The short-lived autumn arrives in September—a lovely time to visit as temperatures fall and exploring the main outdoor sites becomes more inviting. The end of the month is especially kind for hikers and outdoor activities, and the warm waters of the Red Sea are especially tempting to divers.

Weather

Temperatures gradually subside to more comfortable levels as September progresses, while rain remains almost totally absent.

Always one of the cooler spots, Amman—at an elevation of around 3,300 ft (1,000 m)—averages 75°F (24°C), with a daily range between 64-86°F (18-30°C). Petra is a bit warmer, averaging 80°F (25°C) for the month. The desert region and Gulf of Aqaba shore remain relatively hot (Aqaba averages 93°F/34°C for the month), but the intolerable hot wind and humidity of mid-summer dissipate. The eastern desert areas and the Dead Sea have similar temperatures to Aqaba. The Gulf of Aqaba water temperature is at its warmest of the year (averaging around 84°F (29°C), and scuba diving at its most agreeable.

Bring plenty of sun-lotion, plus a shade hat, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes.

Crowds & Costs

By September visitor arrivals turn sharply upwards after the mid-summer lull, marking the beginning of the autumn high season. Hence, airfares, hotels and tourist package are at their most expensive, with relatively few bargains. It’s wise to book flights and reserve accommodations well in advance, especially in the main tourist areas and for the latter part of the month.

Where to Go

This is an appealing time to visit the Dead Sea. At 1,410 ft (430 m) below sea level—the earth’s lowest point—it’s significantly warmer than the rest of Jordan in September. But the water temperature is cooler than the air temperature, so a dip feels pleasantly refreshing. You’ll need to apply a non-harmful sun-lotion but note that, supposedly, the low elevation of the Dead Sea reduces exposure to harmful UV rays. September coincides with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—together a national holiday in Israel—and even Jordan’s Dead Sea hotels can get full.

Birders of a feather flock to the Azraq Wetlands—a watery and tiny jewel set in the north eastern desert of Jordan. Here, natural spring pools (once fed by aquifers, but now maintained by irrigation) form a precious oasis that is a stopover point for almost 300 species of migrating birds from northern Europe and Africa passing through at various times of year. Protected since 1978 as a wetland reserve by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, it spans 5 sq ml (12 sq km) and has boardwalks and hides. Bring your binoculars to get a better look at such denizens as the local desert finch, plus kingfishers, herons, avocets, and Little-ringed plovers.

Visit the rose-tinted lost city of Petra, Jordan’s foremost ancient site. In early September, the crowds have yet to arrive in earnest at this stunning city of sandstone carved into the mountain in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans. Get there as early as possible (start with the 5am sunrise), and spend an entire day exploring this treasure trove of amazing structures, hidden along hiking trails of various difficulties and distances. Photographers should stick around until sunset, when the rocks glow an incredible ruby color.

What to Do

September is a great month for scuba diving in the Red Sea, where the water temperatures at this time of year average a delightful 84°F (29°C) and there’s no need for a wetsuit. The diving and snorkeling are sensational in Aqaba Marine Park, part of the larger Red Sea Marine Peace Park. The abundant marine life includes eagle rays, turtles, and even the occasional whale shark. And there are many wrecks, from former tugboats and a C-130 Hercules plane to a M42 Duster former Jordanian Army tank just 18 feet (6 m) down.

Hike the desert trail from Little Petra to Petra. Rated among the top hikes in the world by National Geographic, the 50-mile (80 km) trek from through rugged and beautiful desert and mountain landscapes begins in Dana, crosses the vast arid expanse of Wadi Araba, then climbs into the Sharah Mountains to spill you out at Petra via the lesser-traveled back door.

September is a good time to visit the desert. And what more appropriate (and fun) adventure than to ride a camel? To feel like Lawrence, head to Wadi Rum to experience the desert as the Bedouin have for thousands of years. You’ll never feel so close to nature from inside a 4WD (although you’ll no doubt feel somewhat sorer at the end of your ride). You can opt for short hour-long rides. But a multi-day excursion is far more rewarding. “To Aqaba!”  

September Events

Haya Theatre Festival. First held in 2015, this festival hosted by the Haya Cultural Centre features children’s puppet theater shows plus drama by international troupes, and includes workshops and family activities. 

Traveling to Jordan in September? Check out these great itineraries

Golden Triangle & Dead Sea - 5 Days. From the red city of Petra to the desert wilderness of Wadi Rum and the Red Sea port city of Aqaba, this tour offers a taste of everything the south of Jordan has to offer.

Holy Land Off the Beaten Path: Israel & Jordan - 10 Days. Combine these two countries, with off-the-beaten-path experiences in Dana Biosphere Reserve, the Dead Sea, Petra, and Wadi Rum.

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