The Azraq Wetlands Reserve is part of what little remains of Azraq's wetlands. The wetlands originally covered more than 12,000 square km, larger than the entire country of Lebanon. In the 1960s, Jordan began channeling water from here to use in the cities of Amman and Irbid. By 1990 the wetlands had completely dried up.
In 1994, Jordan's Water Authority and the United Nations began the painstaking effort of restoring the wetlands by pumping in 1.5 million cubic meters of water each year. The Azraq Wetlands Reserve is located just outside of town and covers 12 square km. There is a visitor's center that provides information about the wetlands, and a nifty gift shop.
The highlight is the 1.5km Marsh Trail, built with planks over the water. From here you can view the herds of water buffalo. Bird watchers will want to come in winter or spring, when a multitude of migratory birds converge here.
Just south of Azraq, the Shomari Wildlife Reserve covers 22 square km. It began in 1975 and has reintroduced several species that had become extinct in Jordan. These include the severely endangered Arabian oryx, as well as ostriches and gazelles. The animals are held in large enclosures. There is a spartan campsite on the reserve as well for the truly adventurous traveler.
Location: Azraq, Jordan
Telephone: +962 5 383 5017
Hours: Open daily 09:00 until sunset
Admission: 2JD for one, 3JD combined ticket for both