review diving in Jordan
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, known by its simplified name: Jordan, is a West Asian country whose capital is Amman in which more than 50% of the population is concentrated. It is surrounded by many states and bordered by several seas. This small country is surrounded by Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. Its geographical position gives it access to the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, strategic points for developing its maritime economy. Jordan is also particularly attractive because of its raw materials, but the tourism activity remains undeveloped because of the conflicts of territories in the Middle East which are not very reassuring for foreign visitors. Nevertheless, the government strives to maintain cordial and peaceful relations with its neighbors and seeks to maintain stability within the country and the confidence of the population.
Going to Jordan offers a total change of scenery for us Westerners because of its traditions, its territories covered with ¾ of desert zones, and its succession of civilizations which are worth to Jordan a reputation of land of reception rich on the historical plan. On camelback, you can visit splendid remains such as the Roman city of Jerash, fortresses built by the Crusaders, Umayyad castles in the desert dynasty of Arab caliphs but also the wonderful Petra, a city dug in the rock by the Nabataeans. It is a destination of choice for hiking and culture lovers.
One of Jordan’s many strengths is the beauty and quality of its scuba diving. Its 26 km coastline stretching from Aqaba to the Dead Sea, is particularly popular for its colorful backgrounds, its abundance of corals and pelagic more than 120 in total that will delight both amateurs and more experienced divers.
Where to dive in Jordan?
Diving in Aqaba
The 23 or so diving sites in the Aqaba region, almost all of which are in the Marine Park, offer high quality dives as the reefs are not frequented by tourists and divers. In these seabed, the architecture is impressive, the colors coming from the fauna and flora life are shimmering and the weak or moderate currents allow explorations that are accessible at all levels. At Power Station and Eel Garden, there are the multicolored coral formations in excellent health where small creatures such as shrimps, but also anthias, moray eels, toad fish and nudibranchs are a favorite among marine photographers. If you want to discover a complete dive site that includes all the wonders of Jordanian waters, we recommend a dive to Rainbow Reef, a must for night diving in a deep canyon with amazing marine structures dominated by corals black and elephant ears. Are you in search of dives during which you will be able to observe an extraordinary and unusual topography? Then plunge to Japenese Garden and Yellowstone Reef! These two dive sites will take you to herbaria and rocks where the scenery is magical. Rainbow-colored coral potatoes are everywhere in the sandy bottoms and wildlife is not to be overlooked; there are indeed many shrimps, moray eels, riflemen and large sergeant banks.
Exploring the many shipwrecks
In the shallow and accessible bottoms are some amazing shipwrecks, some of which are among the best in the world. This is particularly the case of the Cedar Price shipwreck, certainly one of the most beautiful and popular of Aqaba and the Red Sea. It is a Spanish ship built in 1964 that arrived in the waters of Aqaba in 1982 after a sale in Lebanon in 1978. Abandoned by its owner, this wreck has, subsequently, aroused the interest of the government of the time and the King of Jordan who decided to make it an artificial reef in 1985. Today it is a real sanctuary for the fauna and flora that proliferate there and thus lights the happiness of divers around the world. What a beautiful story!
Some sites are reserved for tek diving which entice that one has a very good diving skill level. They can experience in the remains of Taiyong and Al Shourouk. These two boats are at depths ranging from 35 to 60 meters. The first is a superb site for marine photographers since the wreck is full of soft corals, riflemen’s benches, jacks and glassfish. The second wreck is not very interesting because the corals have not yet colonized the place but the structure, in good condition, offers a nice visit.
Two massive and surprising shipwrecks offer very interesting visits to Aqaba. You can enjoy snorkeling around the Jordanian Army’s Tank M42 Duster sunk in 1999 by the Jordanian Royal Ecological Diving Society to make it an artificial reef. It is covered with corals and inhabited by moray eels and lion fish.
The most recent wreck, but not the least impressive, is the Hercules C-130, a huge plane cabin sunk on November 16, 2017, all parts of which can be explored: cockpit, doors and gangway access. Its dimensions, 30 meters long, 40 meters wingspan and 12 meters high hide many surprises that you will discover!
What are the best times for diving in Jordan?
Diving trips can be held all year round in Jordan and offer optimal conditions for your shore or sea excursions. But ensure to hydrate yourself! At certain times, the temperature may exceed 40 ° C. The hot and dry climate will push you to jump in the water. Nevertheless, during the winter from December to March, it can be cooler. The most enjoyable season for diving in Jordan is from April to November.
The average visibility is good and runs around 30 meters for recreational diving trips. For Tech divers and those who are more confirmed and equipped with professional equipment, it is possible to go down to more than 150 meters. Incredible but true, the record is 167 meters!
The sea currents are almost zero at the sites but, in the depths, especially around the wrecks, we can meet a swell that makes the currents more violent. The majority of sites remain accessible to all.
Difficulty and level: For all: beginners, advanced, experienced, tech, macro diving … diving in Jordan offers spots so varied and adapted that everyone can find happiness in accordance with his specialty!
In Jordan, particularly in Aqaba and on the reefs, water temperature often varies. Warning! For divers that get easily chilled, who will not plunge in winter in water at 18 ° C but who will favor a dive, in summer, in waters at 28 ° C.
What to see in scuba diving?
During a diving holiday in Jordan, rich and varied encounters will not be missed! Let the magic operate in the colorful, mysterious backgrounds that tell the story of Aqaba.
The Jordanian waters are home to a traditional Red Sea fauna: groupers, lionfish, napoleon fish, nudibranchs, turtles, moray eels and many more are in the area. Sharks and Manta rays are even visible on some sites. The rusty wrecks and the diverse architecture are paradises for the proliferation of corals preserved by marine parks and artificial reefs. It can be said, Jordan has many treasures. Words are often missing to describe the beauty and richness of its spots!