Thirty minutes off of the Dead Sea Highway, nestled in the foothills of the Dana Biosphere Nature Reserve in Jordan, is one of the world's top ecolodges. Feynan Ecolodge is a special place and I have been lucky enough to visit twice in the past six months! My first visit was with Jamie (Dir. of Photography & my brother) in November 2015 and once more in February 2016 with my fiancé, Ramsey, plus a gaggle of our expat friends living in Amman. Each trip was unique, but on both trips I left Feynan with a greater appreciation for the Bedouin way of life and their commitment to the environment and community in which they live.
There are a variety of ways to experience Bedouin life in Jordan from camping in Wadi Rum to hiking Petra with a local Bedouin guide, but these are often more commercialized and some can be a bit touristy. Don't get me wrong these Bedouin experiences are extraordinary to say the least, but there is something about Feynan and how Bedouins who run the lodge guide you through a true glimpse into their real day-to-day Bedouin lives. Perhaps it's how Feynan was developed and the involvement of the surrounding community or the fact that Feynan is more remote and less accessible than other tourism destinations, such as Petra, Wadi Rum, or the Dead Sea.
Of course, I am now convinced after two visits to Feynan, that no trip to Jordan is complete without a trek into the foothills of the Dana Biosphere Nature Reserve. From nature hikes and learning about how Bedouins use the land to meeting with local Bedouin families to cooking classes in the lodge your days are filled with eye-opening experiencing perfect for both adults and children. The real treat though is when Feynan comes to life in the evening.
Feynan runs on solar energy during the day and candlelight by night. There is something so calming and mystical about Feynan at night, particularly on an evening with a new moon. The stars dance and twinkle in the night sky and, honestly, I am not sure many places can rival the stargazing opportunities at Feynan...it’s like dessert for the eyes.
All of the meals served at Feynan are vegetarian—so for Jamie, it was a welcome reprieve from the meat-focused dishes on his last trip. For me it was a bit of a veggie-focused detox, plus the moutabal is out of this world!