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The Dana Biosphere Reserve: A Natural Wonder of Jordan

May 30
Nestled amidst the rocky terrain of Jordan lies a natural marvel thriving for centuries - The Dana Biosphere Reserve. This incredible reserve captures the essence of Jordan's wilderness and boasts natural beauty, rich flora and fauna, and striking landscapes. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the country's natural wonders. From those seeking adventure to those looking for solace, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the great outdoors. Consider what makes this reserve special and why it should be on your travel itinerary when visiting Jordan.

Biodiversity and Endangered Species

Welcome to the Dana Biosphere Reserve - a stunning natural wonder of Jordan! As you explore this beautiful reserve, you'll discover a treasure trove of biodiversity and endangered species. The reserve holds a large representation of biodiversity, including 833 species of plants, which represent one-third of the country's plant species. It's amazing to know that out of this number, three species were considered new to science.

Moreover, a total of 215 species of birds were recorded in Dana BR, representing 50% of all the bird species in Jordan. Similarly, 38 mammal species were identified, representing about 50% of the mammal species in the country. Seeing how a relatively small region can contain such diverse life forms is fascinating. The Dana BR is also home to seven of the thirteen vegetation types occurring in Jordan, further supporting many plant, bird and mammal species.

As you explore this beautiful reserve, you'll find that it is characterized by four main biogeographical zones - the Mediterranean bio-geographical zone, the Irano-Turanian biogeographical zone, the Sudanian biogeographical zone, and the Suharo Arabian biogeographical zone. These zones extend from 100 meters below sea level to 1500 meters above sea level. These zones give rise to a unique landscape that supports various flora and fauna.

As you continue to experience the Dana Biosphere Reserve, you'll discover that some species are highly endangered. So far, 800 plant species and 449 animal species have been recorded in the Reserve, of which 25 are known to be endangered, including the Sand Cat, Syrian Wolf, Lesser Kestrel, and Spiny-Tailed Lizard. It's essential to preserve these species and their habitats to protect the biodiversity of this beautiful region.

Dana Biosphere Reserve is an extraordinary natural wonder of Jordan, blessed with a wide variety of biodiversity. As you explore this reserve, you'll marvel at the diversity of life forms and their unique habitats. It's crucial to protect and preserve this beautiful region so that future generations can continue to enjoy its natural treasures. As you explore the Dana Biosphere Reserve, prepare to witness some of the rarest and most wonderful species in their natural habitat! [1][2]

Four Biogeographical Zones

1. As you explore the Dana Biosphere Reserve, you will be surrounded by incredible biodiversity. The reserve is home to over 800 plant species, including three new to science and found nowhere else in the world. The reserve holds seven vegetation types, which support over 215 bird species and 38 mammal species. Dana BR represents 50% of all bird and mammal species in Jordan. You can experience four main biogeographical zones in the reserve, extending from 100 meters below sea level to 1500 meters above sea level.

2. You will be stunned by the rugged and picturesque landscape of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, spanning 292 km2 along the Great Rift Valley. The reserve sweeps down from the 1500m high plateau near Qadisiyyah to the desert plains of Wadi Araba. The mountains house many steep-sided wadis lined with trees and shrubs, while the geology shifts from limestone to sandstone to granite. The reserve is the only one in Jordan to contain the three different biogeographical zones, making it the most diverse nature reserve in the country. This diversity allows several vegetation types to thrive, including rare species like the southernmost Cypress Cupressus sempervirens forest community.

3. On your journey through Dana BR, you can spot globally threatened species of birds and mammals. The largest breeding colony in the world for Syrian Serin is located in the reserve, and the Lesser Kestrel also breeds here. You can also glimpse Blanfords Fox, Vulpes Cana, and Nubian Ibex, Capra Nubiana. To conserve precious biodiversity, RSCN created the first protected area management plan in Jordan, which balances protecting the natural wonders of the reserve with meeting the needs of local people. Responsible tourism practices also take place within designated grazing and recreation zones.

4. As you meander through the reserve, you can purchase unique handcrafted goods made by the locals. Women from the area produce fine copper, silver, and bronze jewellery inspired by the flora and fauna of the reserve. Sun-dried fruits are also available, grown organically on the sun-drenched terraces of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Candle lanterns, nature boxes, and handmade gift items crafted out of goat leather are also available, utilizing cured goatskin products to reduce damage caused by grazing while supporting Bedouin herders’ livelihood.

As you roam through Dana BR’s four biogeographical zones, you will be enchanted by the abundance of biodiversity. This reserve is a natural wonder of Jordan that deserves protection while offering a unique experience for curious travellers. [3][4]

Trekking and Nature-Watching Opportunities

Explore Dana Biosphere Reserve: Jordan's Wild Side
Don't miss out on Dana Biosphere Reserve during your Jordan road trip. This wild and rugged area is jam-packed with trekking, nature-watching, and photographic opportunities. With its various altitudes, you'll find all four of Jordan's geographical zones in one location. Plus, it's the country's most biologically and historically rich area, boasting endangered plant and animal species. For a mesmerizing world, please bring your camera and stay a night to take it all in.

Discover Dana Village and Preserve the Past
Step back and visit Dana Village, a 500-year-old town perched atop a cliff's edge. The timeless tranquillity of this beautiful village is sure to take your thoughts back to a less complicated life. The exterior of the town's sun-weathered stone buildings is historically intact, preserving many aspects of Jordanian life from the 19th century. A walk through town opens your eyes to the not-too-distant past and reveals all its charm and character.

