Jordan is home to areas of outstanding natural beauty, and Dana is no exception. Jordan’s largest nature reserve, Dana boasts an area of 320km2 containing within it mountains and Wadis along the Great Rift Valley. Dana is one of the most biodiverse areas in Jordan, with biomes ranging from sandy deserts to snow capped mountains and flora and forna reminiscent of those found in true desert, Mediterranean forests and the dry plains of Russia. A total of 700 plant species, 190 bird species, 37 mammal species and 36 reptile species have been recorded in the Reserve, of which 25 are known to be endangered, including the Sand Cat, the Arabian Wolf, the Lesser Kestrel and the Spiny Tailed Lizard.
Not only is Dana important for its natural history, but also for its rich human history. Humans have lived in the area since around 4000 BC and has been home to Paleolithic, Egyptian, Nabatean, and Roman civilizations. Today, the area is inhabited by members of the Al Ata’ata tribe, who arrived in the Ottoman period and built the village of Dana.
There are breathtaking views across the reserve, and I highly recommend hiking at sunset and sunrise for the best lighting and atmosphere.
Sadly, Dana is under threat as corporations seek to reduce the size of the reserve to allow copper mining to take place. Let’s hope the area can be protected so that this place of natural beauty can be preserved for future generations.