Wadi Mujib’s lower gorge
“The view which the Mujib represents is very striking… the valley looks
like a deep chasm formed by some convulsion of the earth, into which
there seems no possibility of descending to the bottom.” (J. L.
Experiencing Jordan’s Grand Canyon involves swimming, jumping, abseiling
and floating. its sheer red walls tower skyward while its all width is
filled with running water, plunging through an awe-inspiring 15 m
Beautiful pools are located near the confluence of Wadi Mujib and Wadi
el Hidan, tempting the trekker to swim against the current into the
majestic gorge of Wadi el Hidan.
Wadi El-Moujip Lower Gorge: Type of route: Circular.
Altitude difference, Distance and Walking time: 200 m ascent and descent
with some level stretches in between, 6 km, 9 hours.
Rating: Strenuous. Abseiling is unavoidable. The route includes swimming
Falls: One waterfall. A few sections where hiker’s rope is necessary.
Special equipment: Two 20 m ropes and ordinary abseiling gear. Unless
you have a waterproof bag everything you carry will get wet.
Water: Gushing stream. The water is not recommended for drinking.
Consider carrying 3 liters each.
Season: The Mujib gorge is open from the 1st of April to the 31st of
October. Be aware of flash flood risk even during this period! The route
is most enjoyable in mid-summer.
During the last Ice Age the water level of the Dead Sea reached 180 m
below sea level, about 230 m higher than today. The lake flooded the
lower reaches of the canyons along its banks, which became bays and
begun to accumulate sediments. As the climatic conditions changed, about
20,000 years ago, the water level of the lake dropped, leaving the
re-emergent canyons blocked with lake marl. Most canyons managed to cut
through their plugged outlets and to resume their erstwhile lower
courses. However, Wadi Mujib abandoned its former outlet by breaking
through a cleft in the sandstone. This narrow cleft became the
bottleneck of an enormously large drainage basin with a huge discharge.
During the years the cleft was scoured deeper and the gorge of Wadi
Mujib was formed.
The Ibex Trail (2-3 hours dry trail): begins at the Mujib Bridge
Reception by the Mujib Bridge on the Dead Sea highway, from where a
guide will escort you south for a short distance along the highway
before turning onto a steeply ascending trail into the nature reserve.
After the first steep climb it diverges to the south, following a wide
track running parallel to the Dead Sea. The Sea provides a startlingly
blue backdrop throughout the hike. About one third of the distance along
the trail, there is an optional detour up the mountainside to Qasr
Riyash, a ruined fortification of uncertain date. Villagers say that it
is one of four castles in the area, occupied by a powerful Bedouin
sheikh known as Riyash. Each of his sons reputedly occupied a castle,
until a fight erupted over grazing rights and all of them were killed.
The climb to the castle is arduous but offers breathtaking views over
the Dead Sea.
Returning to main track, the hike continues towards the Raddas Ranger
Station, dipping up and down across a number of dry wadis. There are an
amazing variety of rock colors and formations along the route and as you
near the ranger station, the famous rock “statue” of Lots wife can be
seen on the seaward edge of the reserve. It is said that while fleeing
the villages of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife ignored the warning not
to look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. It takes 3 hours to
get to the rangers station (4 km)At the station, there is a large fenced
enclosure in which you can see a small breeding herd of magnificent
Nubian Ibex– a wild ‘mountain goat’ with long, impressively curved
horns. This animal was once common in the region but has been decimated
by hunting. Mujib is one of the few safe havens for Ibex, in the
reserve, there is a captive breeding programme to boost the wild
population. In recent years, many Ibex from this enclosure have been
released into the reserve to replenish the wild population that was
devastated by hunting. After a rest at the station, visitors hike from
the station to the entrance of the reserve through a road that takes 1.5
Malaqi Trail (9 hours water trail): This is an exciting trail, offering
a chance to swim in the cool, clear waters of the Mujib and Hidan
rivers. It starts at the reserve reception like the “Ibex Trail” and
follows the same route into the nature reserve (see description). This
trail leads quickly to a striking area of creamy-white hills made of
soft lissan deposits, reminiscent of the American Badlands. After
passing through these hills, you begin your descent to the river Mujib,
crystal clear, fast flowing and teeming with life. Small fish are
plentiful, as well as frogs. Bright kingfishers are often seen speeding
along the river channel, as well as circling birds of prey. Dense
vegetation lines the rivers sides, making a stark contrast to the arid,
naked mountains that surround you. The hike continues upstream along the
river edge, to its confluence with the Hidan River. There are deep pools
here, ready made for swimming, where you can linger, eat a picnic and
just enjoy this wild paradise. Then you can either go back the same way
to the reserve’s entrance or you can go through the Mujib gorge to
descend a waterfall (20 m) and finish the trail at the Mujib Bridge. The
hike takes 9 hours of hiking and swimming.
Mujib Canyon Trail (Water Fall): this trail is like the Malaqi trail,
offering the same route which goes all the way to the Hidan river
(please see the description above), but as for this trail, its only 4
hours. (The beginning of the hike is under the sun (1 hour) but it
becomes cool when you reach the water).
(Open from the 1st of April until the 31st of October)
4. Mujib Trail (7-8 hours of dry trail): a tough, exciting trail. The
experience begins near the village of Fag’ua, on the eastern edge of the
nature reserve. Fag’ua is reached from the famous King’s Highway that
leads out of Amman, through the town of Madaba (famous for its mosaics).
Your guide will meet you at RSCN office in Fagua, from where you will be
led to the ranger station to start the hike. The trail descends rapidly
into the Reserve following a precipitous Wadi with spectacular scenery.
The hike follows the Wadi to the Raddas Rangers Station at the Ibex
enclosures taking 5-6 hours to complete (15 km). (Open all year through)
5. Siq Trail ( 2-3 hours water trail): easy trail of swimming in Mujib
Reserve to a waterfall and back to Mujib Bridge. Please note that the
water level is relatively high this year 2005 (not less than 2 m) and
the swimming distance is relatively long (15 m sometimes) but we are
having ropes fastened to the gorge wall for people to hold when they get