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On the way, I saw a valley running down to the river Jordan, remarkably beautiful and very well kept, and it was full of vines and trees because there was plenty of good water there. —Egeria, 4th century AD

Between the city of Ajloun and the Jordan Valley, walkers wander from a medieval citadel to Byzantine mosaics and Roman ruins through expansive forests and green wadis, enjoying the hospitality of villages along the way. At the center of the path lies the area of Al Ayoun in which three communities have pioneered community tourism and homestay hospitality.

In the oak-wooded hills, where a winter rain can clear the air and give incredible views over the mountains and valleys to the west, folk tales abound of ancient trackers and tricksters and their haunts in the caves and wadis. Neolithic burial markers, the homes of great Sufi mystics, and countless memories of the years in between demonstrate the cultural and historical depth to be found in the beautiful highlands and in the lush plains below.

Accommodations

Accommodations

 

Stage Location Name Type Price # of beds Contact Information (+962)  Amenities
2 Wadi Ziqlab Sharhabil bin Hassneh Eco Park G 36-60JD/ $50-85 28 (0)79-8100411 meals (order in advance)
3 Pella Pella Countryside Hotel G Dbl 40JD/$56 half board 11 rooms (0)26-560899 lunch
4 Beit Idis Adnan Megdadi F 20JD/ $29 2 apts (0)77-6689061 meals, luggage transport
4 Near Rasoun Mount Birgish Eco Camp F From $75/night 10 triple tents; 2 big tents for up to 40 Via their website, or:

(0)79-520-9166

meals
5 Rasoun Shawashreh Family F 4 (0)77-7057230 meals, luggage transport
6 Orjan Fathiya Megdadi F 6 Al Ayoun Society washing machine
6 Orjan Eisa Dweekat F 20JD/ $29 2 (0)79-6829111 meals, luggage transfer, camping
6 Orjan Mariam Bani Saeed F 20JD/ $29 5 (0)77-2288143 meals, luggage transfer, women only
6 Orjan RSCN Forest Lodge GH bungalows 65-95JD/ $92-135 15 (0)79-9062210 meals
6 Orjan RSCN Biscuit House GH 35-50JD/ $50-70 6 (0)64-616523 meals
6 Orjan Wadi Al Tawaheen Guest House GH 30-36JD 25 (0)77-6846239 meals
6 Baoun Ali Al Smadi F 20JD/ $29 8 (0)77-6301505 meals, luggage transport
6 Baoun Naim Anizat House F 15JD/ $21 1 + mats (0)79-6544410 fireplace, BBQ grill, kitchen

Accommodations key

F – Family Stay
G – Guesthouse (small locally-owned establishment with private rooms)
H – Hotel
Hs – Hostel (accommodation offering dormitory options)
T – Bedouin Tent (usually dormitory-style sleeping on mats on the floor of a large tent)
S – Shelter (a few areas have free hiker shelters, which are a simple room with cots that hikers can use)
C – Camping (a paid or free place to put down a tent, may or may not have facilities)

Transportation

Getting to Abraham Path Ajloun (Jordan)

Jordan’s main airport is Queen Alia International Airport, located 35km from Amman. Jordan has a good system of affordable taxis, and an inexpensive system of basic buses, though buses tend to leave when they are full so can involve a lot of waiting and uncertainty of availability of return journeys. Rental cars are available in Jordan, though roads are not always clearly marked in English—a good road atlas is advisable.

Getting to the start of the Abraham Path:

Shuttle buses from Queen Alia International Airport to downtown Amman depart every half hour between 6am and 4:30pm (50min, 3JD, 06-4453200). Private taxis have posted prices depending on destination, with an average cost of 20JD to downtown Amman.

From Amman’s northern bus station (Mujama’a al Shimal), buses depart to Ajloun daily (1.5 hr, 0.95JD) with greater frequency in the mornings. A private taxi from Amman to Ajloun would cost about 40JD. Amman airport and city center offer numerous rental car companies (average cost of $75/€60 per day, gas/petrol €0.89/liter, $4.20/gallon). Driving after dark is not recommended for safety reasons.

Arriving from land or sea borders:

To/from Israel/Palestine: Jordan shares three border crossing points with Israel: Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein in the north, Allenby/King Husseinin the center and Aqaba/Eilat crossing in the south. An advance visa is necessary if crossing from Israel/Palestine to Jordan via the King Hussein/Allenby crossing, which can be purchased at the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv or the Jordanian Consulate in Ramallah. North and south borders do not require advance visas.

Crossing at Allenby Bridge/King Hussein (central): Advance visa required for Jordan. Shared taxis to/from Jerusalem (Damascus Gate) leave regularly for the border (38 NIS/ ~$10 per person). Taxis from the Jordanian side of the border to/from Amman have set prices and cost 20-25 JD. A taxi to Al Ayoun costs about 40 JD. The border open hours are Sunday to Thursday,  8am to midnight, Friday and Saturday 8am-3pm.

