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Shaumari Wildlife Reserve

Shaumari, Azraq
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Shaumari Wildlife Reserve

Shaumari Wildlife Reserve sits at the gateway to Jordan's eastern deserts, but is an easy day trip from Amman. The dry dusty plains look unimpressive at first glance, but Shaumari is home to a pioneering conservation project, overseeing the reintroduction of the Arabian oryx to the region.

This dazzlingly white antelope with its extraordinary unicorn-like horns was hunted to extinction in the 20th century, but a captive breeding program overseen by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is attempting to bring them back. You can see oryx, as well as other desert fauna such as ostrich, gazelles and onagers (wild ass), in paddocks at the entrance to the reserve.

The real highlight is getting to spot the same creatures from the raised seats of a safari vehicle, the wildlife picked out for you by the keen eyes of the expert guides, as they give you a commentary on the park, its flora and the ongoing conservation projects.