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This wonderful reserve, which ranges from an altitude of 900m above sea level to 400m below, was originally established by the RSCN for the captive breeding of the Nubian ibex, but it also supports a surprising variety of over 400 species of plants (including rare orchids), 186 species of birds and 250 animal species, including the Syrian wolf, striped hyena, caracal and Blandford’s fox. It’s also an important staging post for migratory birds travelling between Africa and Europe. The reserve faces several challenges but it’s encouraging to see parties of schoolchildren here, as the future of Jordan’s ecological heritage is in their hands. The visitor centre is along the Dead Sea Highway, about 20km south of the Dead Sea resorts, beside a suspension bridge across Wadi Mujib. Guides are compulsory for all but the Siq Trail and should be booked in advance through the RSCN. Only 25 people per day are allowed on each trail and there’s a minimum group size of three on some trails. Apart from the Ibex Trail, children under 16 are not allowed. Life jackets are provided. There are three wet trails (open between 1 April and 31 October) and two dry (open year-round). The best time to visit is April and May, although February and March, and October and November are the high seasons. The region is extremely hot and dry for most of the year, so guided treks usually begin early in the morning. For the wet trails, you may be wading up to your chest in water (or swimming) so bring a swimming costume, towel, walking shoes that can get wet, and a waterproof bag for your valuables and camera. A spare set of clothes is also recommended.