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Azraq Wetland Reserve, Azraq

#21 of 29 in Parks in Jordan
Nature / Park · Hidden Gem · Wildlife Area
The Azraq Wetland Reserve is a nature reserve located near the town of Azraq in the eastern desert of Jordan. An oasis for migratory birds, Azraq was established in 1978 and covers 12km2. The natural springs dried up in 1992 and most migratory birds subsequently moved away from the area. Artificial springs are maintained today in order to keep the site a tourist destination.
The wetlands were created some 250,000 years ago as a result of being fed by aquifers that corresponded with geological changes. Azraq has, since ancient times, been the crossroads of both human trade routes and bird migrations. Millions of cubic meters of freshwater attracted camels caravans carrying spices and herbs traveling between Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Syria. Millions of migrating birds stopped in Azraq between Africa and Europe. However, in the 1960s, water began to be pumped to support Amman's booming population. In 1978, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature established Azraq as a wetlands reserve. By 1992, however, the springs dried up, and the aquifers that had once gushed ceased to provide. All the water buffalos of Azraq died, and many migrating birds went to the Sea of Galilee instead.
The Azraq wetlands have been described as in the state of "ecological collapse". RSCN continues to fight an uphill battle against rising population and a growing demand for water. The 10000000m3 of water per year provided by the Jordanian Ministry of Water to maintain Azraq is only sufficient to restore Azraq to 10% of its original size. Today, there are more than 500 illegal wells still pumping water from Azraq. In just 37 years the numbers of migrant birds have reduced from 347,000 on February 2, 1967 to 1200 birds on February 2, 2000. Azraq provides drinking water for one-quarter of Amman. 25km2 once covered by wetlands have now dried up.
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Azraq Wetland Reserve reviews

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40 reviews
  • I didn't want to visit the reserve, in anticipation of feeling depressed about the failure to preserve the site. But we had free transport and entry from the Azrak lodge so we did it. Much of the...  more »
  • Beautiful reserve created after the original almost completely dried up. There is a small tour that you can just walk yourself and spot alot of birds. The larger tour has to be guided and gives you...  more »
  • Be sure to go before bird migration season begins or you will find it almost empty, just a few birds. I wish they put a restaurant there to enjoy nature. The tour will only take 30 minutes, its a small park.
  • I encourage all to visit it, lovely staff, perfect for family gatherings, and most importantly is the peace and quiet vibes with all the charming natural sights and animals.
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