August 2013
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Travel – Shawmarin Reserve – Jordan – Part 2

Shawmarin Reserve (Shaumari) is a not so big nature reserve in Jordan’s east desert area.

Shawmari Wildlife

1. Oryx
• The Oryx is a classy white colored antelope, certainly one of the few mammals native to the Arabian Peninsula.
• It became extinct in Jordan in the 1920s, due to severe hunting for meat, coat and horns.
• The ever-increasing range and potential of firearms and guns and motorized automobiles was the crucial factor for the destruction of the Oryx.
• A hunting party in Oman slaughtered the final known wild Oryx in 1972.
• Thankfully, 10 years earlier, the Flora and Fauna Preservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund have introduced an international rescue effort called Operation Oryx.
• A World Survival Herd was recognized in the USA, with 3 animals from Oman, 1 from the London Zoo, 1 from Kuwait and 4 from Saudi Arabia.
• This herd has developed and increased steadily in numbers, and hence the RSCN has suggested that the Oryx be introduced into the local habitat in the Arabian Desert.
• In 1978, 11 Oryx were delivered to Shawmari.
• Their figures have right now increased to an amazing two hundred.
• Operation Oryx continues to be very successful. Jordan currently supplies Oryx to other Arabian nations which are conducting reintroduction programs.
• In early 2002, a tiny herd of captive bred Oryx were transferred to a unique enclosure in Wadi Rum as part of a long-term program to release all of them into the wild.
• This release is the very first attempt, after their extinction in Jordan, to re-introduce these species to their native habitat.
• The Oryx has a number of adaptations which makes it well-suited for life in the desert.
• Their shining white colored coats reflect the sun and assist in keeping them cool.
• They are able to go for lengthy periods without drinking. 11 months is the longest recorded time.
• This is because they get water from the night time dew present on the desert plants.
• The name Oryx originates from a Greek word which means “pickaxe,” that is descriptive of the animal’s long pointed horns.
• Those horns are being used, both of them, for self-defense against predators and for battling among themselves.
• This normally happens when the leader of the herd is encountered by a younger male after a year approximately of dominance.
• The younger one generally substitutes the old leader in this particular ever-shifting power struggle.

2. Ostrich
• The Ostrich is the world’s biggest bird – a fantastic, gawky creature that some time ago roamed wild across the desert regions of Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia.
• However, the local Syrian Ostrich is currently extinct as a consequence of severe, unrestricted hunting.
• The Ostrich breeding program at Shawmari started with 3 Blue-Necked Ostrich delivered by the Oklahoma City Zoo in the USA.
• These were augmented through the years by birds from supplementary collections and, through cautious husbandry; the figure now is more than 30.
• The big size and weight of the Ostrich makes it difficult for it to fly.
• But, it actually depends on its running swiftness to avoid its predators.
• It is actually the fastest bird on 2 legs, effective at reaching speeds of 60 km/hr within two seconds.
• Ostriches occasionally ‘waltz’ whenever they’re feeling cheerful.
• They run in circles with their wings elevated and as a result they become dizzy and fall.
• However, it is able to flatten its neck and body on the ground whenever they experience danger.

3. Gazelle
• Gazelles are little, slender antelopes with shorter tail.
• There have been a few desert Gazelles living together with the Oryx within the fenced Reserve.
• However, many have died yet others have escaped, leaving behind only 2 within the Reserve.

4. Onager
• The Onager can be viewed in a huge captive breeding enclosure at Shawmari.
• Actually, there have been only 2 Onagers which were donated to the Reserve by the Montpelier National Park in the South side of France.
• Onagers are conditioned to the extreme conditions of the desert, because they are capable of going for longer periods without water.

5. Other Mammals
Other mammals seen in Shawmari include:
• The Red Foxes
• Caracals
• Cape Hares
• Jackals
• Wild Cats

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:,+jordan&hl=en&sll=21.125498,81.914063&sspn=23.668111,28.256836&hnear=Tulul+ash+Shawmari&t=m&z=9

How to get there?

• Shawmari is approximately 2 hours away from Amman by car or truck.
• Head to South Azraq (Azraq al-Janubi in Arabic) and turn right onto the motorway that leads to Saudi Arabia.
• Take another right turn after approximately 15 kilometres at the entry road to the Shawmari Reserve.
• Check with the section on Azraq Wetland Reserve for instructions on how to get to Azraq.

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 Shawmarin Reserve – Jordan

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Images and photos about Shawmarin Reserve – Jordan

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