We didn’t know what to expect as we drove along the deserted bumpy road to in a remote desert of Jordan. The Feynan Eco-lodge was our destination and all we knew about it was that it was hailed as one of the top eco lodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler. Set back in a quiet valley of Wadi Feynan this resort is a standout destination in the country.

feynan eco lodge in jordan

Feynan Eco Lodge, Jordan

Located in the Dana River Biosphere Reserve, The Feynan Eco Lodge is a solar powered retreat offering peace and quiet while promoting conservation and encouraging its visitors to hike and explore the surrounding area. Nick, a representative of the property told us that they have no plans on grooming the road because they don’t want people to take their cars into the reserve. They want patrons to leave their automobiles at the visitors centre and take a shuttle to Feynan. It not only is better for the surrounding environment, but also helps to employ the local people.

feynan-ecolodge-sunset-jordan

The Feynan Eco Lodge is a part of The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. It is a project that makes protecting Jordan’s natural resources and wildlife. It also works to develop programs to support the rural communities of Jordan by creating jobs in eco-tourism and craft production.

Today we were being guided through the reserve by a member of the community, Mohammad grew up in this very reserve and knows the area like no one else.

Jordan is an ancient land and Wadi Feynan has been inhabited for centuries. It was fascinating to us how Mohammad would pick up a piece of glass and tell us casually that it is from Roman times dating back to around the 7th century.  Mohammad told us that he grew up in a cave in these mountains. He then lived in a Bedouin tent and has since gone to university, moved into the city and now lives in his very own house in a nearby town.

His life has changed immensely from his early childhood when he herded goats far into the mountains for days on end. He was only a child of 7 to 10 years old when he would camp out alone to take care of his herd while fending off wild animals. To keep his fear in check he would play the flute to cut the silence of the night.

He played his flute for us as we watched the sun go down and told us stories of his life and family.

feynan eco lodge guide mohammad

Mohammad Plays the Flute for Us

He tells us how he couldn’t imagine sending his son off into the mountains today, but it was so normal when he was young. Mohammad is a well spoken and highly educated man that studied Arabic Literature in university. He has big plans for his future and the future of the Bedouin tribe that he belongs to. Working together as a community, everyone supports and respects one another. He speaks with great thought and intelligence when he discusses politics, economics and history and I am drawn to his every word.

bedouin-tent-wadi-feynan-jordan

A Typical Bedouin Tent

We thoroughly enjoyed our hike through the valley learning about its flora and fauna. Mohammad pointed out plants and trees that provide everything from sustenance and shelter to cleaning supplies and remedies. But it was the conversation that we truly were captivated by.

Dana biosphere reserve jordan

This Plant turns into Soap!

We made our way to the top of a mountain which turned out to be an ancient ruin. From afar it simply looks like a big hill in the valley. Upon closer look it is a pile of rubble from a castle thousands of years old. This was an Byzantine monastery dating back to 300 AD. When the Romans came to the area, they turned it into a castle. Looking at it on the way back to the lodge, we imagine how magnificent it must have looked to outsiders happening upon the Valley.

byzantine ruin in Wadi Feynan Jordan

A Mountain of Ancient Byzantine Ruins

As we talked with Mohammad, the sun set in glorious shades of orange. We sipped tea made over a small fire and discussed our lives and his.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely and as we walked back to the lodge and Mohammad asked us if we would like to meet his family. We stopped in at a Bedouin tent where children were playing and a fire was burning. We met 3 generations that night. Mohammad’s sister in law, her children and his mother. We ate fresh bread cooked in the earth and laughed as Mohammad translated as we spoke our few Arabic words that we had learned over the week. The kids got a kick out of my name. Debra means “a bug that bites” in Arabic and they didn’t believe I was called that. In return they decided to call themselves made up names to match mine.  Just before leaving, Mohammad’s brother came home and we enjoyed another pleasant exchange.

feynan-ecolodge-jordan-family

Mohammad's Niece and nephews

It was now dark and our guide for the week Ali was getting worried. He called us regularly and finally came out looking for us with Mahmoud our driver. Finding us laughing and joking on the side of the road, we put his mind at ease and told him that we would meet him at the lodge.

