Dana Biosphere Reserve landscape at sunset from Dana historical village; Shutterstock ID 474783019; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Keith; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Content Asset; Full Product or Project name including edition: Jordan 2017
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Dana Biosphere Reserve

Top choice in Dana

The Dana Biosphere Reserve is the largest in Jordan and includes a variety of terrain, from sandstone cliffs more than 1700m high near Dana to a low point of 50m below sea level in Wadi Araba. Sheltered within the red-rock escarpments are protected valleys that are home to a surprisingly diverse ecosystem. About 600 species of plant (ranging from citrus trees and junipers to desert acacias and date palms) thrive in the reserve, together with 180 species of bird.

More than 45 species of mammal (25 of which are endangered) also inhabit the reserve, including caracals, increasing herds of ibex, mountain gazelles, sand cats, red foxes and wolves. The installation of night traps has given reserve wardens a better understanding of the movement of these rarely spotted animals.

The best time to visit Dana is in spring, when the hillsides bloom with flowers, or during autumn, when the auburn foliage thins out, making it easier to spot wildlife. While winter can be bitterly cold in the upper part of the reserve (some of the trails will close), it's a good time to explore the Feynan area in the lower part of the reserve. Similarly, when it's sweltering in summer in the lower reaches of the wadi, there's seldom need for air-con in Dana.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dana attractions

1. Dana Museum

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Spare some time for the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature's (RSCN) wonderful little museum. It illustrates the various wildlife at 1500m on the…

2. Shobak Castle

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Perched in a wild, remote landscape, Shobak Castle wins over even the most castle-weary visitor, despite being less complete than its sister fortification…

3. Khirbet Tannour Temple

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The neglected ruins of the 2000-year-old Nabataean temple of Khirbet Tannour are worth the hike up the hill for the view, if nothing else. A famous statue…

4. Little Petra Siq

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An obvious path leads through the 400m-long Siq Al Barid, opening out into flat, sandy areas. The first open area boasts a temple while four triclinia –…

5. Al Beidha

23.45 MILES

The neolithic ruins of Al Beidha date back 9000 years and, along with Jericho, constitute one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Middle East. The…

6. Al Wu’ira

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Built by the Crusaders in AD 1116, Al Wu’ira was overrun by Muslim forces 73 years after construction. An impressive old bridge (previously a drawbridge)…

7. Christian Tombs

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Many of these caves are marked with crosses, leading to the assumption that they may have been used for Christian burial.

8. Moses' Spring

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Moses' Spring is one of two possible locations in Jordan for the site where Moses supposedly struck the rock with his staff and water gushed forth to the…