Activities

Most of our guests regret one thing when they leave Feynan: that they didn’t stay longer. So don’t make the same mistake and stay with us for a few days. An exciting mix of activities is included in your stay and ensures you get a true taste of life in Feynan.

There is plenty to see, do and experience around Feynan and you can even use Feynan as your base to exploring nearby destinations such as Petra. Whether you are into a physically challenging adventure, a leisurely stroll, a deep cultural experience, time off from the hectic life, oneness with nature, or learning something new; Feynan has something for everyone.

The reserve and its surroundings offer an incredible array of hiking and biking trails with a variety of difficulty levels and duration. The rich archaeology, history and culture in Feynan is fascinating and you can join a tour to the ancient copper mines, partake in a cooking class, learn how to make kohl (Bedouin eyeliner) or simply have a conversation with one of our local staff members and delve into this remote culture. If you are not up for an active day, the lodge offers endless options of lounging spots with different views where you can read a book or just relax and take in the soothing atmosphere. At night you can lie down under a sea of stars and listen to a local guide take you through a tour in the sky or share travel stories around our fireplace in the winter in a laid back setting.

The sections below give you detailed information on all the available activities at the lodge. Every day we offer a selection of these activities in our daily schedule, including many that are included in the price of your stay. You can find out more about what’s on the schedule here.  Guests are asked to sign up for activities ahead of time by filling in the sign-up sheets at the front desk. Please note there is a small supplementary fee for any activities you take part in that include the local community and this money goes directly to the families you visit, or the shepherds that accompany you. Private guides are also available if you want to ensure a particular itinerary and these should be booked in advance of your stay to guarantee availability.

 

Hiking and canyoneering
Sunrise hike
required
intermediate to advanced (no children permitted for safety)
2 hours

Start off a great day in the wilderness with this challenging sunrise hike. Depart from the lodge at dawn with one of our local Bedouin guides to climb into the mountains just as Bedouin shepherds do with their goats each morning. This hike involves negotiating Bedouin shepherd trails atop the ridgelines of steep hills and cliffs that surround the lodge. There are two different trails, the more challenging Abu Khalil route (a local elder) ending by his winter and summer beits (‘homes’ in Arabic) and the Abu Mohammed route (another local elder), ending by his beit. At the summit of both routes you will be able to gaze for kilometres over Bedouin villages, ancient ruins, and the desert of Wadi Araba. The colours over Feynan are fantastic as day breaks and the sun begins to shine over mountains, canyons and the surrounding desert surrounding.

 

Sunset hike
required
easy, suitable for all ages
2 hours

Every evening, guests are invited to join the lodge’s guides on a 20-minute stroll to the top of a gentle outcrop to watch a sunset like no other. Against the dramatic backdrop of rugged, multi-coloured mountains, the sun descends, spreading vivid ambers, violets and reds across the canvas of the evening sky. Take this rare opportunity to witness the end of the day in the Bedouin camps below; with children wandering home from play, women tending the evening fires and men rounding up their herds in a peaceful dance as the sun falls to the haunting sounds of the call to prayer. Feel the gentle breeze ushering in nightfall as stars dot the sky and guides brew fresh mint tea over the warm fire. The whole activity takes 2 hours, including 40-45 minutes of walking.

Feynan Plants Hike
required
intermediate
2.5 hours

Discover the hidden uses of the plants of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Our guides will explain how the Bedouin use different plants as soap, herbs, medicines and treatments for their animals. This circular hike is also a great route to spot some of the birdlife that call the Dana Reserve home and see the varied geology of the Great Rift Valley unfurl before your eyes.

Archaeological treasures
guided or self-guided
easy, suitable for all ages
3-4 hours

Uncover the remarkable history of Feynan through the many archaeological treasures that dot the landscape surrounding the lodge. Well-preserved Roman ruins include an aqueduct and mill. Remnants of an early Byzantine monastery and church still stand atop a nearby hill and the remains of Neolithic settlements attest to the shift from a nomadic way of life to that of permanent dwellings and agriculture.  

