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10 unforgettable desert adventures

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Jordan's Eastern Desert

Sometimes history and eco-tourism go hand in hand. This is the case in Jordan, where the vast Eastern Desert, which covers most of the country, is dotted with a number of historic buildings. These castles, fortresses and vacation palaces, built at oasis points or into the sides of cliffs, date back to medieval times (some are even older, dating back to the early days of Islam).

Even if your primary focus is the stark landscapes and unusual rock formations of this potion of the Levant, the history is undeniably impressive. The Azraq and Shawmari Nature Preserves, meanwhile, feature some animal success stories, including the onyx, which was brought back from near extinction and now thrives within the parks alongside with wild donkeys and other mammals and birds.