How Jordan became a travel favourite among celebrities, from Oprah Winfrey to Salma Hayek

How Jordan became a travel favourite among celebrities, from Oprah Winfrey to Salma Hayek

With its otherworldly landscapes, Unesco World Heritage sites, and access to the Dead Sea, Jordan has long been a draw for travellers from around the world.

And in recent weeks, it has attracted several high-profile visitors, with A-list stars sharing snippets of their travels in the country across social media.

Here, we take a look back at some of the famous faces to visit the kingdom.

Salma Hayek

Actress Salma Hayek recently visited Jordan’s famous Wadi Rum with her husband Francois-Henri Pinault.

Hayek shared a series of pictures of herself sitting on a traditional majlis-style set-up, admiring Wadi Rum’s otherworldly landscapes.

“Inhaling the magic of Jordan,” she captioned the post.

Oprah Winfrey

Author and television personality Oprah Winfrey also paid a fleeting visit to Jordan this month, taking in the sights of Unesco World Heritage site Petra, which is also one of the seven new wonders of the world.

In a series of images shared on Instagram, Winfrey can be seen riding a camel outside the Treasury, one of the biggest and most famous sites within Petra. She is also pictured seated on a majlis on the famous red sands of Jordan’s desert.

“Visited Jordan this week and there was so much to see and experience,” Winfrey captioned the images. “We visited the site where John the Baptist baptised Jesus, Petra and all its fascinations, camels, and the spot where the big boulder comes rolling out of Indiana Jones.

“So much history there in the ‘Rose City,’ voted one of the 7 new wonders of the world. It takes 3 days to really see it all we only spent 3 hours. Put it on your must-see list if you haven’t already!”

Gayle King

Winfrey was joined on her trip by friend and longtime collaborator, author and broadcaster Gayle King.

King shared several more snippets from their trip on social media, including a visit to a book stall in the centre of Amman, and taking a rainy float in the Dead Sea, while Winfrey watched, sheltered beneath an umbrella on the shore.

“Oh what a weekend … Petra … camels and one of the highlights: a Dead Sea float and mud bath,” she wrote. “As Oprah often tells me we have different ideas of fun … but in the end a great time was had by all… I see why the sign when you leave the airport says ‘Welcome to sweet Jordan!’ Can’t wait to go back.”

Timothee Chalamet

Actor Timothee Chalamet paid a visit to Petra in November while taking a break from filming Dune: Part Two in the country.

The actor shared a picture of himself in front of the Treasury, also known as Al Khazna.

Posing with his hood up and a peace sign, the star appeared to pay an early-morning visit to the empty site, which is usually packed with crowds.

In Dune’s first instalment, Jordan’s Wadi Rum partly served as the Atreides family’s newly inherited planet Arrakis.

Prince William, Kate and family

Prince William, and his wife Kate, and their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis took a family trip to Jordan in 2021.

While details of the family’s trip were not revealed, they chose to use a picture from their visit for their official Christmas card that year.

The trip was likely to have been a nostalgic one for Princess of Wales, who lived in Jordan as a child, attended nursery school there and is said to have fond memories of her time there.

Her parents were employees of British Airways — Michael as a manager, Carole as a flight attendant — when, in May 1984, Michael was offered a posting to Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Kate was aged two at the time and Carole Middleton was on extended maternity leave with her younger daughter Pippa, then aged eight months.

Will Smith

While filming Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin in Jordan, actor Will Smith and the film’s production crew found time to visit Petra, a place Smith said was on his bucket list.

Smith shared an image of himself and the crew standing in front of the Treasury, to his official Facebook page in 2017.

“We’re shooting Aladdin in Jordan. Took my crew to see PETRA! It’s been on my Bucket List for about 20 years. IT’S CRAZY!” he wrote.

“Special thank you to the Royal Family & to the people of Jordan. You all took PERFECT CARE of us. We shall return.”

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