A visit to Kruger Park + a recipe

I am still smiling after the weekend that we treated ourselves to in Kruger Park. A weekend of wilderness, game drives, Braai’s, great friends, beautiful sunshine and tasty beer. The long weekend approached with much anticipation and sheer excitement. I’ve … Continue reading

Jordan

Arriving in Amman on a cool Spring morning, we hopped in to our car and made our way down to The Dead Sea. Not really knowing where I was going but my trusty navigator set us on the right path. The first moment when I realised we were in for a specatacular trip was the breath taking drive over Mount Nebo at sun set. There was this over whelming sense of natural beauty around the place. I was mesmerised!

Eventually, we pulled into our abode for the next 2 days and looked forward to some rest and relaxation. Our hotel had it’s very own Souq, so once we were settled in we headed over for some nosh and to take in the romantic settings surrounding us and have a tipple The Wine of The Holy Land.

The next morning, we wandered down to The Dead Sea, a salt lake 423 ft below sea level, it is the lowest elevation on the earth’s surface on dry land and with 38% saline solution, it is one of the world’s saltiest lakes. Not a pleasant feeling when you swallow a mouthful! With views of Isreal on the opposite side, you could sit and float for hours.

Clay pots full of mud are available  on the shoreline, so get ready for a full mud mask to reap all of those benefits.

After our pampered stay by The Dead Sea, we packed up and headed off down towards Petra. A 3 hour drive that took us on a totally unexpected trip through the mountains. We drove through towns surrounded by mountainous terrain and deep valleys that seemed to stretch on for eternity

When you arrive into Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), we were greeted by a beautifully bruised sunset sky. It is said that Moses struck water from the rock in the valley here, and this allowed the people of Petra to build channels which carried the water from the spring to the city of Petra.

On entering the City of Petra, visitors are allowed to take a free ride on the Donkeys and carriage. The whole city is full of these cute little animals, giving it that extra bit of charachter, not to mention the folk of Petra. Men dressed up in black eye liner and head scarves, shouting at visitors to hop on their donkeys or pick up some nik naks from their stalls…

Petra is famous for it’s rock-cut architecture. Mammoth buildings and stadiums cut straight into the rock. When you catch your first glimpse of The Treasury through the slits of the arching rocks at the end of The Siq, you get this exciting feeling, imagining all of the hard work that had been done to create such a magnificent masterpiece.

I may have gotten a little carried away with the donkeys, but look how cute this little fella is…..

The highest point of Petra is an 800 step climb to the top. The  Baptistery lies at the top, with breath taking views of the surrounding valleys.

If you look really closely in the picture below, you can see a hiker climbing up the mountains.

After the day long trek around Petra, we relaxed at the Turkish baths provided by our hotel and then tucked into a mixed grill to cure our serious appetite after the day in the sun!

The next morning it was time to get ourselves back on the road again. We got onto the highway and made our way to Wadi Rum. Valley of the Moon. Cut into the sandstone and granite rock of South Jordan, it is the biggest valley in the country. We were collected in the entrance to Wadi Rum and brought on a drive through the desert. Stopping at sites which were marked by grafitti dating back to Nabatean times. T.E. Lawrence, other wise known as Lawrence of Arabia was based in Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt. Our Bedouin guide took us on a tour of Lawrence’s hotspots.

And then we broke down, our driver climbed into the engine to have a fester about, which gave us some time to relax in the evening sun…

We came across some camels who were grazing in the desert. Our guide had to feed him some water and have a little chat with him before we could approach him.

We finally made it to the camp, just in time to watch the sun set…..

And to have some tea……

After sun set, we went into the  Bedouins tent and ate a monstrous feast of rice and lamb and then sat by the fire while the Bedouins told us stories and played some of their traditional instruments.

Afterwards, we took a big woolly blanket outside and sat outside in the freezing cold under the starry sky. I had never seen so mahy stars before in my life and seeing as we had driven 3 hours to get to the camp, it was no surprise that the stars were shining so brightly, hours from any civilisation and just pure peace and quiet.

The next morning, we were off to Aqaba. A seaside city, resting on the shores of The Red Sea. We stayed in a dive centre just 5 km from the Saudi Arabian Border. After checking in, we grabbed our gear and hit the sea for some snorkelling. It was my first time but the beau was on the job to teach me the ins and outs of sea life. We had so much fun swimming with the fishies and dining on some freshly caught fish with the locals.A nice way to end the week.

Jordanians are an extremely friendly people. All throughout our trip we were welcomed in such a nice way. Being stopped at check points regularly, they always had a big smile and ‘Welcome in Jordan’ response when we pulled up. The trip was a rollercoaster of taking wrong turns, sunshine, driving through endless winding mountainous roads, smiles, eating, advenuture and discovery!