Jordan Car Hire
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A trip to Jordan could seem like a daunting prospect due to its close geographical proximity to several unstable regions. Nestled discreetly between the borders of Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, this spectacular country is a wonderfully safe haven situated in the heart of the Middle East.
Aside from the long list of World Heritage sites found here, the jaw dropping scenery that has inspired many Hollywood movies and the vibrant and colourful culture and cuisine, the warmth and hospitality of the country’s people is amongst the most welcoming in the world. From the moment you step foot on the ground you will instantly feel like you are amongst friends.
Getting to and from Jordan
Getting to Jordan by air
Daily direct flights to the capital of Amman are available from London and most major European cities. United Kingdom and European Union passport holders can obtain a 30 day tourist visa on arrival for 40JD (Jordanian Dinars). Have your passport and the correct amount of cash readily available for a smooth transition through immigration.
Ground transport in Jordan
However, public transport links are sparse and due to lengthy drive times between popular attractions, taxi fares can often be expensive. So, unless you are booked on to an organised coach tour, which can be crowded and restrictive, hiring a car and self-driving is definitely the easiest and most cost efficient way of navigating this beautiful country. This will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace on an itinerary that you have decided.
Enjoy can organise a modern and comfortable vehicle for your trip with local providers who pride themselves on excellent customer service. They will be ready and waiting in the airport terminal on your arrival for your convenience.
Driving here is surprisingly easy. Signposting for all major tourist attractions are in English and the roads are in good condition. Driving is on the left and the fuel is cheap.
Two major highways link the cities of Amman in the north and Aqaba in the South. Avoid the monotonous and busy Desert Highway, which can often be slow moving due to large vehicles blocking the lanes and instead opt for the more scenic Jordan Valley Highway and Kings Highway.
As you move south from Amman along the Dead Sea and on to Petra (approximately 250 km), really take your time to enjoy this drive as it offers some seriously breath-taking views from the sea salt formations found along the shores of the Dead Sea to the vast rock expanses as you ascend up the winding roads to the Dana Biosphere Nature Reserve. There are also many religions points of interest along the way.
Police check points are dotted intermittently along the way. Make sure you have your:
- driving licence
- car rental agreement
- and vehicle registration card (found in the glove compartment of all hire cars)
Be ready to present if asked, though in most cases the friendly officers are more interested in chatting to you about where you are from and where you are going. They are always on hand to help and offer directions if needed.
What to do in Jordan?
The Dead Sea
Found approximately 65 km from Amman, be sure to take a couple of days to relax the mind and body at the Dead Sea. Both Israel and Jordan border this giant salt lake whose banks are more than 400 m below sea level and is famed for being the lowest accessible point on Earth. On the Jordanian side, the hyper saline waters hug the jagged mountains of the Jordan Rift Valley and the most northern east corner is lined with luxury resorts and spas.
Wander down the rocky cliffs towards the beach to catch your first glimpse of the vast and intense body of polished bright blue water that stands shimmering before you. The contrasting shades of the blue cloudless sky and perfectly still water are neatly broken up by the white chalky banks of the West Bank and Jerusalem sitting hazily in the distance.
The ritual of smothering your body with the thick, gloopy mud before bathing in the ridiculously buoyant waters is carried out by everyone who visits this truly unique place.
Just when you think these lazy days couldn't get any better, witnessing day transition to night will take your breath away as the heady array of colours from yellow to pink to purple to red light up the sky above Israel on the opposite shores. This postcard perfect scene is completed with belly dancing girls and sweet smelling shisha pipes.
Petra and Wadi Musa
No trip to Jordan is complete without visiting Petra, one of the 7 new Wonders of the World. After passing through the entrance gates and meandering through the surrounding high walled canyons, you finally enter the Siq, Petra’s awe inspiring entrance. The sudden, amazing reveal of the Treasury is enough in itself to justify a visit to this famous site. This is the iconic photo opportunity that you have been waiting for.
Stepping out into the area before the Treasury feels like stepping into an Indiana Jones film set. But this is only the beginning of an ancient city built into the famous red rock.
You can view the major sites of Petra such as the Treasury, the Monastery and the Royal Tombs in one day but allow yourself two or three days to truly experience the vast quantity of beautiful tombs and facades that pop up around every corner.
Photographs do no justice to the splendour of the site, the monumental architectural talent of the Nabateans (the nomadic people who built Petra) and the hypnotic way that the sunlight changes the colour of the rock as the day progresses. This vast ancient settlement is truly extraordinary.
If visiting Wadi Musa on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, complete your Petra experience with a visit to the Petra by Night show. This event is a magical way to see the Treasury lit by candlelight whilst listening to the soothing sound of the nearby flute players to really evoke a sense of tranquillity.
A drive out to Wadi Rum will certainly make you think that you have landed on Mars and the only traffic to worry about here is stray camels. Fondly nicknamed the ‘Rose Desert’, long corridors of soft red sand weave between stony canyons, ravines and naturally made rock bridges. Many movie location scouts have used the stunning backdrops found here for high profile films such as Star Wars and The Martian. The pinky-red hue of this desert is what gives it an almost other worldly feel.
Opt to stay at one of the Bedouin style camps to experience a truly authentic desert sunset and sunrise and to witness the incredible star filled night sky.
Wadi Rum is a protected conservation area sprawling over 700 square kilometres and venturing out to explore the dramatic desert wilderness must be done with a local guide. Organised tours such as camel rides and jeep safaris enable to you to enjoy the many attractions of Rum and follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia.
These are just a few of the amazing sights you can experience but this striking country has so much more to offer:
- Adrenaline junkies can head to Wadi Mujib to experience canyoning amongst the magnificent hidden gorges where you will conquer waterfalls and leap into cooling plunge pools
- The quaint sea side town of Aqaba offers world class diving sites found in the Red Sea
- The newly opened Jordan Trail offers a stunning 650km hike spanning the length of the country for those really wishing to get out and explore
- Or for anyone wanting a more relaxed pace simply take a stroll around the ancient cities of Jerash, Madaba and Ma’an which are all steeped in history
Jordan really is the perfect introduction to the Middle East and it will by far exceed of all your expectations. The sights, smells, tastes and colours found here are mesmerising and the first class hospitality will leave you feeling like a King or Queen. And this is why Jordan should be a definite feature on your travel Bucketlist!
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