August 2013
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Travel – Azraq – Jordan – Part 2

Azraq is a compact town in the province of Zarqa Governorate in central-eastern Jordan, one hundred km east of Amman.

Eco and Nature in Azraq

• At the Ramsar Convention of 1977, the Azraq Oasis was announced to be a globally important wetland as well as a small wetland reserve was incorporated in the southern regions of the oasis.
• During that time, the wetland contained large locations of long lasting marshland and a number of deep spring-fed pools.
• However, most of these have dried out due to massive extraction of groundwater from the oasis.
• The towns of Amman and Zarqa are attempting to find alternative water resources and farmers are now being encouraged to adopt more effective irrigation methods.
• The primary pools are actually dredged and water is getting pumped back in them by means of irrigation pipes.
• Water buffaloes have been reintroduced to manage the invasive reeds and maintain regions of open water for birds.
• Birds are actually returning to the oasis, although the number is not huge.
• The endemic killifish has been rediscovered along with a rescue program is underway to conserve it from extinction.
• While the Azraq Oasis continues to be far away from its past glory, this restoration venture is the very first of its type in Jordan and offers a real attempt to overcome a destructive trend.
• The ideal time to tour Azraq is late autumn, spring or winter.
• Winter rains usually form pools and marshes in the reserve.
• They constantly appeal several seasonal varieties of birds.
• The results of bird-watching visits would depend mostly on the quantity of water which has accumulated in the reserve.

Visitors’ Facilities in Azraq

Marsh Trail
• The Marsh Trail is a simple loop around the marshes and pools.
• From the Visitors’ Centre, the path takes you out to the marshes across a wooden walkway.
• It crosses a dried up region and arrives at a viewing platform looking over the Shishan pools, the centre of the large springs that at one time spilled millions of cubic metres of water across the marshland.
• Before they dried out, the pools were well-known swimming holes for the regional people.
• In reality, the villagers signify the two pools as “Man’s Pool” and “Woman’s Pool,” a sign of their chosen swimming areas.
• On leaving the viewing area, the path passes along a historical Umayyad or Roman wall.
• Constructed of black basalt rock, it is actually a detailed structure with buttresses jutting away from the wall structure on either side.
• The wall was perhaps a water regulation system, utilized to separate salt water from fresh water and as a shield against winter season floods.
• The path leaves the wall structure to pass across some open water and reeds for a bird hide which are made out from local mud brick.
• The hide overlooks a big stretch of shallow water that appeals to many birds – such as vivid blue kingfishers.
• From here as well, water buffaloes can easily be seen.
• The path takes you back to the Visitors’ Centre via a historical circular walled pool which was utilized in ancient times for stocking fresh water.

Best time to visit / climate

• Jordan has a sunny, dry weather characterized by lengthy, hot, dry summers as well as brief, cool winters.
• The weather is based on Jordan’s placement between the subtropical aridity of the Arabian Desert locations along with the subtropical humidity of the eastern Mediterranean region.
• January is the coldest month, with temperature ranges from 5°C to 10°C, and August is the hottest time of the year at 20°C to 35°C.
• Regular temperatures can be quite hot, particularly in the summer; on certain days it could be 40°C or higher, particularly when the Shirocco , a hot , dry southerly wind flies .
• These kind of winds can often be quite strong that will result in Sandstorms.
• Around 70 % of the regular rainfall in the country falls between November and then March; June through August tend to rain less.
• Rainfall differs from season to season and also from year to year.
• Precipitation is usually targeted in aggressive storms, leading to erosion as well as local flooding, particularly in the winter season.

Location on Google Maps

View Larger Map
Or click and paste the URL below on the browser:,+Al+-+Azraq,+Zarqa,+Jordan&t=m&z=16

How to get there?

To Azraq
• Azraq is a just one and a half hour travel from Amman.
There are 2 key routes which lead there:
The Desert Highway:
• From the Desert Highway, use the Madaba turn and go east (in the reverse direction of Madaba).
• Adhere to the path that signs to Azraq.

Zarqa Highway:
• In Amman, proceed east on King Abdullah Road, driving past the Roman Amphitheater to connect the Amman-Zarqa Highway.
• The path to Azraq divides off from the motorway before you approach Zarqa.

To Shawmari:
• On approaching South Azraq (Azraq al-Janubi), take a right turn onto the Saudi Arabian Motorway.
• Make a right turn after nearly 15 km at the entry road to Shawmari Wildlife Reserve.

1. By flight
• Jordan’s nationwide airline is Royal Jordanian Airlines.
Additionally, Jordan is operated by several foreign carriers such as:
– British Airways
– Air Baltic
– Lufthansa
– Delta Airlines
– Emirates
– Turkish Airlines
– Egypt Air
– Alitalia
– Air France
• Low-priced airline Air Arabia flies between Jordan and locations throughout the Middle East.
• United Kingdom based airline easy Jet has introduced plans to fly 3 times per week from London Gatwick to Amman from March 2011, cutting the price of reaching the Middle East from the United Kingdom considerably.
• Queen Alia International Airport is the country’s primary airport terminal.
• It happens to be 35km southern of Amman (on the primary route to Aqaba).
• It takes around 45 minutes to reach the airport terminal from the down-town Amman, around thirty minutes from West Amman.
• Transportation into Amman is given by the Royal Jordanian bus services to the city terminal close to the 7th circle, or by taxi (around twenty JD, intended to be fixed).

Along with Queen Alia, Jordan has 2 other international airport terminals:
– Marka International Airport in East Amman assists routes to neighboring Middle Eastern countries, along with internal flights to Aqaba
– King Hussein International Airport terminal in Aqaba.

2. By train
• The last functioning section of the well-known Hejaz Railway, twice-weekly trains used to turn up from Damascus (Syria) at Amman’s Mahatta junction just north-east of the down-town region, in close proximity to Marka Airport.
• But, services have already been cancelled since mid-2006 because of damage to the tracks, and it’s uncertain as to when they would resume.
• Even though they were running, trains consumed an incredibly long nine hours (significantly slower as compared to driving), and offered an awfully low standard of comfort.
• There are no additional passenger trains in Jordan.

3. By bus
• Long-distance providers run from several Middle Eastern locations including Tel Aviv and Damascus.

4. By boat
• Jordan could be entered at the harbor of Aqaba via the Egyptian port of Nuweiba.
• There are 2 providers, ferry and speedboat.
• Be prepared to shell out around $30 for the ferry.
• It can even cost around $60 for the speedboat (each one way).
• Egyptians are not expected to shell out the prices increased by the authorities.
• The slow-moving ferry could take up to eight hours that can be a challenge in bad weather.
• The speedboat regularly makes the crossing in approximately one hour, although boarding as well as disembarking delays can also add several hours, particularly since there can be no set hours for departures.
• You cannot purchase the ticket beforehand and the ticket office would not be familiar with the time of departure.
• It is possible to lose a whole afternoon and even a day awaiting the boat to leave.
• UPDATE: selling prices have risen.
• The speedboat is currently $70 and the ferry is $60 (+$10 or 50 EGP departure tax from Egypt).

Some Travel Books about Jordan

Jordan (Insight Guide Jordan) Jordan Travel Pack, 3rd The Rough Guide to Jordan

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

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Blogs / Sites about Azraq – Jordan

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Images and photos about Azraq – Jordan

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Videos of Azraq – Jordan

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