Julian Sykes Wildlife Holidays

Jordan - Petra & Wildlife

PetraA new & exciting destination on many levels Jordan is forward thinking and environmentally friendly. Lead by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) Jordan has expanded its sustainable tourism to fund its conservation goals. The ancient “lost city” of Petra, is of course a “must see” but it is in Jordan’s less visited wilderness areas that we can see so much more of what this unsung eco-destination has to offer. With the accommodation ranging from standard hotels to a camp at the Wadi Rum, an eco-lodge and some of the RSCN accommodation we will be maximising both our birding & culture opportunities.

Not to mention “playing at Indiana Jones” with an optional horse ride at Petra!

Day 1:- Upon arrival at Queen Alia Airport we will be met and transported to our hotel for a good sleep in anticipation of the following day. Overnight in Amman.

Days 2 & 3 :- After breakfast & with an early start, we set off for the Eastern Desert to Azraq and the RSCN lodge. We stop en-route at the Wadi el Butum to have a look at the last group of old trees in this area of the desert, the Atlantic Wild Pistachio (Pistacia Atlantica). After checking in at the lodge we will visit the Azraq Wetland Reserve which attracts migrating birds in their thousands and is now a protected habitat and home to unique fauna.

We will make an early visit to the Shaumari Reserve, where we might find desert species such as Greater Short-toed and Temminck’s Larks, Desert & Isabelline Wheatears, with other migrant passerines. Mammals could include the rare captive bred Arabian Oryx and Wild Ass, which roam freely in this area. From here we will proceed to As Safawi, hoping to see the all black form of Mourning Wheatear. We follow the road to Um al Jimal, a unique basalt city built along the trade route, this is an incredible and unique landscape, which leave a lasting memory.

Possible sightings include Masked & Woodchat Shrikes, Laughing & Namaqua Dove, Finch’s & Eastern Black-eared Wheatear , Semi-collared Flycatcher, Red-rumped Swallow, Dese rt Finch and White-cheeked Bulbuls. Raptors overhead may include migrant Steppe Buzzards, Egyptian Vulture, Osprey and Black Kite.

Day 4:- After some pre-breakfast birding again in the Azraq area we transfer to the Wadi Rum with an aim to watch the sunset at our desert camp. However there will be birdwatching in the area with lots to see amongst the atmospheric sand dunes, canyons and water courses.

Wadi Rum - the desert itself is worth while, not to mention the fascinating natural rock bridges, corridors and rock formations. The total serene quietness that is unique has made many tourists return again and again to relish in the desert’s peaceful tranquillity & we have the possibility to enjoy a moonlight walk through the rock formations. The quiet and still nights couyld just be spent gazing at the countless stars, which is actually one the highlights of visiting the site. In order to preserve the pristine wilderness, there are no hotels in Wadi Rum itself, but well placed fully equipped camps offering local food and a good night’s rest after a long day’s exploration. We visit the protected area of the Wadi Rum and tour the sand-stone mountains for a few hours in jeeps, to fully explore the area.

Tonight we enjoy the basic amenities of traditional camel hair Bedouin tents, (not en-suite) pillows, mattresses, blankets and traditional Arabic food. Sounds idyllic - sunset, stars & serenity.

We then set off for Jerash (the Greek Roman city) and continue down to the Dead Sea – the lowest point below sea level in the world. Tonight we go from Tended Forest bungalows to 5* luxury on the shores of the Dead Sea.

Day 5:- After an early morning wander around the most productive areas of Wadi Rum we again pack our luggage into the minibus and drive the short distance to Jordan's southernmost point - Aqaba. This coastal town actually overlooks Irarel and the famous birding location of Eilat, also making an ideal location for seabirds and passage.

A new wetland reserve has been created here and is already making an impact with plenty of waders, herons and egrets being found on their northward journey,

We will pay special attention to the coast as this is our best chance of finding the locally common White-eyed Gull along with some a bit more special such as Pallas's Gull, Lesser Crested Tern or even Brown Booby! Overnight in Aqaba at our 5* Hotel (sublime to the ridiculous, perhaps, but all part of the experience that this wonderful country has to offer)

Petra JordanDay 6 :- After breakfast we have a morning visit to the Aqaba wetland until lunchtime, hoping to add to our growing bird list.

After lunch we set off for the glorious rose red city of Petra visiting a few locations en-route to break this long journey.

This where you will be enchanted and over-whelmed by the sheer majesty of this historic site, knowing we have a quality local guide to guide us through this very special place. Here also you will have a chance to be Indiana Jones with a classic horse-ride through the narrow entrance to the wonderful rose city! Two nights in 5* accommodation at Petra.

