you from?” And the second, almost every time, is: “Ahhh…Welcome! Welcome to Jordan!”

In Jordan, expect to be welcomed multiple times from tour guides, bus drivers, shop venders, kids, taxi drivers, and people randomly on the street. The locals kill you with kindness. I found myself traveling more local and closer to the ground than I had ever done in another country because Jordan is the type of country where finding local experiences are easy.

If you open yourself up to the people of Jordan and trust them, you’ll be rewarded tenfold. The hard part is changing your initial preconceptions about the Middle East. After I got my legs under me and started getting comfortable with Jordan, I found that by simply saying yes to things I would normally say no to, I was dropped right in the middle of local life.

So remember: there’s more to travel than ticking off the sites. Sometimes going local will leave you with the most memorable experience from your whole trip.

Take the bus to some lesser-known spots


There’s no better way to experience a culture than through it’s local transportation. The local bus system around Amman is not designed for tourists, or any people who can’t really read Arabic for that matter. There is some sort of prescribed route to the bus, but there are no specific bus stops. You simply stand by the side of the road and flag it down as if you were hailing a cab. This sounds quite easy – right? Wrong.

If you don’t read Arabic, you have no idea which bus to try to flag down. But once you start talking to the locals and asking for help, all kinds of wonderful things can happen! While on my way to see the sites in Amman via bus, I had people frequently pay for my bus fares, wait with me until I found the right bus, ensure that I got off in the right place, and I even had a person ride with me all the way from another city to just make sure I made the transfer correctly and got home safely. Amazing!

Stay at locally-owned hotels


“Yella! You are in charge!” yelled Mo as he headed towards the door. “If anyone stops in, tell them that we have two rooms available and have them wait here until I get back.” I looked up from my laptop, my eyes met his, and realized he was talking to ME – I was in charge. Mo was the owner of the Cleopatra Hotel in Wadi Musa (the town closest to Petra) and he was actually what made my time visiting Petra so much fun. His business card read:

Mosleh Farajat

Peacemaker, Helpful and honest advice as you need it.

Cleopatra provided much more than a room; they provided a fun community atmosphere. They cooked up group meals each night and they served about 16 people in their small little dining room each evening. Impromptu dance parties in the lobby, backgammon lessons, great recommendations on local eats, and Mo even drove me around Wadi Musa showing me the sites. They even facilitated early breakfast so you could be the first to enter Petra in the morning. You don’t get that type of local service in the big chain hotels!


Embrace bread

Bread seems to be the main staple in the Arabic diet. It comes in all shapes and sizes; puffy, thin, really thin, really really thin, crunchy, soft, round, with sesame, with wheat… But there is one thing that is always the same about the bread: it’s baked by men. And those men love to show off their bread.

Whenever I got close to a bakery with my camera I was immediately invited inside. Not just inside, but to the deep, dark back rooms where the bread is baked. The behind-the-scenes tours varied, but I would always get them without fail. I was welcomed enthusiastically in the store, asked where I was from, and then welcomed again.

Drink tea!


When you are asked to drink tea with someone in Jordan, know that it’s not really about the taste of the tea, it’s about the social aspect. Just as other cultures frequently ask “how are you?” Jordanians ask “would you like some tea?”

I drank “Chai” which means tea in arabic with some Bedouin craft women early in the morning in Petra. I drank tea with young men in a chicken restaurant where they also insisted I share their roasted chicken, falafel and a coke. I drank tea and chatted for 40 minutes with a man in his tobacco shop and even learned how to roll cigarettes. I drank tea with a woman who simply walked by me, asked me where I was from, and then proceeded to invite me into her home. For tea. Tea is the ultimate social lubricant in Jordan, so drink up!

Wander the lesser-known towns


There are tons of things to see and do in Amman, but if you want to dig a little deeper, then take the bus to some of the communities on the outskirts to get a better feel for local life. All you have to do is walk around, and of course you’ll start meeting people and being invited inside.

The community of Salt is the perfect village to get a feel for local life. Nestled in the hills outside of Amman, Salt was once the most important settlement in the area between the Jordan Valley and the eastern desert. Because of its history as an important trading link between the eastern desert and the west, it was a significant place for the region’s many rulers.

Today, it’s set up for tourism, but few people break away from the sites of Amman to visit. It has a great market and shopping street and the if you keep heading up the winding streets you’ll end up with spectacular views of the village, and you’ll meet plenty of inquisitive locals along the way.


