August 4, 2001 – Amman – Kerak – Dana




Today is a transportation trip from Amman to Dana or Petra depending on the arrival time in Tafileh through the King’s highway. It will be tough because we will have to deal with several minibuses and a taxi to do 150 kilometers. I will do this trip with Antoon, the Swedish guy that I met yesterday.


We will take a minibus from Muhajirin station to take a minibus to Madaba. The driver stops 1 km after the departure ad asks the passengers to pay the trip whereas everyone gives 250 fils (like we did yesterday), he asks us 500 fils and even takes the coins directly from the wallet of the Swedish, it was “half dinar or out”. I think he has a grest sense of Jordan hospitality! What a beginning.


Hopefully in Madaba, we take another minibus and the driver is very pleased to have a Swedish and a French, "France very good Jacques Chirac very good". Our destination is Dirban (250 fils) just before the Wadi al Mujib. To continue, we have two solutions, hitchhike on the road or take a taxi: Antoon has a big bag from the last 5 months so we bargain for a taxi to cross the canyon (JD 4). In Kerak we will meet French who hitchhiked and other backpackers received the help from a police officer who stopped a car for them!! The view on this canyon is great, it looks like the Grand Canyon in the United States. Having a break there is really a good thing.


Wadi Al Mujib


Wadi Al Mujib


At the bottom of the wadi, the Jordan government is building a dam that will keep longer the waters from the winter. The taxi left us on the other side near a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully a Jordan is coming and tells us that a minibus will stop in a few minutes to go to the next village (250 fils). From this village, we take another minibus to reach Kerak (500 fils).


In Kerak, we go up the hill to visit the castle. We stop in a shop to buy some water because bottles recovered their normal price of 250-300 fils and not outrageous prices like in the last villages.


The castle is not that big from the inside, many part are ruins. But there are parts worth looking at like a 60m room under the low square near the museum with light holes. We have to ask for the keys because it is often closed. The museum is also interesting, it presents many items found during excavations in the area. Inside the ruins, you can nearly get lost and while there you will find many Jordan lovers dating there. After a 2 hours visit of the castle we eat some chawarmas on our way to the minibus station to catch a minibus for Tafileh. We never pay the same prices for these sandwiches, strange, no we are tourists!!


At the station, no problem to find a minibus to Tafileh (500 fils) where we arrive just before 5pm. As the LP or my guidebooks say there are less minibuses at such a time but we can see that at least 5 are waiting for passengers. Here again we are Bank’s representatives, they all want to charge us stupid prices to go to Dana, they ask us JD 2 for 30 kilometers. The only reason they find is that it is after 4pm so prices are higher for tourists. For Antoon and for me it is absolutely out of question to pay such a ridiculous price so I decide first to speak with them and then I write the plate number of the minibus to bluff and to force the driver to take us for the normal price. Suddenly 3 French come there and as the driver doesn’t want to miss 5 passengers he eases the price to 500 fils.


In Dana village, the driver is anxious and asks me in English (he sais in Tafileh that he only speaks Arabic!!) what I will do with his plate number. I give him a big smile!! For sure it was not a very pleasant journey for both of us, trying all the time not to be done.


In Dana the son of Dana Tower Hotel’s manager, Hamzi, welcomes us and invites us to follow him to the hotel. It sounds good because it is exactly the place I was recommended by the French guy on the roof in Amman.


We meet the other guests: 2 Germans and 3 French. The most amazing thing is that I knew the French girl, Sandrine, we were at the same High School. She is in Jordan with her boyfriend for 3 weeks. The world is very small ! Tonight we are 7 French but we speak English. We arrive just in time to admire the sunset on the valley. We will go hiking there tomorrow (14 kilometers).


Nabil, the Hotel’s manager, brings us the meal: vegetables, chicken with rice, cucumber, eggplant, and white cheese. It was excellent. Nabil likes to speak and he explains to us that he has just started this hotel because he doesn’t feel well with his partner of the Dana Hotel. He has a great sense of hospitality, he takes time to explain the hike of tomorrow and the entrance fees that we don’t have to pay because we are not in the reserve for the main part of the hike.


We go on our evening while talking on travels and specially the one of Antoon who shows us the pictures taken in Pakistan or Iran. The beauty of what we see astonishes us all, we all want to go there, maybe in the next years.


At midnight, it is time to go to sleep because we will all wake up early tomorrow morning for the hike or for Petra. The roof is very nice and it is warm enough to sleep there, we have a beautiful view on the village at night and from time to time, you can hear dogs, hyenas and even donkeys.





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D1 : Lyons – Damascus

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D3 : Damascus

D4 : Damascus – Palmyra

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D24 : Petra

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D26 : Petra – Wadi Rum

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D32 : Aqaba - Amman

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D34 : Amman – Lyons




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