Apr 2009



The Arava Crossing (Yitzhak Rabin) to Jordan, northeast of Eilat is offering access to the Hashemite Kingdom. It is a short taxi ride from Eilat (30NIS). Passport holders can enter Jordan without a visa, if they pay a $10 charge. It is not possible to take vehicles from Israel into Jordan. You can also cross the border from Israel at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, which is accessible from Jerusalem, but your Visa must be organised in advance.


For South African Passport holders get your VISA at

Jordan Embassy , South Africa
209 Festival Street
PO Box 14730
Postal Code:
South Africa
+27-12-3428026   +27-12-3428026 +27-12-3428026
+27-12-3428027  +27-12-3428027

It is issued at no cost and will take approximately 1-2 days.

If you are crossing the border during a windy day, ensure that you cover your bags. The desert wind and dirt enter every spot possible as you will have to walk about 200m between the borders in no-mans land.


Exiting Israel and Entering Jordan was easy as I arranged my VISA in advance. You will have to cash-in al NIS and exchange it for Jordanian Dinar.


The best is to make up a group getting a taxi from the border to Petra. Don’t do this on your own as the Jordanians is taking advantage, knowing there is no other transport from the border. The normal cost one way to Petra should be JD25-30. As I was alone and there was a desert storm, they asked me JD70 – I was desperate and we settled for 50JD. The trip started with a guy I did not trust. After about 5km he dropped me in the middle of nowhere and tell me to take the rest of my ride with another guy – a hell driver in a filthy car. Well this was my first and lasting impression of Jordan. If these people can just understand that the port of entry is your very first impression of a country and its people, and you should make every effort to make it a good experience. As this was not enough, about 20km from the border a convoy of Military Tanks and Equipment was moving towards the Israeli border – my wish was just to be on the Israeli side if anything happens between the 2 countries – well nothing happened.


The drive from the border to Petra is through the desert landscape of Wadi Rum, passing Bedouin villages. These area is popular for its hiking routes. Well after a drive out of hell (about 1,5 hours) we arrived at Petra Gate Hostel in Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses). It is 2km downhill from the Petra entrance. I booked the Hostel trough

 The owner Mr Nasser is very friendly. Arrange to eat dinner which is very good with a panoramic sunset view over the Petra Mountains. The accommodation is basic and you can walk the way down to Petra. Arrange transport back with the owner.

Petra is called the “Rose-red City” because of the extraordinary range of colours that blend as the sun makes its passage over the site. This was the capital of the Nabataeans – Arabs who dominated this region in Pre-Roman times. It was build in the 3rd century BC by carving palaces, temples, tombs and stables from the cliffs. It is believed that it was several earthquakes that forced the inhabitants to abandon the city in AD 555. Thereafter Petra lay forgotten until 1812 when rediscovered by JL Burkhardt.


You should spend at least 2 days exploring the city. Entry Fees are currently JD21/26/31 for 1-/2- and 3-day passes. A guide can be arranged at the information counter, although I found it of little worth. The gates is opening at 6h30 (Oct-Apr) and 6h00 (May-Sep) – You can remain in Petra usually until sunset.


Ingang na Petra

Entrance to Petra

As you enter the City, you must first walk 900m along the wide valley known as the Bal el-Siq, with many sculpting monuments out of mountainsides. The entrance to the Siq is marked by the remains of a monumental arch. It includes water channels cut into the rock, graffiti and carved niches.

As the Siq descends, it closes in and at its deepest, darkest point unexpectedly opens on on Petra’s most thrilling monument – the Treasury. It was build in the 1st-century BC. A colossal doorway dominates the outer court and leads to an inner chamber. At the back of the chamber is a sanctuary, suggesting that the Treasury was a temple.



Jor1Voor Treasury

Petra: The Treasury

Jor1 Treasury

Petra: The Treasury

Jor2 Binne Treasury

Petra: Inside Treasury









Jor3 Grafte

Petra: Streets of Facades (Tombs)

Jor4 Royal Tombs

Petra: Royal Tombs

 From the Treasury the path leads into the Outer Siq, lined on both sides with tombs. At the end of the Outer Siq, is the Classical Theatre.

At the point where the Outer Siq opens out on to Petra’s central plain, are the Urn, Corinthian and Palace Tombs, also called the Royal Tombs




Jor5 Petra Stad

Ancient City Of Petra

Jor6 Petra Tempel

Petra: Qasr el-Bint el-Faroun











One of the most enjoyable hikes in Petra certainly is the walk to the Monastery. This is also Petra’s best preserved monument. It is quite a climb with more than 800 rock-cut steps. The best time to do the walk is either early morning or the afternoon. It is a colossal temple and became known as the Monastery because of the many Christian crosses carved on its walls.

Jor7 Na Monastery

Petra: Walk to Monastery

Jor8 Monastery

Petra: Monastery










Jor10 Bedouin kos

Maqlubbeh: Bedouin Food

Arrange your time that you will be in Petra on either a Monday or Thursday, and experience Petra by Night. It starts from the Visiors Centre at 8.30pm and lasts for 2 hours. Traditonal Bedouin music is played and mint tea served. On your return, stop for dinner at A-Wadi Restaurant. It is on the Shaheed roundabout. Their speciality is Bedouin dishes as Gallaya (Meat & onions in spicy tomato sauce), Mensaf (Lamb), and Maqlubbeh (Chicken), all which come with salad & rice (JD7) – spicy and tasteful.


If you visit Israel, include Petra in the iternary – it is definitely worth it.