Read More: How to find a good storyteller tour guide!


Visit a Bedouin Community


The backbone of Jordan is found in the Bedouin communities (at the Middle of Desert). These people (and their traditions) still exist in Jordan and they will treat you to a whole new type of local experience. I stayed among a Bedouin community at the Feynan Ecolodge located near the Dana Reserve. The lodge employs about 27 local Bedouin as staff who handle tasks ranging from cooking, to reception duties and even candle making (because the lodge is has no electricity!).

During the day you can explore the biosphere reserve or hike around the area and meet the local community. And as with anywhere else Jordan, there’s a good chance you’ll be invited into someone’s tent for tea!

By night, enjoy the candlelight and the starry skies from the roof of the Ecolodge.


Read More: Jordan Nature Reserves


Just Say Yes!


The absolute best way to ‘get local’ in Jordan is to just say “YES!”. If you say “YES!” when you are invited into someone’s home, shop, restaurant, tent or anywhere else, you’ll likely be welcomed with kindness and forge some of your favourite memories from the tour.

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My first impression visiting historical places in jordan

Written by Anuradha Goyal

This was my first visit to Jordan, in fact, the first visit to the Arab World. Even during all my Europe / America travels I never used an airline that passed through the Middle East. So I was excited to explore a new region. And add to it the fact that I would get to see two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I came back happier than I had expected. Here are my Visit Jordan First Impressions.

Emptiness – the First Emotion!
As we drove into the Amman city from Queen Alia International Airport on a bright afternoon, all I saw was the monotone all around me. All the buildings had the pale color of sandstone with tones differing only in nuances. It was surreal for someone coming from colorful India and if I may add hyper-colored Goa. From my room on the 21st floor of Le Royal Hotel, I got a lovely view of the city of Amman. But it took me some time to adjust to the monotone. I would later learn that the color scheme is by design. Everyone is expected to follow it though some ghastly glass and steel buildings have made their way into the perfect setting.

The emotion that I felt was – ‘Veerana’ – emptiness that moves from around you to inside you.


Food Spread – Jordan


Tangy Lemon to beat the Heat

Thankfully, Jordanian or rather middle eastern cuisine has some options for vegetarians like me. However, all the options are sour – or let’s say carry a strong lemon flavor. Day 1 we enjoyed it, Day 2 we noticed it, Day 3 we wondered and discussed it, Day 4 we joked about it. And Day 5 onwards we expected it as part of every dish and drink. When we asked about it, locals said we love the lemony taste. It helps us keep cool in this hot weather. The lemonade used to be so full of lemon that we could make 4 glasses of Indian lemonade from a single glass. Salads used to be dipped in lemon juice. Hummus and Baba Ghanoush has different levels of lemon in different places but never without it.

A dish made of hung curd was so sour that none of us could take a second bite of it and that became our benchmark for the height of lemon in a dish.

My tongue would always remember visit Jordan trip for its dominant lemon flavors.


Forget Serving Spoons – Eat together!

All the food that was served in a common dish never had serving spoons, though we did have spoons with our individual plates. Initially, we thought they forgot to put the serving spoons – it is not easy to manage tables for large groups but we soon realized this is a norm. Most of the times when we asked for serving spoons we got the blank stares. We, of course, switched to using a part of our cutlery for serving ourselves.

They probably expect the group to eat from the same plate. Sometimes even the larger bread were also served together – probably to make us learn the meaning of ‘Breaking Bread’.
Woman – Cover yourself head to Toe?
Now our popular media image of women in the Middle East is covered in a Black Burqa from head to Toe or at least wearing a headscarf. So I and most other women in the group read up on the Internet before packing our bags and it seems we all read the same stuff. We packed our clothes conservatively only to discover how the wrong Internet can be sometimes. Yes, there is not much of skin showing but then the weather does not even permit that. At a high-end hotel in Amman, we saw the wedding guests dressed up like they would do for a cocktail party in LA. At Rainbow Street in Amman, we saw women wearing normal clothes and enjoying themselves in restaurants – smoking cigarettes and Shisha. These were mostly local woman, not tourists.