Crossing at Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein (north): A direct bus connects Nazareth to Amman via the northern border (+972-(0)4-601-0458, 75 NIS/~$20). The Israeli side of the border can also be accessed from Beit She’an by taxi (5 min, 30 NIS/$8). Taxis on the Jordanian side have fixed prices, with Amman costing 40-50JD, Pella 10JD and Al Ayoun 15-20JD. This border is open Sunday-Thursday 6:30am-9pm (last entrance 8pm) and Friday-Saturday 8am-8pm (last entrance 7pm) – view current details.

Crossing at Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba (Eilat/Aqaba – south): The Israeli border is accessed by taxi (1km, 40NIS) from Eilat. From the Jordanian side, take a taxi to Aqaba (12JD) and take a bus or taxi from Aqaba to Amman, Pella, or Al Ayoun (see JETT buses, daily for around 8-10JD). A taxi to/from the Jordanian border costs 50-80JD to Amman. The border open hours are Sunday to Thursday 6:30am – 8pm, and Friday/Saturday 8am-8pm.

*Door to door transfers are also available from Amman2Jerusalem.

Crossing Advance visa required for Jordan? Advance visa required for Israel? Entrance/Exit tax for Israel Entrance/Exit tax for Jordan
Beit She’an/ Sheikh Hussein (North) No (most nationalities) No (most nationalities) 0/110 shekels 40JD/10JD
Allenby/King Hussein (Central) Yes No (most nationalities) 0/220 shekels 40JD/10JD
Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba (Eilat/Aqaba – south) No (most nationalities) No (most nationalities) 0/110 shekels 0/10 (free trade zone)

From Syria: While direct buses used to connect Damascus and Amman, it is no longer advisable to travel through Syria due to the current civil war.

From Egypt: A fast ferry from Nuweiba operates once a day Sunday-Friday, leaving at 1pm for Aqaba-Nuweiba and 4pm for Nuweiba-Aqaba (http://www.abmaritime.com.jo/). The journey takes about 1 hour and costs $70 USD one-way or $140 USD round-trip. Tickets must be paid for in US dollars in Nuweiba, while dollars and dinar are both accepted in Aqaba. Several private ferry companies can arrange transport for groups. The ferries are notorious for delays and complications, so it may be advisable to travel overland through Eilat and avoiding the ferry.

Visas:

A single entry visa, valid for two months, costs 40JD (about $56 USD); a double entry visa, valid for three months, costs 60JD (about $85); and a multi-entry visa, valid for six months, costs 120JD (about $170). Most nationalities can purchase the visa at the airport or land border upon arrival, but check http://www.visitjordan.com/visitjordan_cms/Default.aspx?tabid=61 to see if you need to purchase your visa in advance.

The visa cost is waived if entering by land via Aqaba (free trade zone) or when entering in a group of five or more with a licensed Jordanian guide when you will stay at least two nights in Jordan.  The exit fee for leaving Jordan is 8JD (about $11) per person and 5JD (about $7) per vehicle.

Sites in the Ajloun Region:

Ajloun Castle

Feel like the king of the world clambering atop this impressive stone castle, a stone playground commanding an astonishing view over the Jordan Valley, strategically built to defend against Crusader invasion in the twelfth century.

Baoun

The Byzantine ruins at its edge testify to Baoun’s place in antiquity. But is is a female Sufi scholar, poet, and mystic that gives the village its distinct legacy.

Jesus Cave

Everyone in Jordan seems to know a local legend about the Jesus Cave, whether about Jesus hiking there with his followers, why the tree is always drunk, or why women tread grapes better than men.

Orjan

Walk along Wadi Orjan to explore the fruit basket of Al Ayoun.

Pella

From the few columns, stretches of stone pavement, and other remains which are visible in Pella today, it is hard to imagine the historical importance of this site or its once immense size. Pella has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, though, consistently from the Neolithic Period to the Ottoman rule of the area in the late 1800s.

Rasoun

The village of Rasoun lies at the heart of community-oriented tourism in Jordan. In addition to a walking trail passing millennia-old olive trees and dolmen fields, the village has also invested in recent enterprises like selling herbal soaps and biscuits around the world.

RSCN Shops

Temptations abound for walkers at Al Ayoun’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) natural shops, where some of nature’s best tastes and smells can be sampled as everything from local soaps to trail mixes.

Tel Mar Elias

Amid stunning carpets of mosaics stands a sole prayer tree, its popularity indicated by hundreds of pieces of cloth that adorn the branches like blossoms; this site marks the location held by many to be the traditional birth place of the prophet Elijah.