Upon our return, we were greeted to a feast and a candlelight dinner out on the patio. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day in Jordan.

feynan-ecolodge-sunset-jordan

The amazing sunset in Feynan

But that wasn’t all, we finished off the night laying on mats on the roof looking up into the crystal clear night sky. Millions of stars danced above as we gazed into the darkness free of any light pollution to distort our view. We felt euphoric and couldn’t keep ourselves quiet. We laughed and joked with Ali, Mahmoud (who had become good friends by now) and Nick until we finally felt the cold desert air enter our bones giving us the signal to turn into our room.

Feynan-eco-lodge-jordan-rooms

Our Room lit by Candlelight

The rooms at Wadi Feynan are exactly what you would expect from an eco-lodge. Inviting and comfortable. A place that you never want to leave and could simply curl up with a book and while away the days. We slept peacefully in our silent sanctuary and morning came too soon for us.

We could have stayed here for weeks exploring the area and can’t wait to go back and do exactly just that.

  • You can find out more information at Feynan Eco Lodge
  • Prices start at the Feynan Eco Lodge 77 JD ($108 USD) for Bed and Breakfast and Reserve Entry Fees
  • You can book guided hikes and mountain biking at the lodge from Free to 15 JD
  • There is transport from Dana Village, Mansoura, Petra,Amman, Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea and Karak

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30 Comments

    1. davendeb

      All the more reason to go back eh? I know that you love Jordan too, it is one of those places that I can easily see myself going back to. It will probably be the country that we fly into on our adventures into the Middle East in the next year or two.

  1. Audrey

    Feynan EcoLodge is a pretty cool place. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go on one of the hikes around the lodge – sounds like you had a great guide and a good time. But I do have fond memories of laying on the roof watching the stars – so peaceful.

    1. davendeb

      Audrey, I was thinking of you while we were laying out on the roof. When you gave us the tip to make sure to go up on the roof, I didn’t know what to expect. It was very cool laying in the pitch dark looking up to the sky. I love how Feynan doesn’t light up anything on the roof giving you a clear view of night.

  2. Andrea

    I LOVE places like this. So much better than a regular hotel that can seem like it is anywhere. Our first experience with a sustainable hotel was EcoCamp in Patagonia at the Torres del Paine National Park and we will definitely look for experiences like this again in the future. Sounds lime you had great interaction with the locals.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Andria, thanks for the heads up about the Ecocamp in Patagonia. If we ever make it there we will check it out. Places like this really are an excellent alternative to hotels and we agree, we want to look for more experiences like this as well.

  3. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy

    What an interesting post! So much beauty in the desert, the colors on the sand, rocks and sky are beautiful. Found “the plant that turns into soap” to be a particularly interesting eco-product. Very nice photos. Thank you for the interesting insights.

    1. davendeb

      We loved that plant too. Our hands felt so fresh afterwards and I loved that there wasn’t a perfume scent like so many soaps have. Who would have thought that this shrub that looks so dry could start up such a lather. These are the things that I love about hiking with guides. They can share so many insights into a place more than just hiking on your own. We learned about plants, rocks, trees, birds and berries. So interesting.

  4. Sherry Ott

    This was one of my favorite places I went in Jordan. They also have a volunteer program there where you live at Feynan for a month and teach the staff English. Can you imagine – it would be a complete digital cleanse and you could hike all the time!

    1. davendeb

      That sounds like an amazing experience. Thanks for letting us know about the opportunity to volunteer. I could see myself spending an extended time at Feynan and to give back to the community would help to make the trip even more rewarding.

    1. davendeb

      You said it Sofia. Rugged and beautiful and it really is far away from everything. Jordan is a very small country, but there are many places where you feel completely alone.

  5. Cailin

    Wow, that place looks amazing, I would really love to stay there! I am glad you had such a great time in Jordan and have all of these wicked stories to share :)

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Cailin. We did have a great time and there are so many more stories to come.

    1. davendeb

      You are right, A Jordan sunset is beautiful. The desert lights up into so many gorgeous shades of yellow and orange.

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  9. kiwivic

    This place looks amazing, and wonderful value! – there was nothing like that in Jordan when I went there but that was twenty years ago! – the accommodations were more basic then but the country was just as fascinating and beautiful- about time I did a return trip I think

    1. davendeb

      Wow, that would have been amazing to go 20 years ago. I am always envious of people that had the opportunity to see places like this before globalization took too much of a hold. You would have seen a Jordan that was unchanged for centuries.

    1. davendeb

      I know eh! I hope that it looks as good in person, you never know with trick photography these days. But we feel really lucky to have such awesome digs for London.

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