Azraq is a an area located in the eastern desert of Jordan, with an oasis that features unique wildlife and a 3rd century historical castle dating back to Roman times, although the current structure was rebuilt in the 13th century. The location was of strategic value due to its location beside the oasis which was the only access to water at the time. The fort also gained importance during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire when it became the center of operations for T.E. Lawrence.
In addition to the castle, Azraq features a nature reserve. If you appreciate nature and wildlife, then a visit to the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve will most certainly be an amazing and unforgettable experience. The picturesque Reserve is a 22-square-kilometre (8.5 sq mi) nature reserve close to the town of Azraq, around 100 km (62 mi) east of Amman. Shaumari was started in in 1975 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) as a protected environment for some of the most endangered species of animals in the Middle East. Oryx, ostriches, onagers (Asian wild ass), water buffalos, and gazelles, are now populating and repeating their presence in this safe sanctuary, as they are protected from hunting and destruction.
The Shaumari reserve in Azraq attracts many types of migrant birds from Africa and Asia during their yearly exodus. This activity peaks with rainfall making the autumn and winter times the best time to visit the reserve and experience the lush wildlife.
The area features an Information Center where information, brochures, and maps can be acquired. The Visitors’ Center features a small museum and a shop where you can purchase local gifts from silver jewelry, decorated Ostrich eggs, and other local crafts. There is also an Observatory where you can watch the migrating birds, oryx, and other wildlife.
It is also possible to take a Jeep Safari to watch the Oryx that were saved from extinction by efforts from the international community and the RSCN.