Jordan

Dancers in Jordan  Petra, Jordan 

Why Jordan?                                                               Click here to view video

Most travellers visit Jordan with its history in mind and understandably so. Voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Lost City of Petra, the two-thousand year old rose red city of the Nabateans, stretches up out of the rocks, the jewel in Jordan’s cultural crown and the primary lure for many a traveller since its appearance in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s not just the magnificent Petra that entices the visitor; Jordan is steeped in stories from the distant past, with the majestic relics to prove it. Look – here’s the spot where John baptised Jesus at Bethany by the Jordan. Elsewhere, follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia from his headquarters fort at Azraq, through to the deserts of Wadi Rum, where the movie was filmed, soak up the therapeutic benefits of a visit to the Dead Sea, trek along routes that were mentioned in the Old Testament, take in the view of the Promised Land that was revealed to Moses, and gaze out over a landscape that has changed little in the last 2,000 years.

Still, whilst its history is important, the small Kingdom of Jordan is looking forwards. Its relatively stable economic and political position in the Middle East has resulted in modernisation, with capital city Amman reaping the benefits. Foreign investments have flooded in and with new hotels, glitzy bars and restaurants springing up in their wake to accommodate this ex-patriot demand, the city is no longer just a base from which to explore the ancient sites, but an attraction in its own right.

  • When should I travel?
The Jordan Valley and the area around Aqaba is warm during winter (January-February) with chilly evenings, and extremely hot in summer (June-August). In the Eastern Desert, the winter can be bitterly cold and dry and the summer intensely hot. The central spine of hills can receive snowfall in winter and is cool in the evenings in summer. Rain falls between November and March.

  • Is it safe to travel and are there places to avoid?
Jordan is very safe. There is virtually no unsafe part of Jordan except at the Iraqi border. Although the rural parts of Jordan have limited infrastructures, the fellahin (or village people) will be happy to assist you. Jordan is one of the most liberal nations in the region. Women may wear regular clothing without harassment in any part of Jordan. Western fashions are popular among young Jordanian women. However, modest clothing should be worn in religious and old historical sites. Keep in mind Jordan is a Muslim nation and western norms may not be accepted even by Jordan's western educated elite, such as public displays of affection. Jordan is not a place where homosexuality is taken as lightly as in the West, although is not illegal as is the case in most other Arab nations. Adultery, including consensual sex between unmarried couples, is illegal and can be punished by a maximum of a 3 year jail term.

  • What money should I take?
The currency is the Dinar (JOD). American Express, Visa, Diners Club and MasterCard are accepted in hotels, restaurants and larger shops. ATMs can be found in most of the larger towns and throughout Amman.  ATMs can be found in most of the larger towns and throughout Amman. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.

  • What language will they understand?
Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken. French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken in many tourist areas.

  • How about my health?
Health insurance is strongly recommended. There are excellent hospitals in large towns and cities, with clinics in many villages. As in all urban areas in the world, Jordan's cities have some health concerns but also keep in mind that Jordan is a center for medical treatment in the Middle East and its world-class hospitals are respected in every part of the world. Just remember to have caution with buying food from vendors, the vendors aren't trying to hurt you but the food might be unclean. Hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are abundant. Jordan is a hub for medical tourism.

  • Public Holidays

2012
01 January New Year's Day
05 February Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet)
06 April Good Friday
09 April Easter Monday
01 May Labour Day
25 May Independence Day
10 June Army Day
17 June Prophet's Ascension
20 July Ramadan begins
19 August Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
26 October Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
15 November Islamic New Year
25 December Christmas Day

2013
01 January New Year's Day
24 January Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad)
29 March Good Friday
01 April Easter Monday
01 May Labour Day
25 May Independence Day
05 June Lailat al Miraj (Night of Ascension)
10 June Army Day
09 July Start of Ramadan
08 August Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
15 October Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
04 November Islamic New Year
25 December Christmas Day

  • Do I need a visa?
South African passport holders require a visa for entry into Jordan.  A permanent passport holder can get their visa on arrival.
  • Will I need any innoculations before I depart?
A yellow fever vaccination is required if coming from an infected area.