If you love hiking, Jordan is the perfect country for you. With terrain types ranging from Mediterranean forrests to deserts and rocky mountains, there’s something for everyone in this small yet geographicaly diverse country.
A few weeks ago, I joined JO Navigators on a trip to Shoubak. Shoubak is a rocky area south of Amman in the Ma’an Governorate north of Aqaba. It’s mostly known for its Crusader castle and cold winters. It’s also a beautiful place to go hiking!
Our day began early in Amman where we met our bus driver for the day, who was dressed very dapper for a day hiking!
When we arrived in Shoubak, we met our guide for the day, who has been walking in the hills of Shoubak for over 30 years. We began our hike and were immediately met with stunning views over the canyons and valleys, most of which are millions of years old.
About half way through our hike, our guide announced that we would stop for a tea break. I was a bit confused as we were in the middle of nowhere, far away from any tea making facilities. But I was not as creative as our guide. He promptly pulled a cast iron tea pot from his bag and went to collect dry sticks. After lighting a fire, he added water, tea leaves, and sugar to the pot and boiled it over the fire. It was genuinely a lovely cup of tea (the Jordanian word for tasty is zaaki)!
We continued hiking and towards the end found what looked like abandoned houses. It was so interesting and slightly eerie to see the remains of a community on the hillside. We also found a fresh water stream at the end of the hike – very refreshing after walking in the heat!
After our hike, we were treated to lunch at our guide’s home. On the menu was maqluba, a traditional Jordanian dish made with meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a pot which is flipped upside down when served – it was so tasty! We sat in a majlis, a private place where guests are received and entertained.
Hiking in Shoubak was an amazing experience. It was great to meet young Jordanians and chat to them about life in Amman and practice my Arabic. I hope to go back to the area soon to explore more of what Shoubak has to offer.