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perfect moussaka with crispy cheese topping

A recipe for the perfect moussaka. This one is light, fluffy, with a golden crust, resting on silky layers of roasted aubergine and minced lamb. Rich and delicious.

We entered Aqaba 3 days ahead of schedule, escaping a dust storm that made visiting Wadi Rum impossible. Being out of doors was impractical because the dust was so thick – thankfully it didn’t matter because we were lodged in the beautiful Kempinski hotel.

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After several days of trekking in the dust through Dana Valley and then later Petra, I was glad for some time to relax by the sea.

Jordan’s “Desert Castles” are a group of early-Islamic buildings located east of Amman in various locations throughout the desert. Visiting them is easy, and for us, constituted a one day excursion out of Amman.

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Although there are 9 of them located in a loop in close vicinity of each other, it is not possible to see all, and our guide recommended us Qasr Kharana and Qasr Amra.

Despite Jordan being such a popular tourist destination, we were unable to find an itinerary for the length of time we had available, which we thought would have been comprehensive enough. Therefore, we’re going to put the one we made up here for future travellers.

15 Days Jordan Itinerary
Limestone mountains, Wadi Rum desert

This itinerary covers just over two weeks (15 days actually) and will take you through all of Jordan’s major attractions. Links throughout the post link to the pages on this site describing the locations in greater detail.

Canyoning through Wadi Mujib was incredible. At the beginning of the trail, we donned life jackets and walked down the flimsy aluminium ramps and stairs, not knowing what to expect. Wading down the shallows into the gorge, we felt like we’d entered a Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride, except without the same safety precautions and the potential to slip up badly.


Deeper in, when we could no longer walk on the river bed, there were ropes pinned in a zig-zag pattern through the gorge. These you grabbed onto and pulled yourself forward with, further into the canyon while floating on your life-vest.

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As a kid, I always wondered if there actually was a way to walk on water, one devoid of miraculous explanations.


My first introduction to the Dead Sea was a few pictures in the travel supplement of the local newspaper, depicting people floating on it effortlessly. Imagine, to not sink in water! It became and obsession and I nagged my parents to take me there. They never did, and my dreams of floating on a body of water, however remarkable, soon faded as I got older.

Dana valley was my favourite destination in Jordan. Our experience of the reserve stretched from Dana Guesthouse to Feynan Ecolodge, connected by a breath-taking 16 kilometre trek with diverse, magnificent flora and fauna over a multi-climate landscape.

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View of Dana Valley, at the top of the rift valley

At the top of the valley, where Dana Guesthouse was perched over a cliff overlooking the breath-taking views, we were treated to a cool Mediterranean climate. Down in the valley floor though, we walked through tricking streams in Saharan temperatures.

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The 14km hike from Dana Guesthouse to Feynan Ecolodge


The Valley of the Moon, it is called. One can see why, with its unearthly, monumental rock formations rising out steeply beside us as we make our way through Wadi Rum on the back of a pick-up truck. Once at the bottom of the ocean, it is now dry, its floor covered in peculiar red pebbles, its cliffs topped with soft sandstone melting like candle wax over the harder granite that form their lower levels.

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Siq Um Tawaqi, a short canyon containing a carving of the head ot T.E. Lawrence

When it storms, our guide told us, the waters pour out from the heavens and cascade in a thousand waterfalls over all the cliffs.


Jerash is a beautiful, sprawling complex of colonnaded streets, monumental arches, plazas, baths and theatres.  One of the best preserved Roman sites in the world, it is often over-shadowed by Petra and given a miss by the time pressed traveler for Jordan’s other attractions.

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View from the Temple of Zeus overlooking roman Gerasa. The site was sacred long before the temple was built in 160 A.D.

This is a pity, as Jerash truly holds its own in the network of Roman cities; as it did in antiquity, so it does today.

Petra is one of the most intriguing Wonders I have visited. The combination of architecture fused with nature is a powerful one that has always captured my imagination and made me wonder at the power of nature and the mastery of man over it.

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Entering Petra through the siq – a narrow passage created through tectonic forces and worn smooth by water – is stepping through time. This passage holds the scars of nature and the works of man across hundreds and thousands of millennia. It is breath-taking.

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Amman is a young city, we are told, as our driver and guide drove us into the center from Queen Alia airport. Its history is as long as the history of human civilization, but the city itself is as young as the Kingdom of Jordan.

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It radiates from the Raghadan Flagpole which hoists the country’s flag, so many limestone buildings in varying shades of white glistening under the desert sun, undulating over nineteen hills, from the center to suburbia. Built with limestone from the surrounding hills, altogether, it looks as if it were sculpted from the very ground beneath.