August 2013
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Travel – Azraq – Jordan – Part 3

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

Visitors Center

• This service primarily tells the story of the battle to sustain this internationally significant wetland.
• This also contains a lecture room and also an aquarium and a nature shop that trades unique handmade local items.
• Tourists can obtain information and tour guide books from the centre.
• A Roman Wall with a beautiful bird-watching hide can be toured by a short walking trail currently being established around the marshes of Azraq.

The Azraq Wetland Reserve

• This reserve is a nature reserve situated in close proximity to the town of Azraq in the east side of the desert of Jordan.
• An oasis for migratory birds, Azraq was developed in 1978 and spread over an area of 12 square kilometres (4 .6 sq mi).
• The natural springs dried out in 1992 and nearly all migratory birds eventually relocated out of the area.
• Artificial springs are complied today so as to keep the place a tourist destination.

Wildlife : Migratory birds come from:
– Anatolia
– Scandinavia
– Siberia
– Africa
• These birds temporarily halt in Azraq.
• The partial restoration of these wetlands has been done by RSCN.
This has lead to the return of several migratory species like:
– Hoopoe Lark
– Cetti’s Warbler
– Desert Finch
– Marsh Harrier
There are about 280 migratory species recorded in Azraq. They are:
– Ruff
– Avocet
– Little Stint
– Little Ringed Plover
There are other birds of prey that halt in Azraq like:
– European Honey Buzzard
– Montagu’s Harrier

Prehistoric Wildlife
• In ancient times, animals usually characterized as African resided in Azraq. They are like:
– Onager
– Wild camel
– Rhinoceros
– Hippopotamus
– Elephant
– Gazelle
– Aurochs
– Cheetah
– Syrian Ostrich
– Lion
– Arabian Oryx
Of the above, except Gazelle, other animals are at present extinct in Azraq.

Shawmarin Reserve in Azraq

Shawmarin Reserve (Shaumari) is a not so big nature reserve in Jordan’s east desert area.
• It is 22 km wide conservation.
• It is crucial for the Middle East fauna breeding area that could be home to endangered wildlife.
• Flora and Fauna like:
– Valkobeisoja
– Gazelles
– Ostriches
– Endangered aasianvilliaaseja
• One can also experience many desert plants.
• It is a sanctuary for several endangered species.
• The Shawmari Wildlife Reserve was created to be an appealing place for school trips and family outings.
• The 22 square kilometre Shawmari Reserve was developed in 1975 by the RSCN as a breeding centre for locally extinct or endangered varieties.
• It has grown to be a home to a few of the rarest species of wildlife in the Middle East.
• All these animals now are reasserting their presence, safeguarded from ecosystem destruction and hunting.
• The oryx and also onagers (Asian wild ass) travel freely in their huge desert grassland enclosures, and ostriches and gazelles can be noticed in their fenced-off regions.

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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