When you Visit Jordan, especially its tourist places like Petra and Aqaba, women are dressed like any other tourist place. There were spaghetti tops and shorts without anyone intimidating them. And without them feeling awkward being dressed like that. Yes, the traditional women like Bedouins in Petra did cover themselves head to toe. But let me tell you that is what anyone would do in that hot and dusty environment.

This experience told me to take what the Internet tells me with a pinch of salt.


From the streets of Madaba


Don’t ask me my religion!

Jordan is primarily an Islamic country with >90% population following this religion. However, our guide kept repeating that it is considered impolite to ask someone’s religion, as everyone is free to follow whatever religion they want. Everyone is treated equally by law and no one judges the other on the basis of his or her religion. He went on to defend the popular perceptions of Islam like polygamy and non-acceptance of idol worship. He kept repeating that what is attributed to Islam existed pretty much before the advent of Islam.

I could see the peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians in places like Madaba. I would reserve my opinion on this till I get to speak to a few Jordanian people about it – that incidentally did not happen on this trip.


Mid night in Petra/ by Mustafa Nofal


Visit Jordan to explore History

Jordan is a treasure chest for history enthusiasts. Everyone knows about Petra, but Jerash – a Roman town that can be seen in its entirety even though it is in ruins, enthralled me. So did Aqaba, where I accidentally met the ruins of the 7th CE city of Ayla that incidentally had trade connections with India back then. In fact, this piece of information made me think that both Jordan and India are old countries. And there is no way there would be no connections between the two. How exciting it would be to explore and find those connections! Our common past would help us come together in present and future.

In their current political status, Jordan is only a year older to India as it became independent in 1946 while we got our independence in 1947.

Read: Petra Day Trip – In Depth Discovery Tour and FAQs

Hospitality – the Classic way
We all loved the hospitality extended to us by Jordan Tourism board – including all the participating hotels that graciously hosted us in Amman, Petra, Aqaba and the Dead Sea. It was the hospitality on the street that stole my heart. We stopped by many tents during our Jeep Safari in Wadi Rum and everyone offered us tea that was being made on a wood fire, without expecting anything from us. They were shop owners selling things, but they would let us sit in their places to relax and offer tea without asking. And no they did not even take money for that.

In the streets of Madaba when we were shopping and looking at artists working with mosaic, we were offered fruits and tea just like we offer it to a guest at home. This offering was never linked to the purchase being made. And was always offered with a lot of affection and respect.

Almost everyone began the conversation by saying ‘Welcome to Jordan’. And would switch to Bollywood as soon as they figured out we were Indians. Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini seem to be hot favorites followed by the Khans. The power of Bollywood to take India to the world was all out there for us to see.

How we wish the whole world was like that!


Read: A discovery trip to Wadi Rum – Marse Valley

Network Everywhere
We were provided with a SIM card that was 4G compatible. The speed and availability of the network made me wonder throughout the trip. We got the same level of the network in the middle of Red Sea – that also shares waters with neighboring countries Egypt and “Israel”. We got an excellent network in the middle of the desert of Wadi Rum. In fact, all the Bedouin tribals were on Facebook. And so well connected with the world from their red and black tents in the middle of what seemed like nowhere. This is when I realized that if we can give our youth the power of Internet, they might do the rest to better their lives.

Now, just imagine me writing this on a BSNL provided network that is so last century!

6 days went in a jiffy. And I think I was just about introduced to Jordan. But I have a long list of destinations to see next time when I Visit Jordan.

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A Discovery Trip to Wadi Rum – Moon Valley

Jordan Private Tours and Travel

Written by Mustafa Nofal

Rum Valley is a glorious and unique place located at the southern desert – part of Jordan, and you would reach it after 3-4 hours of driving from Amman via the desert highway, and I usually use to recommend visiting of Wadi Rum as a part of Petra visit for two main reasons: if you have a very limited time to spend in Jordan – like two days only – then it would be possible to do Petra day tour, and move afterwards toward Wadi Rum, where you could spend the night at one of the Bedouin camps, either at Rum Reserve itself or at Al-Desi area (which is out of the reserve), I’ll talk about the differences on both areas at Wadi Rum, which might be so confusing for some travelers , while other won’t see any difference (there is a big difference actually and…

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Delicious Middle Eastern Food I Discovered in Jordan

Have you been in Jordan before? if not, this piece of article will guide you to discover different kind of food in the middle east for your upcoming visit tour to Jordan, to enjoy down town walk with sweet fruit that comes from Date Palm, and Kanafah.. to taste traditional breakfast Falafel and Shawerma, some jordanian traditional dish as Mansaf, also you have to try Zarb in the middle of Wadi Rum desert and more.

