Dibeen Nature Reserve
Dibeen Nature Reserve information
Established in 2004, this small area (no more than 8 sq km) of Aleppo pine and oak forest is Jordan’s newest nature reserve. Managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), Dibeen is representative of the wild forests that once covered much of the country’s northern frontiers. Despite its small size, however, the reserve is recognised as a national biodiversity hot spot, and protects 17 endangered animals (including the Persian squirrel) and several rare orchids. As Dibeen is still very much a work in progress, facilities are currently limited compared with other RSCN reserves. It’s best to check in advance with the RSCN through the Wild Jordan Centre in Amman before heading out here, as new regulations or facilities might be in place. There are some short marked (but unmapped) hiking trails through the park. In March and April carpets of red crown anemones fill the meadows beneath the pine-forested and sometimes snowcapped hills. Most trails are either small vehicle tracks or stony paths, some of which continue beyond the park’s boundaries. The area is very popular with local picnickers on Fridays, and litter can be a problem. In the middle of the park is Dibeen Rest House, a comprehensive tourist complex with a children’s playground and restaurant. The comfortable chalets (which sleep three) have simple but functional kitchens, large bathrooms with hot water, satellite TV and ceiling fans. It’s worth negotiating as prices vary depending on the season. Visitors can pitch their own tent in the grounds for JD3 per person, and have access to toilets and hot showers. Public transport here is limited. From Jerash, minibuses heading to the villages of Burma or Al-Majdal go through the park and can drop you off within 1km of the tourist-complex entrance – a detour to the complex can be arranged with the driver for a few extra dinars. Chartering a taxi from Jerash is the best idea, and will cost about JD5 to JD10 one way. If you’re driving from Jerash, Ajloun or Amman, follow the initial signs close to Jerash and then ask directions to the Rest House – there are few signs.