Accommodation at Dana Nature Reserve
While there aren't many lodging choices at Dana Biosphere Reserve, you do have variety. From rustic campsites with traditional Arabic meals provided to ecolodges powered by solar energy and lit only by candles and stars, there's a place for every taste. We recommend Dana Guest House, which has about 20 rooms in the heart of Dana Village.

Maximize Your Experience with a Good Guide
A good guide can make or break your experience at Dana Biosphere Reserve. Unfortunately, not all guides are created equal. Our experience with an unprofessional guide left a sour impression. He expected a bigger tip than the average one, yet he lacked basic English for conversation and knowledge about birds, trees, and plants. Despite his loud conversations on his cell phone, we enjoyed spectacular views and picked fresh herbal medicine along the way. To ensure a memorable experience, don't reward poor service with huge tips.

Recommended Trek from Feynan to Little Petra
For an amazing trek, we recommend organizing an independent trek from Feynan to Little Petra with our outstanding guide, Suleiman. He was born and raised in the area, and his knowledge of the landscape was impressive. Suleiman and his family and friends set up a camp and cook amazing food each night. Walking through the ancient landscape with a Bedouin guide and donkey for the company is a unique experience. Suleiman speaks excellent English and is a great company.  

Take Care of the Environment
Finally, we recommend you stay away from the entrance of the visitor centre of Dana Nature Reserve. While they ask for an 8 JOD entrance fee, the picnic area is a garbage belt. It's shameful to see such a beautiful area full of waste. Let's take care of the environment and ensure Dana Biosphere Reserve remains a natural wonder of Jordan. [5][6]

Picturesque Location

Are you looking for a picturesque location in Jordan that is rich in biodiversity and history? Look no further than the Dana Biosphere Reserve! This wild and rugged reserve, situated about halfway between Amman and Aqaba, offers plenty of opportunities for trekking, nature-watching, and photography. Here are some reasons why the Dana Biosphere Reserve should be on your Jordan travel itinerary:

- Experience the four geographical zones of Jordan in one location. The Dana Biosphere Reserve's eastern plateau starts at about 4000 feet and descends through canyons and gorges down to the low-lying desert of Wadi Araba. As a result, you'll find all four of Jordan's geographical zones here.
- See rare animals and plants in a protected environment. Many endangered species, including the Sand Cat and Spiny Tailed Lizard, exist within the reserve's 320 square kilometres.
- Explore the charming town of Dana. The village of Dana, which dates back to 4000 BC, is a historic agricultural village that oozes charm and character. It's a great place to learn about Jordanian life from the 19th century, and the sun-weathered stone buildings add to the town's rustic appeal.
- Stay among the stars. The reserve offers a range of lodging options, from rustic campsites to eco-lodges to guesthouses. Whether you choose the cosy campsite, the environmentally-friendly lodge lit only by candles and stars, or the Dana Guest House, you can escape all the hustle and bustle and soak up the natural wonder of the reserve.
- Hike to your heart's content. The reserve has a range of hiking trails to suit all tastes and abilities. Whether you're a budding birdwatcher or a thrill-seeker with a head for heights, there's a trail for you. The Wadi Dathneh Trail, in particular, offers a 19-kilometre descent across the canyons and rocky terrain of Wadi Dathneh.
- Take a journey back in time. The reserve also offers a guided walk to the copper mines, which were used by the Romans thousands of years ago. You'll be able to explore the mine shafts and learn about how copper was extracted and used.

The Dana Biosphere Reserve is a natural wonder of Jordan that offers something for everyone. Whether you're interested in biodiversity, history, or just the chance to soak up some stunning scenery, you won't be disappointed by this memorable location. [7][8]

Protection of Rare Plants and Animals

Welcome to the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan's largest nature reserve! Here's a guide on protecting the rare plants and animals in this natural wonder.

Firstly, it's important to know that the reserve contains three different biogeographical zones of the country, making it a diverse habitat for various species. Take your time to explore the different vegetation types, including the Phoenician Juniper, evergreen oak, dunes, acacia, and rocky sudanian, among others. Watch for the southernmost remaining forest community of Cypress Cupressus sempervirens.

The reserve is home to several globally threatened species of birds and mammals, so it's crucial to respect their habitat and behaviour. During your visit, try to avoid overgrazing, woodcutting, and hunting, mainly of Ibex and Chukar, to preserve the area's natural environment.

If you want to support the protection of rare plants and animals in reserve, consider purchasing handcrafted copper, silver, and bronze jewellery made by the local women in Dana. All the designs have been inspired by the flora and fauna of the area, and their sale supports the community's livelihoods. You could also buy sun-dried fruit produce from Jordan organically grown on the sun-drenched terraces of the reserve. Candles incorporate nature, whether a flower, a green vine, or a slice of orange. They are produced nature-friendly and make attractive souvenirs to take home.

Furthermore, Dana Biosphere Reserve has been a model of integrated conservation and socio-economic development, allowing responsible tourism to occur while still protecting the environment. Consider doing your part by following the park’s guidelines, such as respecting the buffer zones and avoiding littering and destructive activities.

Finally, consider visiting the ancient copper mines in Wadi Feinan, considered the most important archaeological complex in southern Jordan outside of Petra. These mines are located in the reserve, and by learning about their history and cultural significance, you can better understand the role of humans in shaping the landscape of the nature reserve over time.

The Dana Biosphere Reserve is an exceptional area of natural beauty that requires our utmost respect and protection. By supporting the local communities and adhering to the park’s guidelines, we can ensure its preservation for future generations. [9][10]