This is to let you know you are more than welcome to Jordan.

Written by Melissa Hie

On the first week of May 2016, I went on a week-long trip to Jordan as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board. This post is a round-up of all the delicious food I discovered in Jordan. All I’m saying is – get ready for the onslaught of food pictures because I ate non-stop in Jordan!

1. Za’atar

Before coming to Jordan, I had never heard of Za’atar. However, I soon discovered the importance of Za’atar to the middle east cuusine as it became an significant part of my days in Jordan – It’s practically on every meal!

Za’atar is the Arabic word for Wild Thyme, a well-loved herb here in the middle east. However, what most people would refer to as Za’atar is not just Wild Thyme – instead it’s a blend of many herbs. The most basic ingredients of a Za’atar is Wild Thyme itself mixed with Sumac, Sesame and some salt, but different countries would have its own blend with other herbs such as Oregano and Corriander added.

Just how significant is Za’atar to Jordanians? I was told you can most definitely find a bag of Za’atar in every household in Jordan. Za’atar is kind of like what Peanut Butter is to Americans. The taste is a little tangy, savory and very flavorful, making it an excellent pair for bread with olive oil.

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2. Kanafeh

Kanafeh is a Levantine dessert that is popular in Arabic countries. It is made with white cheese, topped with crunchy pastry, then drenched in sweet syrup and what I originally thought was butter but turns out to be Ghee (goat butter) and topped with crushed up pistachio and cashew. It’s very decadent. My eyes nearly popped out of its sockets when I first bit into a fresh slice of Kanafeh.

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3. Mezze

Mezze comes from Persian word “to taste”. As the name might have indicated, you get to have a variety of food in one session. The dishes are small so you can eat for hours and taste everything. Similar to the concept of tapas in Spain!

4. Hidden Meaning behind a cup of Coffee

Coffee is an important part of the Middle Eastern culture. During my visit, we drove around a lot and made copious coffee stops. I learned about how the way you offer coffee to your guest or the way your coffee is being served has plenty of hidden meaning in Bedouin culture.

For example, it is an unspoken rule that coffee must always be served to your left, even if the most important person is sitting on your right. You must never ever serve coffee with your left hand unless you’re purposely expressing disrespect or anger. Whenever a guest comes to visit, you must be ready with a cup of hot coffee because lukewarm (or even worse, cold) coffee is considered rude.

Since Jordan was part of the Ottoman empire, it’s not surprising that Turkish Coffee is a popular choice here. Cardamom is also often added to coffee in Middle East, which was interesting since I am used to Cardamom with tea, but adding it to coffee is a new concept for me.

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5. Maqluba

In Arabic, Maqluba literally means “upside-down”. The dish gets its name from the way it is served: All ingredients are all first cooked in a large pot, then when it comes the time to serve, the pot is brought outside of the kitchen and turned upside down onto a large metal tray. The pot is then lifted, resulting in a delicious pile of rice, chicken, potatoes, and cauliflower. It is then topped with fried peanuts and fresh parsley, before eaten communally with yogurt and tomato-cucumber salad. No extra plates needed! So delicious.

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6. Traditional Breakfast in Jordan

When I am traveling, breakfast is often my favorite meal of the day. What people eat for breakfast often also tells a lot about the culture of the place, so I am always looking forward to waking up and eating!

I discovered that Jordanians eat flatbread for breakfast (something I will expand in a future post) – especially Manakish / Man’ousheh with various topping, which I call the Arabic Pizza! My favorite Manakish is the one with White Cheese and Za’atar topping.

Other breakfast items you includes olives, pickled eggplant, grilled Haloumi cheese, as well as more bread with orange marmalade and goat butter (which by the way, is a HEAVENLY combination).

Other breakfast items you includes olives, pickled eggplant, grilled Haloumi cheese, as well as more bread with orange marmalade and goat butter (which by the way, is a HEAVENLY combination).

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Aside of Manakish, they would also often have Falafel, Hummus, Muttabal and Ful Medames with bread. Falafel and Hummus can be commonly found outside of middle east, but Ful (a stew of fava beans with oil and lemon) was something new for me. Again, everything is eaten by scooping it with flatbread and adding Hummus. Someone in Jordan told me Hummus is basically like ketchup to them!

