Dana Nature Reserve

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After much deliberation, we decided that Wadi Rum in southern Jordan was a bit too touristy for our nature tastes.  So instead we spent a day based at Rummana Campground in Dana Nature Reserve.  The tagline for the organization running this place is "Helping Nature. Helping People."  No brainer for us.

It wasn't particularly cheap, but it was acceptable given the social project you're in turn supporting.  A night in a tent, dinner/breakfast, water, and a guided hike was 140 JOD.  This was all booked directly with them via email.  They were very prompt and helpful with their responses, too.

Upon arriving, we parked our car at the Visitor's Center and then took this shuttle down the very, very steep road to the permanent campground.

Upon arrival at the camp, we threw our stuff down and then went with a guide on the 8km White Dome trail to the village of Dana.  It was about 3.5 hours in the blazing midday sun (morning would be the ideal time to do this).  A guide is required for this hike, but there are a few shorter hikes around the camp that can be done self-guided.  Great views of the Dana Valley and Wadi, though terrible photos as it was blazing hot and hazy. 

The hike ends at Dana Village where local women grow sage, thyme, nuts, pomegranates, apricots, etc. in a large garden.  It smells wonderful and gave us access to a pool of very chilly water running down from the mountain - incredibly refreshing after hours in the sun.  Their jams and dried herbs are available for sale at the Tourist Center and were used in our meals at the Camp.

Back at camp we unpacked a little and cleaned up.  The accommodations are really quite amazing considering the harsh location.  And all sparkling clean.

You can easily stand up in the middle of the tents, and the linens are fresh and wrapped in plastic for each new arrival.

Who doesn't love open air bathrooms with trees in them?  The bathroom facilities were super impressive.

There's a little man-made pool and bird shed behind the campground to hang out in.  Sadly, we don't have good IDs on some of these, but we'll look them up when back home.  However, these guys below are the Palestine Sunbird:

Again, a very great place to spend some time.  The staff was typically Jordanian (read: amazingly nice), the views fantastic, and very quiet (only two other people there the same night as us).

Here's a candid of us:

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