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AJLOUN FOREST RESERVE
FANTASTIC VIEWS OF THE SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE
The Ajloun Reserve is a beautiful and peaceful forest reserve located in the north of Jordan, in Ajloun’s remote highlands. The rolling woodland is home to a diverse collection of plant and animal species, and was established in 1987 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) to conserve the Evergreen Oak, Pine, Carob, Wild Pistachio and wild Strawberry Tree forests. It is also a wildlife sanctuary for the locally endangered Roe Deer which has been reintroduced into the reserve by the RSCN captive breeding program, as well as wild boar, polecats, Persian Squirrels, Indian Crested Porcupines, Stone Martins, golden jackals, Asiatic Jackal, Red Fox and grey wolves along with birds such as tits, finches and jays. The geography of the reserve is comprised mostly of rolling hills and valleys as well as some springs, making it ideal for hiking especially in spring, when the reserve is coated with wild flowers such as the Black Iris, rock roses, several orchids and wild tulips.
Several hiking trails of different levels are available within the reserve offering fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. Some hiking trails are compulsory guided by an RSCN guide and some are self-guided. Hiking trails include visits through the reserve and some to the surrounding villages of Rasun and Orjan where visitors may get to see the art of Arabic calligraphy and the local women at their workshops making pure olive oil soap and Tasali Jordanian delights. Trails to the archaeological sites of Mar Elias and Ajloun Castle are also offered.
The RSCN supports three workshops in and near the reserve to help generate sources of income for the local community. At the House of Calligraphy in Rasun village, one gets the chance to write his/her name or favourite phrases in fine Arabic script on leather, clothes or silk, as well as to interact with local workers in the area. The Soap House is located in Orjan village where local women use a variety of natural local ingredients, including lavender, geranium, mint and pomegranate, to create handmade olive oil soaps called Orjan Soap. The Biscuit House located in Orjan village is the kitchen where Tasali Jordanian delights are produced such as molasses, tahini sandwich cookies, olive-oil crisps, and energy bars. These products are handmade by local women and consist of natural ingredients, some of which are produced by the local community. The Nature Shop contains original nature crafts gifts and souvenirs produced by the local people at the reserve