Jordan has a surface area of 35,500 square miles, slightly larger than Ireland. Its coastline along the Gulf of Aqaba is just 29 km long. 5.5 million people live in the kingdom, of which 2.5 million live in the capital city of Amman. The east of the country is practically empty, as is also the case in Syria. Jordan and Syria together border Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Lebanon.
The terrain in these countries features intense desert and mountainous landscapes. In the extensive desert plains in the east, you can find picturesque oases, although these become much scarcer the further east you travel.
In spring, the rainy areas in northern Jordan are covered with flowers such as blue lupines, red hibiscuses, pink cuckoo flowers and purple sea holly to name but a few. Cyclamens begin to grow in December. The black iris is the national flower of Jordan, and is easiest to find around Madaba. Oleander bushes grow in abundance in the dried-up river beds. The wildlife is limited, although some wildlife still lives around the oases in the east, such as gazelles, oryxes and the desert fox. You will certainly meet the dromedary (one-humped camel). Jordan is home to several places with National Park status, such as the Shauma Reserve near Azraq. Under the water deserves a special mention, with the variety of tropical fish and coral near the Jordanian port city of Aqaba. Here you can snorkel, dive, or hire a glass-bottomed boat. Hundreds of different types of coral offer sanctuary to around 1,000 different species of fish. Alongside magnificent butterfly fish, parrot fish, clown fish, balloon fish and lion fish, you’ll also get close up to starfish, sea-horses and sea anemones.