Copper mines
required
easy, suitable for all ages
3-4 hours

Learn how vast deposits of copper were discovered, mined and processed at Feynan 
by ancient civilizations thousands of years ago and what an important supply centre Feynan was for the Roman Empire. Come explore deep, long-forgotten mine shafts and visit nearby sites to see how the copper was transported and refined, leaving vast slag formations from the smelting process that are still visible today.

Wadi Dana sampler
guided or self-guided
easy, suitable for all ages
3-4 hours

This half day hike explores the lower end of Wadi Dana. Starting from the lodge and the open desert-like zone of Dana Biosphere Reserve, the trail gradually becomes greener as the hike moves more and more into the valley of Wadi Dana, with tall peaks that line either side of the valley. Highlights of the hike include passing through groups of Bedouin families in traditional goat-tent homes, seeing natural springs, and catching a glimpse of some of the birds that call Dana Biosphere Reserve home. This hike returns to the lodge along the same route.

Wadi Ghwayr sampler
guided or self-guided
easy, suitable for all ages
3-4 hours*

This scenic trail begins from the lodge and passes by Khirbet Feynan, where many Byzantine and Roman ruins are preserved passing onwards into the Wadi Ghwayr basin (wadi means valley or canyon). Following the gravel riverbed, the trail proceeds onwards past a Neolithic settlement estimated to be over 11,000 years old. The trail then follows the riverbed past pink oleander, reeds and other plant life. A regular stream of water keeps the gorge green and alive. Our guides enrich the experience by explaining the local uses of the plants as medicines, soap and shampoo. Before returning our guides will prepare for you a cup of tea to enjoy along the scenic path. The route returns the same way back to the lodge. Be prepared for your feet and ankles to get wet.

 

*This trail is closed in the case of rainfall in the surrounding mountains, due to the possibility of flash floods. 

Wadi Dana
guided or self-guided
intermediate
5-7 hours

Embark on a day-long, 14 km journey that will satisfy all your senses. Start from the Dana Guesthouse at 1200m above sea level and adventure down through the beautiful Dana Biosphere Reserve to Feynan at 325 m. Cross paths and exchange warm greetings with local Bedouin tending their goats or stop to rest and enjoy sweet tea. Experience the 4 different bio-geological zones of Dana and keep an eye out for the many rare forms of flora and fauna to be found here such as the Nubian ibex. For those looking for a steeper challenge, this hike can be made in reverse, uphill from Feynan to the Dana Guesthouse. Local drivers can transport your luggage to the lodge or the guest house. There is an additional charge for transfers.

“The dramatic change in altitude over such a short distance makes Dana a habitat multi-pack. In just one day you can experience four different ecosystems simply by descending into the wadi”

BBC Wildlife

Wadi Ghwayr
required
intermediate
7-8 hours*

Take a canyoneering adventure and explore one of the most bountiful wadis in Jordan. Here a stream winds through the gorge, lined with flowering pink oleanders, palm trees and acacias. At the bottom of the narrow canyon carved into the mountains by water over millennia, the siq floor passes under massive boulders and breath-taking rock formations. Plan to get wet depending on the time of year. Various excursions can be organized: guests can either set off on foot from the lodge and end up at the village of Mansoura, where they take the 2 hours return journey by pick-up to the lodge, or can be driven to the village of Mansoura in the morning from where they can journey back through the canyon to Feynan on foot. There is an additional cost for the transfers.

“Our destination was Wadi Ghweir, a beautiful slot-canyon showcasing the kind of water-smoothed, pastel-rocked geology that is so synonymous with Jordan.” Wanderlust Magazine

*This hike is closed in the winter due to the risk of flash flooding. 