This breakfast spread below is from the legendary Hashem restaurant in Amman. Hashem is actually a very simple restaurant that may even qualify to be called as a street food, but it serves a feast fit for a King, literally, as the Royal Jordanian family had been spotted casually having breakfast here. I personally really enjoyed the Stuffed Falafels on top left, which is green falafels stuffed with onions and topped with roasted sesame. And of course, the silky Hummus.

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7. Zarb

Get yourself ready for this – Zarb is a Bedouin Barbecue feast that is cooked underground for four hours. Yes, they have an oven underground!

First, the meat (chicken and lamb) is marinated with blend of spices and placed on a tiered tray with cut vegetables. Then the tray is placed into an underground oven that has been pre-heated an hour before. The oven opening is then covered with sheets of Aluminum foil and a carpet before being buried in sand and left for four hours.

After four hours, the tray is lifted out and meal is served. The result is the most tender, juiciest meat I have ever tasted. What’s more is that because the vegetables are cooked together inside the same oven, it has absorbed plenty of flavor from the spices and meat, making them even more delicious!

Zarb has got to be my favorite meal on Wadi Rum trip… and that’s saying a lot since I had tons of amazing food in Jordan!!

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8. Limonana / Limonada

Limonana was my drink of choice in Jordan. It’s a popular drink in the middle east, made of lemon juice and fresh mint leaves, served frozen as a slushie. They call “smoothie” there but there is no dairy involved. For me, in order for something to be called a “smoothie” it has to contain creamy texture – otherwise it’s a “slushie”. What do you think?

Anyways, Limonana is the perfect drink to cool down on a relaxing hot afternoon by the pool.

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9. Shawarma Wrap

Shawarma Wrap is yet another middle eastern cuisine that is so delicious that it has been adopted all over the world.

Shawarma is made by stacking slices of meat and fat onto a vertical spit, which will rotate and grill the meat for long hours – sometimes even an entire day. Once it is ready, the meat is shaved off with a large knife and collected at the bottom of the spit, before being made into delicious wrap with onion, fresh vegetable and Tahini sauce.
10. Barazek

Barazek is a syrian crispy butter cookie covered in toasted sesame, honey and pistachio. This cookie is very popular in the Levantine region and often eaten with coffee or tea. I brought back a tin of Barazek for my office and everyone loved it!
11. Falafel Sandwich

Falafel is a made of finely ground chick peas and fava beans mixed with herbs, then deep-fried to perfection. It’s often served inside a flatbread sandwich which is grilled on the outside, stuffed with fresh vegetables and lined with Tahini sauce. It is perfect for Vegetarians.

I had the best Falafel sandwich of my life at Al Quds in Rainbow Street in Amman. This was actually my first meal right after I landed in Jordan. I originally told Ramzi, my guide for the week, that I only wanted half a sandwich since I wasn’t feeling hungry. However, one bite into the sandwich and I was sold – I ate the entire thing in less than five minutes!

The freshly fried falafel mixed with crunchy fresh tomatoes and the savory taste of tahini was a perfect combination on its own, but add the lightly grilled bread to wrap the whole thing up and you’ve got the perfect snack.

Aside of Zarb, this may just be my second favorite meal in Jordan.

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12. Dates

Date is a type of sweet fruit that comes from Date Palm. The thousands of palm trees around the desert of Jordan results in great varieties of dates, from blonde to dark to the almighty Majdool date, the king of all dates.

In Jordan, you can expect to find Dates in all kinds of form – in the dessert, eaten for snacks as dried fruit (also makes for an excellent souvenir to bring home), and even as juice, which I came across in the market area of downtown Amman.

The guy selling the Date juice was just walking around on the street with a huge golden jug with ornamental flowers on his back and cup holders around his waist. Whenever there is a customer, he would simply get one of empty plastic cups and tip his body over to pour date juice from the jug on his back. Deliciously refreshing! It taste a little bit like grape juice to me.

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13. Goat Organs

In the Middle East, Lamb, Goat and Chicken is the choice of meat here. You rarely find beef or pork (due to religious reasons). While most of the dishes contains grilled meat of those three animals, I got to try something different in Jordan – Goat innards (intestine, tripe and stomach) stuffed with rice, and served complete with the brain and an entire skull so that you can pick off the cheeks and eyeballs.

