Below are a few hints that may help you when planning for your trip to Jordan:
For South African passport holders, a visa is required to enter Jordan. This visa must be obtained prior to departure from South Africa.
Jordan generally has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cool winters.
Lightweight clothes in the summer, and warmer clothes in winter. Jordan is a Muslim country and tourists should dress conservatively. Women should avoid wearing shorts and mini-skirts. Comfortable shoes are a must for exploring the historical sites. Do bring your own beach towel and swimming costume if you plan spending time at the Dead Sea.
The unit of currency is the Dinar (JOD). Your travel allowance should be taken in US Dollars. Please ensure that you have some small notes available ( e.g. $ 1 – $ 5 – $ 10).
Exchange facilities are found at the airports, banks and hotels. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 12.00 noon, and again from 13.00 to 17.00. They are closed on holidays and weekends. All exchange receipts must be kept, particularly if you purchase any major items like carpets, as you may be required to show the receipts on departure.
Some passengers have reported difficulties using American Express and Diners Cards to pay for their meals etc. in their hotels. These credit cards are not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercards.
FOOD AND DRINK
Jordanian cuisine has evolved through centuries of Bedouin cooking. The national dish, mensaf, consists of rice, pine nuts, lamb or goat, and a yoghurt-based sauce. Mezze (a selection of typical hors-d’oeuvres) encompasses a wide range of dishes including hummus with olive oil, mutabbal (an eggplant dip also known as baba ghanoush), labneh (thickened yoghurt), cucumbers, tomatoes and pickles. The traditional spice, za’atar (a mixture of thyme and other spices with sesame seeds) is served with most foods. Kabab (skewered lamb), kofta (spicy grilled ground beef with parsley), felafel (chick-pea rissoles) usually served with traditional flat bread. For desert you will usually be served the sweet baklava pastries. Enjoy the typical tea, often brewed with mint leaves. Stick to bottled water to avoid tummy-upsets.
Taxis are numerous in all Jordanian cities and are reasonably priced. Although the usual precautions when travelling by taxi in a foreign country are recommended, you are unlikely to be “ripped-off” in Jordan.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
The Jordanians are gracious and generous hosts who will make every effort to communicate despite any language barrier. Hand shaking and other visible forms of politeness are expected. The Jordanian people revere their legendary king, King Hussein, and any criticism of King Hussein is considered very offensive – however lightly meant. English is widely spoken in hotels and establishments dealing with tourists, but you may find a lack of English as soon as you venture away from the main tourist routes. See this as a challenge!
Passengers should restrict themselves to one suitcase each, in addition to hand luggage. For the flight, take toiletries etc. in a holdall. Please pack necessary medication in your hand luggage, as well as a change of clothing in the event of any delays.
You will generally find that the Jordanians to be willing and eager to help you without expecting a reward, but we still urge on to conform to world-wide trends in this regard. Hotel porters should receive a small tip (approximately $ 1.-), for carrying your luggage ( unless travelling in a group in which case this may be included in the tour cost ). Guides and drivers should also receive a gratuity and the customary 10 % is recommended for restaurant visits and room service. Tipping to the “horse-boy” in Petra is compulsory if you rode his horse to the “Siq”! Your guide will assist you in this regard, the normal rate is US$ 3.-.
For passengers departing from Amman International Airport, a departure tax of US$ 10.- per person is payable on check-in. This tax cannot be pre-paid or included with your airline ticket!