The current June/July issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine features a list of the “Best 25 Ecolodges” in the world. Many of them are accommodations we already include on Wildland Adventures throughout the world. One of our favorites is the Feynan Ecolodge, located in Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan, included on our Jordan Explorer and the Bedouin Trek to Petra.
Hiking in the Dana Reserve with Feynan Lodge in the background.
Feynan Ecolodge is a 26-room solar-powered lodge with an ethos of providing unique visitor experiences, with minimal impact on the environment, while contributing to conservation work and providing income generation opportunities to the local community.
Coffee ceremony with local Bedouin from the nearby community.
In November 2012 we traveled together with Nabil Tarazi, Founder & Managing Director of EcoHotels. Nabil is a dynamic and dedicated entrepreneur and conservationist working closely with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (Jordan's version of its National Park System) that manages the Dana Reserve where the lodge is located. Nabil commented about the award, “We are very proud that Feynan was named by National Geographic to this prestigious list. We are very excited to also be one of only 5 lodges in the world to be recognized twice by National Geographic. This is a testament to the pioneering work that we have been doing since 2009 to make Feynan a world class lodge and an ecotourism model."
A sunset hike from Feynan Ecolodge. Left to right: Nabil Tarazi of Feynan, Kurt Kutay President of Wildland Adventures, Deirdre Campbell of the Tartan Group, and Mohammed our local Bedouin guide from the lodge.
Feynan is a model of sustainability and ecotourism closely aligned with our own ethos and style of travel. Operated with minimal impact on the environment and contributing to the conservation of nature, Feynan also provides income generating opportunities and benefits for the local communities surrounding the Dana Biosphere Reserve. In 2012, over 400 people from the community benefited from Feynan, and over 50% of the revenue paid by the guests stayed within the community.
Feynan is more than an accommodation; it is a set of unique experiences. Guests can be found hiking or biking across diverse landscapes, interacting with the local Bedouin community, exploring archaeological sites including some of the world’s oldest copper mines, and incredible stargazing. At Feynan there is virtually no light pollution. Guests go up to the rooftop terrace after dinner to gaze on stars and planets viewed with amazing detail through their massive 10 inch Meade telescope. A seasoned astronomer has trained the staff on astronomy and the proper use of the large telescope which is programmed based on local GPS to find any number of chosen constellations and planets.
With the Meade telescope guests are able to see the rings on Saturn, the details of nebulae and faraway galaxies.
During our visit there I shot this short interview with Houssain Amarin, the Bedouin manager of Feynan Ecolodge who shares his personal story from herding goats to becoming manager of an ecolodge, and how closely tied the lodge is to the local community which really enhances the guest's cultural experience.
Here's how Wildland's Jordan Program Director Sherry Howland describes her experience there:
"The night spent at Feynan Lodge, I awoke around 4-4:30A. Whether from jet lagged rhythms or the barking of a dog or just the overwhelming light of a sky full of stars, all thoughts of going back to sleep immediately left me. I sat at my window and felt the cool night air, a slight wind swept into the room, breathing like a presence and stirring the silk ribbons hanging from mosquito netting above. I watched as a sliver of crescent moon rose gold & glowing over the dark embankment just beyond the lodge, instantly recalling one of my favorite lines from Rumi, 'The madmen have seen the moon and are running to the roof with ladders.' Following suit, I dressed & slipped through the dark & sleeping passageways of Feynan, to climb a narrow stairway to the rooftop. As the sky lightened, young Bedouin shepherds at a nearby encampment released their flocks of goats, setting out into the desert along the same ancient paths as countless flocks before them. At that moment, even as an American, I felt completely a part of Jordan and its landscape, its rituals. I can’t wait to go back."
See our website description video for a complete preview of the lodge, the landscape, community and the various activities you will experience at Feynan Ecolodge.