I wasn’t going to try it at first, but I YOLO-ed and tried a few bites of the intestines and stomach. It was actually quite good! The intestines and stomach had been thoroughly cleaned, boiled and stuffed with spiced rice, so what you taste is mostly the rice. I was not brave enough to try the brain, though I have tried cow’s brain before (It’s a delicacy in Indonesia) so I imagine the taste is similar. I also did not try the eyeballs (I would never) but the cheeks were delish.

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14. Mansaf

Up until now, everything I mentioned are middle eastern food that can be found in Jordan, but none of them were uniquely Jordanian. Finally here’s one dish that is truly Jordanian: Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, which I had at Al Qantarah Restaurant in Petra.

This dish consists of white rice cooked in Yogurt, Lamb and then doused with more yogurt. The preparation is similar to Maqluba, but the meat is cooked separately. It’s also topped with fried peanuts and fresh parsley and eaten with fresh tomato cucumber salad.

After it’s served, this dish is also eaten communally but using your own hands! This doesn’t bother me (us Indonesians use our hands to eat too) but I imagine this would freak some folks out!

Unlike Maqluba, Mansaf does not taste heavily spiced. Instead, it focuses more on the taste of yogurt and the pure savory taste of the Lamb.

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A Discovery Trip to Wadi Rum – Moon Valley

Written by Mustafa Nofal

Rum Valley is a glorious and unique place located at the southern desert – part of Jordan, and you would reach it after 3-4 hours of driving from Amman via the desert highway, and I usually use to recommend visiting of Wadi Rum as a part of Petra visit for two main reasons: if you have a very limited time to spend in Jordan – like two days only – then it would be possible to do Petra day tour, and move afterwards toward Wadi Rum, where you could spend the night at one of the Bedouin camps, either at Rum Reserve itself or at Al-Desi area (which is out of the reserve), I’ll talk about the differences on both areas at Wadi Rum, which might be so confusing for some travelers , while other won’t see any difference (there is a big difference actually and you need to know before you make your decision on booking a night stay at Wadi Rum, also you need to know what would be the difference in making your trip on your own or using a professional tour guide).


How did the People find the water resources in the past and survive at Wadi Rum?

According to the geologists and scientists, the rain level in Jordan and the whole region started to drop down during the past fifteen thousand year and the area has moved from being covered of a green forests and variety of wildlife that exist one day to become more and more deserted

  • The Dead Sea started to shrink since then, and it use to be at least 100 KM wider – even it was connected to Galilee lake which is isolated now at the Northern area

  • The Ottomans (Turkish ) were responsible for chopping more than fifteen million trees in Jordan in order to support the railway (train passage), that was created before the First World War.

  • Some of wildlife still exist or it was disappeared just in the past few years like the Arabian Tiger, Mountain Goats, the Ibyx – The Lion was described on different writings and even was carved particularly at Petra itself – The Lion Triclinium “on the way to the Monastery – Aldir “  and the Lion Fountain “Wadi Farasa – Petra back road to High Area of Sacrifice”

  • A huge and deep groundwater area was found at the southern part of Jordan – Northern of Saudi Arabia , particularly at Wadi Rum area, The Saudis has been using it for years now ( around 30 years ) extensively, and Jordan just recently managed to establish a water pipeline that brings the water from Rum desert into Amman city, they are pumping more than one hundred million quebec meter every year , and it is sufficient for the next 50 years according to the geologists .

  • It was not possible for the bedouins who lived at Wadi Rum to reach or use this underground water resource in the past because it is very deep, and we were able to do it just during the past few years.

  • The rain level average at Wadi Rum area during the past two centuries is less than 50mm per year.

Saying this, a big question always arise;  how the people were able to survive and live at Wadi Rum and the surrounding areas of Jordan for thousands of years ? How the bedouins were able to find the water on the Southern desert of Jordan? This is actually a very important question and it is very important to answer it as well with some explanation specially while escorting travelers all over the Wadi – valley –  while doing the Jeep tour or camel ride.


