Key information: Dana Area
- The Dana Nature Reserve, the largest in Jordan, contains a wide variety of landscape red hills and cliffs to sheltered gorges and valleys (with a consequent range of plants and animals) and a large number of walks.
- The wider Dana area has superb scenery and is home to many ancient relics, including castles and copper mines up to 6,000 years old; fine villages such as Dana itself, teetering on the edge of the great Wadi Dana; and Nabataean tombs and Roman towers.
- Considered a bit of a hidden gem, Dana gets far fewer visitors than Wadi Rum.
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest8
- Human interest15
- Negative points0
- Total rating85
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: Variable
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
- The easy trail to Rummana campsite (wonderfully situated) and on to Rummana Mountain (1-2 hours). You can walk back out to Dana on the 3 hour Steppe Trail.
- The 5-6 hour Feynan Trail, through deep Wadi Dana (also called the Wadi Dana Trail), from Dana to Feynan Eco-lodge (also doable on the marvelous but longer trail via Wadi Hamra (7 hrs).
- The climb to the Selah defended mountaintop (bit of a slog but magnificent views); and the long but varied route from Selah to Dana via Buseira.
- Various walks in the mountains and wadis around Shaubak Castle.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
Jordan: Walks, Treks, Caves, Climbs and Canyons– Cicerone, by Di Taylor and Tony Howard. You must have this book.
Petra: A Traveller’s Guide– by Rosalyn Magsood
The Rough Guide to Jordan– by Matthew Teller
Jordan Insight Guide – by APA Publications.
Travels in Syria and the Holy Land– J.L. Burckhardt: detailed account of the travels of the 19th century “rediscoverer” of Petra.
Married to a Bedouin – by Marguerite Geldermalsen
Jordan Jubilee – Ruth Caswell http://www.jordanjubilee.com/book/bookorder.htm or in various shops in-country.
Good walking-scale maps are very hard find.
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk. An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
Spring (late March to late May) and autumn (late September to mid November) are best: clear, sunny days and moderate temperatures make them the best times to visit. April is probably the best month for vegetation.
Around three quarters of the country can be said to endure a desert climate, with very little rainfall. However during November to April there can be rain and even snow on high ground. Summers see very hot temperatures and should be avoided. Beware rain: though not a problem in itself, even a small fall can render gorges vulnerable to flash floods.
Royal Jordanian, the national airline, flies to Amman from mumerous destinations worldwide. British Airways, BMI, Air France, Klm and Lufthansa also operate routes to the capital.
A visa is needed to enter Jordan: you can obtain single entry visas – valid foe one month from any port of entry (except the King Hassein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border), costing about ten Jordanian Dinars (around £7, €9 or $14).
Those on organised expeditions are likely to be transported form arranged departure points, usually Amman airport.
Many visitors hire a car and driver, which is still (as of 2010) a surprisingly cheap option. You can get to Petra by bus.
Entry fees apply for the Nature reserve.
See Walk Summary above.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
- Heights: can be dangerous; often not for those who have difficulties with heights.
- Dangerous animals, including snakes,scorpions, stinging/biting insects and plants. Take all appropriate precautions.
- Canyon dangers: canyons can be lethal, particularly as a result of flash floods. Assess and prepare for all risks on those walks involving canyons or potentially wet siqs. In particular, check the weather carefully and don’t go after rain or if it is possible.
- Some of this is remote country: help may be hard to get if things go wrong.
- Health risks: you may not get prompt medical help of a standard available elsewhere should you become ill. Potential problems include insect born diseases – and water-born, a problem because of a lack of safe drinking water. Come prepared, including getting all appropriate inoculations/medications.
- Stability: as of 2010, Jordan has been safe and stable for years. But the region is inherently unstable, so check the current position.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
The first question is: how do you plan to get about, generally? Public buses cover many places, but don’t go to Wadi Rum or out-of-the-way sites. Many people hire taxis or cars, or cars with drivers, still a relatively good value option and one which can add huge benefits in local know-how.
And: do you make your own arrangements (perfectly doable especially if you have a helpful driver), or use travel company? The latter will add cost but will simplify the process.
We used Petra Tours (www.petratours.com) to arrange our 8-day expedition. They are a large and reputable local firm and, while not walking specialists, made generally very satisfactory arrangements to fit the detailed plans we gave them. We were lucky to get the delightful and kind Ahmed Tahoon (mob (+926) 799249146) as a driver (you can ask him specifically): knowledgeable and happy to expand on any subject.
There is a multitude of Jordan tour organizers, including the following:
- Explore! - www.explore.co.uk - reputable and experienced organizers.
As regards Dana specifically, you can do some of these walks independently, but you are required to use an approved local guide for most of them. You can hire a local guide in various places.
The RSCN guesthouse in Dana, and the lovely Rummana Campsite. The award winning Feynan Eco-Lodge is some distance from the nearest road, and you can walk in and out.
Other information and tips
Tipping: a delicate subject. Guides, drivers etc do not necessarily earn high wages as they are expected to get good tips. So, if you get decent service, you should err on the side of generosity. Regard it as a cost to plan for.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
Other things to do in the area
Wadi Rum; Lawrence of Arabia’s refuge and a desert of wondrous multi-hued rock formations and barren, rugged terrain.
Various street festivals are organised throughout Jordan in the summer months. The festival celebrating the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is a particularly special occasion.
Jordan is crammed with historical and archaeological marvels: particularly recommended, the Roman ruins at Jerash, in the north and Crusader castle at Al-Karak.
Aqaba has plentiful hotels and famous Red Sea diving and snorkeling.
The Dead Sea: via several hotels and spas can often be organised on day-trips and shuttles from Amman. As well as its historical significance, the Dead Sea is renowned for its healing effects.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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