Wadi Feynan is a significant wadi in southern Jordan and part of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The biosphere is Jordan’s largest nature reserve and the only one that crosses four bio-geographical zones: Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian, and Sudanian penetration. As much as that excites science nerds, adventurers will love the Feynan Eco Lodge.
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) opened the Feynan Ecolodge in 2005 as an ecotourism project. RSCN’s mission of protecting and managing the natural resources of Jordan, for it is responsible for protecting wildlife and wild places and is one of the few voluntary organizations in the Middle East with such a public service mandate. The organization’s achievements include captive breeding and reintroduction into the wilderness of the Arabian Oryx, gazelle, and ibex. Their charter includes the socio-economic development of rural communities and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, which are focal points of the Feynan Ecolodge.
Feynan Ecolodge’s adventures and activities include hiking, canyoneering, mountain biking, Bedouin cultural experiences, cooking classes, and even stargazing, all creative and sustainable uses of the surrounding natural resources and the local community. However, it was their Bedouin experiences that blew me away.
Experiences include making kohl (a Bedouin eye makeup believed to strengthen eyesight), preparing a traditional Arabic coffee service, and weaving a goat-hair tent. We learned how to make traditional ‘Arbood’ bread, including baking the bread directly in hot ashes. We would never have expected this baking method to be palatable, let alone delicious, but that was just one of many surprises Feynan Ecolodge held for us.