Located between the Levantine and Arabian areas of the Middle East, Jordan is bordered by no less than four other Arabic speaking countries. You will find Syria to the north, Iraq along its northeastern panhandle, Saudi Arabia to the east and southeast, the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, is to the south and Palestine to the west. The deserts of Jordan are mostly located in the east and south.
At 96,188 sq. km, the kingdom is the 110th largest country in the world. Nonetheless, the diverse terrain and landscape make it seem bigger than it actually is.
Jordanian weather can also be as varied. Its landscape and climate can be divided into three main geographic and climatic areas. First would be Jordan and the Jordan Valley, the Mountain Heights Plateau, and the eastern desert, or Badia region. In western Jordan, you’ll find the hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters of the Mediterranean climate. However, a desert climate that sees no more than 200mm of rain a year can be found throughout most of the country. Such places are the likes of Wadi Araba, the eastern desert of Badia, the Central Desert and Wadi Rum.
South of the Dead Sea, the 166 kilometers long Jordan Valley runs through the hot and dry Wadi Araba. This magnificent Jordanian desert is known for the completely barren mountainsides. These can go from 300 meters below sea level near the infamous salty sea to 355 meters high at Jebel Risha, dropping down to sea level again at Aqaba.
Eastern Badia Desert
Around 75% of Jordan is made up of a desert area known as the North Arab Desert. With elevations rising above sea level between 600 and 900 meters, the desert also stretches into parts of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
The climate of the Eastern Desert of Badia can vary a great deal both during the day and seasonally. Temperatures in the summer rising above 40°C, while the windy winter nights can reach lows of 0°C or below. Although it receives less than 50 millimeters of rain each year, there are still quite a few plants and people that live and survive in this rather harsh desert climate. It is here in the Eastern Desert one can see a multitude of vegetated wadis. Such would be the Azraq Oasis and the Shomari Wildlife Reserve.
The Rweishid and Basalt Deserts
In the Basalt Desert you’ll find black basalt boulders covering the landscape, remnants of centuries-old volcanic activity.
Just to the east of the Basalt and extending all the way to the Iraqi border is the Rweished Desert. It is an undulating plateau of limestone with some farmed grassland dotting the landscape.
The Central Desert
To the south of Amman is the Central Desert, where you’ll find the Al-Jafr Basin just to the south. A number of broad, sparsely-vegetated wadis also dot this area. Al-Mudawwara Desert lies just to the south of Al-Jafr. It is known for its wide, sandy wadis that separate the desert’s remote hills and low rocky mountains.
Without a doubt, the most famous desert attraction in Jordan, Wadi Rum is located in the Rum Desert. Here is where you’ll discover towering sandstone mesas and mountains decorated with an array of colors. These create one of the most fantastic and otherworldly landscapes on Earth. The magnificent colors of the mountains spill into the sandstone dunes scattered throughout the reserve. Both rare and native flora as well as unique fauna like the Gray Wolf, Blandford’s Fox, the Sand Cat and the Ibex can be found in the ecosystem of one of the most exceptional deserts in Jordan.
In the end, if you’re looking for a desert adventure, Jordan offers plenty to choose from and enjoy.
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