There’s no road quite like the one that leads through Jordan.
From red sands to the Red Sea, a self-drive adventure in Jordan will lead you through some of the most spectacular visual terrain you’ll ever see, from the alien lunar-like landscape of Wadi Rum to the Treasury in Petra, and allow you to experience iconic sites and natural highlights during your drive.
So, don’t forget to pack your DSLR and extra memory cards, because this drive is guaranteed to both scenic and spectacular. Here’s what you can expect to see en route:
1) The Amman Citadel
Your road trip begins in Amman, the capital of Jordan. One of the most iconic sights here is the Amman Citadel, which stands on the highest hill, Jebel al-Qala’a, where you’ll see the remains of the white marble column ruins of the Temple of Hercules that stood tall in the Roman era.
2) The Roman Theatre
Built in the 2nd Century AD, the Roman Theatre is an impressive example of Roman architectural ingenuity. It has 6000 seats and was built in three tiers – the rulers, military and general public – but no matter where you sit, it’s easy to imagine what it was like centuries ago, the actors, the sets, costumes, playing parts in plays both comic and tragic.
Take a trip back into history as you drive to and explore the city of Jerash. It is one of the most well-preserved cities of the Roman Empire, dotted with ruins of columns, gates, theatres, temples, communal baths, city walls and a huge hippodrome. If you’re lucky, you could get a chance to watch a gladiator fight and chariot races straight out of Ben-Hur.
4) Food, food, and more food!
Jordanian food is as delicious to taste as it looks. Luckily for you, you’ll be able to indulge whenever you feel like – by simply stopping whenever you feel like to tuck into flatbread charred on a roadside fire, fresh salads with a yogurt dressing, and sweet cups of mint tea brewed on the embers. And you can fill up after a long day on traditional fare such as Mansaf, which is lamb cooked in dry yogurt and served with rice. Yum!
5) Madaba’s mosaics
Known as the ‘City Of Mosaics’, Madaba will make you appreciative of the skill and patience it takes to lay thousands of multicolored glass pieces in patterns to make brightly colored pictures. Madaba has the oldest surviving map of the Holy Land and it’s so intricate that you can even see details like fish swimming in the Jordan River and Palestine’s city walls.
6) The Holy Land from Mt. Nebo
This is where, according to the Bible, Moses stood and looked out at the Holy Land. At the peak, you can stand and see, as he did, the sweeping vista of the Jordan River valley, the Dead Sea, Jericho and a glimpse of Jerusalem’s spires and rooftops in the distance.
7) rose-red Petra
One of the most unforgettable sights during your Jordan self-drive journey is Petra. You’ll enter this city carved entirely from red sandstone via a canyon, emerging directly in front of the The Treasury, and feeling every inch the bonafide adventurer.
8) The Monastery at petra
You’ve probably been putting your SUV through its paces, so give your car a break and your legs a stretch instead. If you climb up about 800 steps, you will find yourself at the Monastery, from where you’ll have one of the best views of Petra. Trust us, the effort will be worth it.
9) Wild wADI RUM
Wadi Rum is one of the most dramatic terrains on the planet, which you’ll experience first hand as you drive through it, twisting and turning, climbing and dipping among the granite, basalt and sandstone mountains and glittering red sands. This safari is the highlight of your trip. You’ll be telling stories about this for a long time to a lot of people.
10) Wadi Rum’s Night Sky
Staying at a camp that’s right in the middle of the desert will give you a prime location to soak up the spectacle of a clear night sky. Just imagine lying down on your back with a 360 degree panorama of the Milky Way. It’s guaranteed to be a ‘5 star experience’ (pun intended).
11) The Dead Sea
If you’re wondering what could possibly top the sight of the Milky Way, let us tell you that it’s the Dead Sea, the intense blue water that blurs to emerald at its edges makes for an undeniably beautiful scene, which only intensifies at sunset. And when the sun finally dips down below the horizon, you can glimpse the glittering lights of Jerusalem on the other side of the sea.
12) the marine life in AQABA
Jump into the glittering waters, snorkel or go diving for a beautiful kaleidoscopic view of a world underwater. As you weave through coral reefs, shimmering shoals of tiny silvery fish will weave alongside you, and in the crystal clear water, you’ll also easily spy fish of every colour, shape and size, from multicoloured parrotfish to spiny lionfish, barracudas to huge rays.
See all of these spectacular sights for yourself on our week-long self-drive journey through Jordan this October. We’ll be driving from Amman to Petra and Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea and onto Aqaba, stopping to see intriguing local highlights such as Madaba’s mosaics and drinking lots of Jordanian tea along our journey. Click here for more details.
Written by Vandita Jadeja