Bird Observatory
Harmony by Nature: Exploring the Aqaba Bird Observatory

In the enchanting southern city of Aqaba, where the dazzling Red Sea kisses the shore, lies a hidden ecological gem known as the Aqaba Bird Observatory. Nestled in this coastal paradise, this observatory stands as a haven for various bird species on their awe-inspiring migration journey between Eurasia and Africa. Its unique adaptation to a scarcity of water in a water-scarce country highlights the remarkable harmony between ecological and geographical characteristics.


A Natural Sanctuary in Aqaba

Aqaba, Jordan's only coastal city, offers a stunning setting against the backdrop of the red mountains of Wadi Rum and the serene waters of the Red Sea. While Aqaba is known for its beach exploration, diving, and water sports, it is the Aqaba Bird Observatory that captures the essence of nature's beauty.

The observatory is an artificially created wetland that has evolved into a crucial stopover point for a variety of bird species during their migration between Europe, Asia, and Africa. It features a 2 km walking trail that winds through the only forest in Aqaba, looping around a cluster of lakes. But before the construction of the sewage treatment plant, these artificial habitats did not exist.

Innovative Use of Sewage-Treated Water

In a country plagued by severe water scarcity, the observatory has tackled the challenge head-on by adopting an innovative approach. It relies on sewage-treated water to ensure water sufficiency and sustainability within its artificial wetlands. This sustainable practice guarantees a consistent water supply to create vital habitats for birds, making it one of the most eco-friendly wetlands in Jordan.

To further enhance habitat variation and ecological value, the observatory strategically plants trees and bushes that rely on treated water for irrigation. This not only enriches the landscape and creates new bird habitat but also contributes to the development of new wetlands, increasing the green areas that aid in greenhouse gas mitigation.

Balancing Visitor Experience and Bird Protection

A comprehensive visitor management plan has been put into action to strike a delicate balance between allowing visitors to appreciate the birdlife and minimizing human disturbances to the birds. Through careful planning and education programs, the observatory ensures that visitors can observe and appreciate the avian wonders while respecting the natural behaviours and breeding patterns of the birds.

Strong Partnerships and Collaboration

The success of the Aqaba Bird Observatory is deeply rooted in strong partnerships and collaboration. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), a highly regarded environmental organization, manages the observatory. The RSCN holds a unique position as the first organization entrusted with the government mandate to establish and oversee protected areas in Jordan.

The partnership between the RSCN, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), the international donor community, and various stakeholders has been instrumental in realizing the vision of the observatory. The combined efforts encompass financial investments, infrastructure development, and policy coordination, ensuring the observatory's continued growth and success.

Ecotourism and Community Engagement

The Aqaba Bird Observatory's success has turned birdwatching into a captivating activity for local residents and visitors alike. By integrating bird conservation with marine ecotourism activities, the observatory has enriched the overall ecotourism experience in Aqaba. Visitors are now not only treated to the breathtaking natural beauty of the region but also the opportunity to witness one of the world's most impressive bird migrations.

A Model for Sustainable Development

The Aqaba Bird Observatory serves as a model for sustainable development. By embracing the potential of ecotourism, it has not only conserved and protected bird species but also created opportunities for socio-economic growth. The observatory's success in attracting visitors and establishing itself as a birdwatching destination highlights the power of ecotourism in diversifying tourism offerings and generating economic benefits for local communities.

In a world grappling with environmental challenges and water scarcity, the Aqaba Bird Observatory offers a beacon of hope. It shows how innovation, careful resource management, and strong partnerships can create a harmonious balance between nature conservation and sustainable development. As the Aqaba Bird Observatory continues to thrive, it stands as an inspiration for other destinations, showing that when we reconcile with nature, incredible things can happen.

Contact Information

Aqaba Bird Observatory

Tel: +962 3 2058825

Fax:+962 3 2058827