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AJLOUN Ajloun Reserve  
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Ajloun Reserve

Ajloun Reserve was first established in 1988 and is located in the Ajloun Highlands in northern Jordan, around the village of Umm al-Yanabi' north of Ajloun. It is a area of rolling hills covered by dense woodlands of evergreen oak, interspersed with pistachio, carob, and wild strawberry trees. The trees have been important to local people for their wood, scenic beauty, and quite often for medicine and food. These woodlands are like the original forest animals, including herds of wild boar.

A captive-breeding programme for the locally extinct roe deer was initiated and an enclosure has been built on site, so they can be released into the forest in the near future. The roe deer is adapted to local forest habitat, and feeds on a variety of trees, shrubs and grasses. The rich Mediterranean-like forests that covered the Ajloun area provided an ideal habitat for millennia. However, deforestation and desertification over the past 200 years led to the decline in numbers of the roe deer. Three roe deer were introduced to the captive breeding enclosure in Ajloun in 1988, from a similar habitat in Turkey. Today, there are sixteen roe deer at Ajloun. The Persian Fallow Deer is another species that was once common in Jordan. This animal probably became extinct by the beginning of the 20th century and its re-introduction is now being pursued

Birdlife International declared the area an Important Bird Area.
The reserve (13 square kms) is located in an area named Eshtafeena. The reserve management provided a special area for camping and has set up two hiking trails and:

Easy trail

Scenic viewpoint trail: (2 km), taking 1-2 hours, leading from the campsite to the summit of a nearby hill overlooking the reserve. The area surrounding the trail is rich in wildflowers in the springtime. It is an excellent spot for a picnic. Not far from the campsite an old stone wine press is found. The return trip goes past the breeding enclosures of the roe deer and back to the Visitors' Centre.

Moderate trail

Rockrose trail: (8 km), taking 4-5 hours, passing across heavily wooded valley and ridges, inside and outside the nature reserve. This highly scenic trail passes through villages and olive orchards and offers beautiful panoramic views to the West Bank and Syria. There are steep scrambles en-route that demand a reasonable level of fitness.

Getting there:

Ajloun is one and a half hours from Amman. From the Amman-Jarash Highway turn to the old Jarash road marked by a sign reading "Ajloun and Jarash". Turn from this road to the Ajloun road (marked by a road sign). Follow this road to Ajloun where you will find signs indicating the way to the reserve.

Ajloun Woodland Reserve is located in the Ajloun Highlands (North of Amman), around the extension of a long valley known as Wadi Ain Zubia. It consists of Mediterranean-like hill country, dominated by open woodlands of Oak and Pistachio trees. The Reserve was first established in 1988 when a captive-breeding program for the Roe Deer was initiated.

The reserve, 13 square kilometer, is located in an area named Eshtafena. The reserve management has set up two hiking trails and provided a special area for camping.

Ajloun's woodlands consist mostly of Oak trees, interspersed with Pistachio, Pine, Carob, and Wild Strawberry trees. These trees have been important to local people for their wood, scenic beauty, and quite often for medicine and food.

The Roe Deer is adapted to forest habitat, and feeds on a variety of trees, shrubs and grasses. The rich Mediterranean-like forests that covered the Ajloun area provided an ideal habitat for millennia. However, deforestation and desertification over the past 200 years led to the decline in numbers of the Roe Deer. Three Roe Deers were introduced to the captive breeding enclosure in Ajloun in 1988, from a similar habitat in Turkey. Today, there are 13 Roe Deer at Ajloun.

The Persian Fallow Deer is another species that was once common in Jordan. This animal probably became extinct by the turn of the century. A re-introduction program for this deer at Zubia will begin as soon as the Roe Deer program has been firmly established. This species of deer derives its name from the old English word "falu", meaning "brownish-yellow", which describes the color of its coat.

The Ajloun area has a long history of human settlement, due to its Mediterranean climate, dense forests and fertile soil. This rich history is reflected in the many archaeological ruins scattered in the woodlands and surrounding villages.

A spring located in a valley between Zubia and Tubna villages served as a major source of water for the surrounding settlements. Today, there are more than ten villages surrounding the Ajloun Reserve. Some villagers are involved in farming crops such as grapes, figs and olives while others work in the public sector. Ajloun area is famous for its olive trees and its assorted products.

Azraq is a unique wetland oasis located in the heart of the semi-arid Jordanian eastern desert, one of several beautiful nature reserves managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature.

Its attractions include several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a large mudflat known as Qa'a Al-Azraq. A wide variety of birds stop at the reserve each year for a rest during their arduous migration routes between Asia and Africa. Some stay for the winter or breed within the protected areas of the wetland.


Wild Life

The Azraq Oasis derives its name from the Arabic word "Azraq", meaning blue. In the past, the pools, marshes and streams of Azraq formed a sparkling blue jewel in the desert, a haven for up to a million migrating, breeding and wintering birds.

Despite the loss of most of the permanent wetland habitat during the past decade due to a lack of rainfall, Azraq continues to provide a seasonal habitat for a large number of wildlife species.


Accommodation

The Azraq reserve lodge, a cozy common room with a fireplace, is set within the beautiful surroundings of Azraq. In addition to the lodge, 10 private two-room bungalows are available to accommodate the visiting tourist.

Book guided tours and information can be found at the visitors' center that also holds a small exhibit on nature and history of Azraq, a lecture room, and an aquarium.

 

 

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