 

 

Wadi Dana to Wadi Ghwayr
required
intermediate to advanced (no children permitted for safety)
6-7 hours*

This hike is ideal for those wishing to take in the full spectrum of landscapes and terrains Feynan has to offer. Beginning from the lodge, set out towards Wadi Dana, with mountainous peaks to either side of the wadi. Here, you might chance upon some of the beautiful birds that call Dana home or some of the beautiful plants and flowers lining the gorge. Further on you will have a chance to explore the lower end of Wadi Ghwayr, another bountiful wadi that receives seasonal flows from rainfall in the mountains to the east of Feynan. Here you can explore some of the Neolithic, Roman and Byzantine ruins that demonstrate the historical importance of the area on your return leg back to the lodge.

*This hike is closed mid-September to mid-October for Ibex breeding season.

Biking
Mountain biking
Optional
Intermediate – the terrain is rough so prior off-road experience is recommended
As long as you like!

 

Mountain bikes are available for hire at the lodge for guided or self-guided rides to the many archaeological sites and the local villages near to Feynan.

Rental fees: 20JD per bike. Private guides also available to hire for the tours suggested below – please contact us to book any private guiding requirements before your stay.

Suggested routes:

Archaeological treasures

Uncover the remarkable history of Feynan through the many archaeological treasures that dot the surrounding landscape. Ride to Khirbet Feynan, a Roman (and later Byzantine) town destroyed by earthquakes where the remnants of early Byzantine churches still stand. From there, you can journey on to the Roman reservoir that supplied water to run a grinding mill. Portions of the mill are still clearly visible. Finally, follow tracks to a Neolithic village that dates back over 11,000 years and illustrates the shift from nomadic way of life to a settled life of permanent dwellings and agriculture.

Village tour

Explore the local villages, passing by archaeological treasures on the way through both on-road and off-track routes. Off-road tracks lead through Bedouin communities to the two nearby villages, where you can weave in and out of the narrow roads and gain an authentic sense of the daily activities and life of the villagers. We ask that you please dress modestly when engaging with the community and that you ask before taking pictures. Transfers back to the lodge can be arranged in a Bedouin pickup truck.

Copper mines tour

(Guide required – please book before arrival)
Join this guided off-road tour to examine some of the oldest copper mines in the world. Discover how copper was mined, transported and smelted. Descend deep into thousand year old mine shafts that have provided copper to many civilizations over the millennia. Go back in time, seeing for yourself the deep mines where Romans forced slaves to work in the bleakest of conditions.

Local Community Experience
A day with a shepherd
This activity is provided by local shepherds, most of whom do not speak English
Intermediate
Up to 9 hours

One of the best ways to get to know the local culture of the area is to spend a day with a local shepherd grazing the family’s goats in the wilderness of Feynan. Part of this authentic experience involves sharing lunch with the shepherd who will make a fire to bake the delicious “Arbood” bread and the sweet Bedouin tea.

This adventure will give you a snapshot of this ancient Bedouin occupation and what it entails. Female only guests can join one of the local female shepherds.  The length of this trip depends on the time of year since the shepherds leave early and return near to sunset. In the winter expect this activity to be around 7-8 hours and in the summer 8-9 hours.

A supplementary fee of 5JD per person is charged and this money goes directly to the shepherd.

Bedouin experiences
Required
Easy, suitable for all ages
2 hours per experience

These interactive experiences offer our guests unique insight into the lives of one of the last remaining Bedouin communities in Jordan. Bedouin culture is evolving, and through these experiences we work with the community on preserving cherished traditions without getting in the way of progression. Join a local Bedouin family in their goat-hair tented home and learn about their rich culture and daily activities. You will have the rare opportunity to experience native Bedouin daily life, learn about their daily activities, traditions and way of life and learn about the sustainable lifestyle of traditional Bedouin tribes.

Each of the experiences below lasts around 2 hours and is brought to life by one of our guides. A supplementary fee of 2JD is charged per person per activity and this money goes directly to the family that you visit.

Making kohl

A local Bedouin will show you the process of making Kohl, the Bedouin eye makeup that is believed to strengthen eyesight, protect against eye ailment in addition to its cosmetic and aesthetic uses. You will be taken through the process from the burning of cotton and olive oil under the Saj, to collecting the Kohl and applying it.

