There are so many beautiful spots in Jordan – from spending the night in the other worldly red desert of Wadi Rum, to exploring ancient and impressive Petra, to floating in the Dead Sea, or hiking in the many Wadis (canyons) around the country. BUT my absolute favorite spot and thing to do in Jordan is to hike in Dana Nature Reserve and spend the night at the beautiful Rummana Campsite.
Dana Nature Reserve is in the mountains of Southern Jordan, and is an easy stop on the way from Amman to the other more famous tourist spots of Petra and Wadi Rum. It is Jordan’s largest nature reserve and encompasses wadis, sand dunes, wild mountains and gnarled rocks all along the face of the Great Rift Valley. Beyond it’s obvious atheistic appeal, the reserve is a melting pot of flora and fauna. There are some 25 endangered animals living in the reserve, including the Syrian Wolf and the Sand Cat, which makes the area incredibly important.
Near to the reserve and the Rummana campsite is the village of Dana, which has been occupied since 4,000 BC. Today the village is inhabited mostly by clans of the “Al Ata’ata” tribe, which settled in the area during the Ottoman period, in the 15th century. It’s a great little spot to explore and have lunch in before heading into the reserve. It also has spectacular views of the area!
Where to Stay
There are a few accommodation options in Dana Nature Reserve. My absolute favorite is the Rummana Campsite, which is perched 1500m above sea level. From it you can see straight down the Dana Valley to the deserts of Wadi Araba.
There are a few camping options at Rummana. The cheapest is to stay in basic tents, which fit up to 3 people and start from $60. The other more comfortable option is deluxe tents, which have beds, a porch and the best view across the valley. These start from $90. Bedding is provided and there are showers and communal bathrooms. You can pay for dinner, or also bring your own food to BBQ.
Tip: Keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to park near the camp itself. Instead, you have to leave your car at the visitor’s center and then you will be driven down to the campsite. Don’t worry though, your car is safe at the visitor’s center!
There are also a few other accommodation options in or nearby the reserve, including:
- Feynan Ecolodge, which is located in the Wadi Feynan area of the reserve. While it is only 15km as the crow flies from Dana Village, there are no roads in the reserve so the two spots are actually 2.5 hours apart by car. Check their website for the best directions! There is also the option to start at Dana Village and then hike 6-8 hours through Dana Valley to the Feynan lodge where you can overnight.
- Dana Guesthouse (from $90) is the place to stay if camping is not your thing. It is located close to Dana Village and, like all the other spots, offers beautiful views.
- Wadi Dana Eco-Camp (from $60) is located nearby to Rummana Camp and only 1 km from Dana Village. It is run by a local community cooperative. Like Rummana, it is rustic and a truly “get away from it all” spot.
Getting to Rummana Camp
If you’re brave, you can rent a car in Amman and drive down to Dana on your way to also visiting Petra and Wadi Rum. Once you are out of Amman it really isn’t that scary to drive. I promise! Renting a car should only cost you around $25-35 a day, depending on what time of year. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, you can also hire a driver or taxi to take you.
The Dana Village and Rummana campsite area of the reserve is about a 2.5 – 3 hour drive south of Amman, just off the Desert Highway, between the Dead Sea and Petra. If you are headed to Feynan Ecoolodge, check their website for the best directions, as it is in a different part of the park than Dana Village and Rummana.
What to Do
From the Rummana campsite there are lots of hiking options around the area. The staff at the camp know the reserve really well and can provide all kinds of great advice and guidance, depending on what kind of walk you’d like to take. Or you could always hike the 6 hours + down to sea level through the reserve until you reach Feynan Ecolodge, which is also a beautiful spot to say. Albeit very different from the jaw dropping views of Rummana.
If you are looking for a beautiful spot that is slightly off the traditional Jordan tourist circuit, Dana Nature Reserve is definitely it! Drop me a line below if you have any questions about visiting.