Before going into the answer, I need to explain that the mountains at Wadi Rum, and this is what the name means ,  Rum: The high or elevated, these mountains were formed more than two billion years ago by the volcanic activity ( the base layer of the mountains ) , later on , the whole area was covered with water, the soil and sand started to sediment over the volcanic layer and created very high mountains, so the base layer of these mountains is Igneous, and the upper layer is Sedimentary , and you would be able to see and distinguish those two layers with your eyes while roving at Wadi Rum, either during the Jeep tour, hiking or through the camel ride, the lower -Igneous layer- looks with dark color and in some areas it is 50-70 meters high , while the Sedimentary layer goes all the distant up ( up to around 900 meters from Rum village level), and I use to explain all these details while escorting my groups in Rum valley , walking all the track up to reach one of the most intersting springs to see , passing over the igneous layer, and walking through the waves of granite (a very hard, granular, crystalline, igneous rock consisting mainly of quartz, mica, and feldspar and often used as a building stone..) , and it is very interesting actually to see this layer very close while walking and even touching the granite itself.

How Does it Happen at Wadi Rum?

What is happening actually is that when it rains at Wadi Rum during winter time, the upper layer of the mountains ( the Sedimentary rocks) will absorb the water, and the absorbed water will start going down and down, day after day, till it reaches the Igneous layer , which is very hard – solid layer consist mainly of Granite and different kind of Igneous rocks, and this layer will not absorb the water that comes through the mountain from the upper layers and it will not allow the water to go even further, and the water will start to flood going out from the separation layer because it can not go through, and wherever water exist , life will start, and life would exist as well ,  and you would be able to see while hiking, camel riding or during the Jeep Tour at Wadi Rum a row of trees or something greenery from a distant growing at the separation layer ( the layer between the Sedimentary and the Igneous rocks), and this the indication of water existance at Wadi Rum that the local – the bedouin knows and knew how to find the water at the valley, and this is the main source that was used in the past at Rum valley , in addition to building small dams by the people between some canyons that was used to keep the water for summer time mainly for the animals.


Amazing photo at Wadi Rum that showes the granit rocks and layer , and you can see the waves of the granit as well, the seperation layer can be seen where the trees are …

Activities at Wadi Rum:  Stargazing, Campfire, Jeep Tour, Camel Ride and triking .

In addition to enjoying the amazing and glorious landscape at Wadi Rum, spending the night at one of the camps (Bedouin camps) or even private camping, stargazing and watching shooting stars (meteors), campfire , and doing a Jeep Safari tour for at least two hours, which is essential to explore some of the unique places at Wadi Rum, like Lawrence Spring, which represents the same water system that we talked about, Khazali canyon, Um Fruth and Um Burdah stone bridges and the Sand dunes.


Although it would be possible to arrange all transportation to Wadi Rum from Amman either by renting a car , or even taking public transportation, but the trip experience would be completely different if it was a guided tour with a professional tour guide, just knowing that the Jeep drivers at Wadi Rum will drive you from one place to another , but will not give you any information except the name of the places that they are covering, and they won’t even walk with you on those places, and climbing over Um Fruth bridge without a guide can be dangerous as well.


This picture at Wadi Rum: Hot air Balloons, can not be better without these photos. (Photo by: Mustafa Nofal)

Wadi Rum Reserve Vs Non Reserve areas  

Wadi Rum is a huge area, and with a quick look at Google maps you could draw a box area of 50 Kilometer in width and high , so it is around 2500 Km² , there is however, a specific area that is considered a reserve, and this reserve is controlled by the RSCN ( Royal Society for Cultural Reserves), and this area starts from Wadi Rum visitors center till you reach the Saudi borders (around 40 Km – 30 Km of road in the desert itself), the reserve itself is almost divided into two parts, one part that is being used by the locals to build their camps ( tourist camps), while the other part is closed and contains all the wildlife that they are trying to take care off ( like the mountain goats and foxes ),, So what is wrong then, as long as the area is huge; the issue is actually is that all the camps at the reserve area are following a specific rules regarding the design of the camps, and they are not provided with power source or water system , so they less crowded, more calm and quiet comparing to the non – reserve areas at Wadi Rum. The camps on the non reserve parts are provided with all services starting from the electricity to water , and you won’t feel any difference other than staying on a city , while on the reserve itself you would got the feeling on some parts as if you were taken into a trip out of this world, as if you are visiting another planet.

Visit our Travel Guide: JPTT Jordan Private Tours and Travel.

Also published in Bougainvillea go: A Discovery Trip to Wadi Rum – Moon Valley