Making Arabic coffee

Arabic coffee is an essential part of the Bedouin traditions; the Bedouins serve it on almost every occasion including weddings, funerals, or simply when the family gets together in the evening. During this experience, you will be taken through the musical experience of roasting the coffee beans, grounding then boiling them. The Bedouin family also explains the etiquette of serving the Arabic coffee and drinking it.

Baking earthy “Arbood” bread

Arbood is the staple food a Bedouin would have for lunch while shepherding his/her herd of goats in the wilderness. A local Bedouin will teach you how to bake Bedouin bread from only flour, salt and water kneaded and baked in ash.  

Weaving goat-haired tents

Learn the full process of making a tent from goat hair; from the beating of the hair through to the weaving process. This is a seasonal activity for local families, normally done in early summer.

Cooking experiences
Cooking class
Required
Easy, suitable for all ages
2 hours (including lunch)

Join one of our chefs and learn to make a full three course vegetarian lunch of popular Jordanian dishes. At the end of our cooking class enjoy a feast of your own creation. The recipes for all the dishes will be emailed to you.

Cooking demonstration
Required
Easy, suitable for all ages
1 hour

Join one of our chefs as he creates a favourite Jordanian dish before your eyes and shares his secrets on how to make it. Whilst you sample their creations, listen carefully as he gives you tips on how to re-create these authentic dishes at home.  

Relaxing
Fireplace reading & board games
N/A
Hard to leave your seat
As long as you like!

Cozy up by the fireplace with a hot tea and a novel or guidebook from the library, or relax and enjoy chatting with fellow guests on the comfortable sofas and floor cushions. The library has an area where guests can leave books, as well as a host of guidebooks and local history references to help enrich your visit and help you plan your activities and routes.

Relaxing around the lodge
N/A
A little bit too easy...
As long as you like!

We have variety of different areas where you can just pick a spot, sit back and relax in the tranquil atmosphere at the lodge. As well as shady spots in tree covered courtyards inside, we also have 5 different places outside the lodge where you can escape on your own to a comfy cushion with a beautiful view and enjoy some time to yourself. 

Evening activities
Sunset hike
Required
Easy, suitable for all ages
2 hours

Every evening, guests are invited to join the lodge’s guides on a 20-minute stroll to the top of a gentle outcrop to watch a sunset like no other. Against the dramatic backdrop of rugged, multi-coloured mountains, the sun descends, spreading vivid ambers, violets and reds across the canvas of the evening sky. Take this rare opportunity to witness the end of the day in the Bedouin camps below; with children wandering home from play, women tending the evening fires, men rounding up their herds in a peaceful dance as the sun falls to the haunting sounds of the call to prayer. Feel the gentle breeze ushering in nightfall as stars dot the sky and guides brew fresh mint tea over the warm fire. The whole activity takes 2 hours, including 45 minutes of walking.

Candle lighting
Lodge staff
Easy, suitable for all ages
Up to 1 hour

As dusk falls at the lodge, you are invited to join the staff and other guests in lighting the many candles that keep the lodge aglow by night. Or simply find a spot in the courtyard and enjoy the sensation of the lodge flickering into night as the candles are lit one by one around you.

Stargazing
Required
Easy, suitable for all ages
1 hour

After night has fallen and the valley has settled into quiet, ascend candlelit stairs to a rooftop terrace laden with mattresses where you can stretch out and sip hot tea as you gaze upwards at the Milky Way in its uninhibited glory. With no other sources of light, the sky becomes a vast dome of black velvet lit only by thousands of twinkling stars and planets with occasional shooting stars burning their tails into the night sky. Kick your stargazing experience up a notch and test out a powerful 10 inch Mead telescope to get incredible views of Saturn’s ring, or Jupiter’s moons. Allow our guides to navigate you through the dark skies as their Bedouin fathers once used the stars to navigate through the deserts.