We highly recommend adding a visit to the village of Ghor al Mazra’a onto your customized private Jordan tour. The location of Ghor al Mazra’a makes it an excellent stopping point for a unique experience of humanity as well as a delicious lunch when traveling between Petra or the Red Sea and continuing on to the Dead Sea. Here are a few reasons why you should include a visit to this area on your Jordan tour, as well as what you can expect.
Why Should I Visit Ghor al Mazra’a?
This area of Jordan is on the Dead Sea highway, connecting the Dead Sea area to the southern Jordanian town of Aqaba. You’ll see tour buses pass by this village without a second glance. Yet they are missing out on a transformative element of a Jordan tour, away from the massive sites. The village of Ghor al Mazra’a is one of the most overlooked areas in the country. It was this reason that Rabee’ al Zaraqat began the Zikra Initiative. After visiting the village multiple times, Rabee’, a resident of Amman, realized that the people in this area have treasures the rest of the world needs to discover. The program he started revolves around visitors, primarily Jordanians and some international travelers, learning traditional skills from locals in Ghor al Mazra’a. In return, these visitors pay a fee for the experience that goes directly to the women in the community. Side stepping the traditional approach of offering hand-outs and donations to disenfranchised peoples, Rabee’ has created a system that brings dignity and honor to this community; guests desire to come and learn from members of this community, not simply give donations out of pity.
The below video, which originally aired on Jordanian television, shows Rabee’ learning a few of the traditional skills, as well as sustainable environmental practices used by locals in Ghor al Mazra’a.
What Can I Expect On a Visit to Ghor al Mazra’a?
The hospitality of the women who work with the Zikra initiative is one of the most endearing aspects of your visit. You will be greeted with kisses and smiles, delicious tea, and a gentleness that speaks volumes across the language barrier. On some occasions your driver may help translate for you. Part of the experience, however, is connecting on a human level that goes beyond a shared language.
During your visit, you can expect to try your hand at making traditional shrak bread over a fire, with the aid of one of the women. The women of the village make this look like child’s play, but you will discover it is a difficult skill learned over many years sitting around a fire. Guests will also make traditional organic eyeliner (and apply it if interested), make decorations out of recycled materials, and grind grain into flour using a stone mill. Together with your hosts you will also cook a traditional lunch of galayet bandora (which translates to something like “tomatoes in a pan”). This simple meal is a staple in Ghor al Mazra’a, and one of my favorites. Make sure you let them know how spicy you like your food; lots of chilis combined with the usually hot weather can turn up the sweating for some travelers!
Ghor al Mazra’a is located on the southern shore of the Dead Sea. The temperatures outside the winter months can be quite hot, with temperatures reaching 41 C/106 F in July. Expect some heat and no air conditioning during your visit; this is life as usual for the residents of Ghor al Mazra’a. Also, be aware that in the fall, there are many flies in the area. While this may cause discomfort for some guests, it is another aspect of life for this community.
What Expectations Are On Me When I Visit?
Come with an eagerness to learn and enjoy the people of this village. If you included a visit to Ghor al Mazra’a on your customized Jordan tour itinerary, your experience has already been paid for; all the fees for it go directly to your hosts.
There may be some crafts and homemade items available for sale. Please do not feel any pressure or expectation to purchase anything, though you are welcome do to so.
Tips to your hosts are not necessary, nor are they expected.
If you have any questions about your visit to Ghor al Mazra’a, please don’t hesitate to ask us!