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Jordan - Enviornment

Jordan Environment

Jordan is bounded to the north by Syria, to the north-east by Iraq, to the east and south by Saudi Arabia and to the west by Israel. Jordan has three distinct geographic zones: the fertile Jordan Valley which runs down the western side of the country; the East Bank plateau, where most of the main towns are; and the East Bank, a desert which stretches east into Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Jordan is a smallish country with a strange shape. An apocryphal story holds that the lumpy eastern border was created by Winston Churchill after a very liquid lunch.

The pine forests of the north give way to the cultivated slopes of the Jordan Valley, covered in cedar, olive and eucalypt. Further south, towards the Dead Sea, vegetation can't survive and the landscape is dominated by mud and salt flats. The desert regions of the country support the usual desert fauna - camels, desert fox, sand rats, hares and jerboas - while the hills to the north-east of the Dead Sea are home to boars, badgers and goats. Jordan is particularly noted for its aquatic life, and the Gulf of Aqaba has a huge variety of tropical fish and coral. The country's biggest sanctuary is the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve in the east, where gazelle and oryx, once common throughout Jordan, have been reintroduced.

Climate varies dramatically from one end of the country to the other. The Jordan Valley can be incredibly hot in summer (usually around 40°C), while Amman and Petra occasionally get snow in winter. The Plateau area is usually warm and dry, fluctuating between the low 20s and high 30s, while the desert suffers extremes of temperature - baking dry heat interspersed with freezing winds from Central Asia.

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