Petra CanyonDays 7 & 8 :- Today enjoy the visit of one of the new Seven Wonders Of The World. The rose city of Petra, walk through its canyon and witness the amazing sites like the
Treasury, City Center, The Royal Tom, the Theatre, the High Place of Sacrifice, Wadi Farasah and the Roman Soldier Tombs.

In this incredible place many different birds live amongst breath-taking testaments to mans’ past achievements. Some of these birds could include Sinai Rosefinch, Tristram’s Grackle, Rock Martin, Fan-tailed Raven and Desert Larks. This is also the only place in Jordan to see wild Aloe Vera, Scutlered Juniper (Juniperm Phoenica) the oldest plants in Jordan and some Black Iris (Iris Petrana).

You can head back out for an early morning walk at Petra before we set off back to the fascinatingreserve at Dana, this time we overnight in the guesthouse at the top of the valley offering once again a different vista & experience. The Dana reserve encompasses a major wadi that leads down from the hills to the Wadi Arabah (Jordan Rift valley) more than 1000m below. Here we should be able to see Steppe & Bonelli’s Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzards, Lanner Falcon, Sand Partridge, Chukar, Pallid & Alpine Swift, Rock Martins, Rock Doves, Rock Sparrows, Blue Rock Thrush and House Bunting.

Day 9 :- We will be spending a full day in the beautiful Dana Reserve, which encompasses a major wadi leading down from the hills to the Wadi Arabah (Jordan Rift Valley) more than 1000 meters below. Here we should spot a variety of great birds.

In the afternoon we will be transferring to the nearby Feinan Eco-lodge where we will spending our final two nights. The lodge has no road access and only solar-powered electricity guaranteeing visitors a unique experience in this wonderful place.

Days 10 & 11 :- We will finally be spending a full day birdwatching around Feynan, the ancient copper mines of copper and a 4th century city makes this also a fabulously historic region as well.

Sadly after breakfast we set off for the journey to the airport. Hopefully having fitted in as much as possible in terms of birds and culture that the time allowed and having made a few new friends along the way.

In all honesty, a bit of everything from 5* hotels on the shores of the Dead Sea & Petra to solar-powered lodges at Dana and camel hair mattresses in a tent at the Wadi Rum camps. No two nights are the same but we hope that each night will add a different dimension to the experience.


Cost £1790pp
Based on sharing a twin/double room.

Single Supplement - £350
Deposit - £200
Maximum Group Size - 10

Price Includes:

  • Visa Fees
  • 10 nights in local accommodation
  • All meals
  • All local transport
  • Entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Jeep ride for 2 hours in the Wadi Rum
  • Local Guide in Petra & Wadi Rum
  • Potential trip list with daily checklist

Price does not Include:

  • Flights to Amman
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips
  • Travel & contents insurance
  • Extra food or drink to normal meal times
  • Optional horse riding at Petra

Flights are not included in the prices quoted, however we are more than happy to help with finding suitable flights.

Julian Sykes Wildlife Holidays are not currently running this holiday.

(see icon guide)

Target Species:

  • Target Species:
  • Little Bittern
  • Pallid Harrier
  • Steppe Buzzard
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Short-toed Eagle
  • Lesser Kestrel
  • Sand Partridge
  • Little Crake
  • Spur-winged Plover
  • White-eyed Gull
  • Laughing Dove
  • Namaqua Dove
  • Eurasian Scop’s Owl
  • Hume’s Tawny Owl
  • Egyptian Nightjar
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • White-breasted Kingfisher
  • Little Green Bee-eater
  • Temminck’s Lark
  • Hoopoe Lark
  • Rock Martin
  • Rufous Bush Robin
  • Blackstart
  • Isabelline Wheatear
  • Basalt Wheatear
  • White Crowned Wheatear
  • Graceful Warbler
  • Scrub Warbler
  • Upcher’s Warbler
  • Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
  • Ruppell’s Warbler
  • Arabian Warbler
  • Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler
  • Semi-collared Flycatcher
  • White Spectacled Bulbul
  • White-cheeked Bulbul
  • Palestine Sunbird
  • Masked Shrike
  • Arabian Babbler
  • Tristram’s Grackle
  • Brown-necked Raven
  • Fan-tailed Raven
  • Rock Sparrow
  • Dead Sea Sparrow
  • Tristam’s Serin
  • Sinai Rosefinch
  • Desert Finch
  • Red Fox
  • Spur-thighed Tortoise
  • Blue Agama

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