On our recent trip to Jordan, we wanted to visit not only the great historic and religious sites the country has to offer, but also the natural wonders.
Jordan’s version of the great outdoors is quite intense, with harsh deserts, roaring rivers, towering mountains, and life-threatening canyons. All of this adds to the appeal, making Jordan an awesome destination for adventure lovers.
To connect with nature and check out one of the country’s top ecotourism destinations, we decided to visit the Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve.
The Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve
What is the Wadi Mujib, Jordan?
Located about a two-hour drive south of Amman, the Wadi Mujib is a river that flows westward into the Dead Sea.
The Mujib Nature Reserve is full of mountains, steppes, hot springs, and canyons, making it an awesome adventure travel destination. The Mujib Reserve is dramatic, with its sandstone rock terrain reaching as high as 900 meters (2950 feet) above sea level and as low as 400 (1315 feet) meters below.
While Jordan may be more famous for the Wadi Rum desert, the Wadi Mujib is less crowded and more diverse, making it a more unique and exciting place to visit in Jordan. It is nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of Jordan” for a good reason.
Best of all, the Wadi Mujib is one of the most eco-friendly destinations in Jordan, a country that has become a true leader in sustainable tourism in the Middle East.
The Mujib Nature Reserve was created by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in 1987 and continues to stay committed to the environmental protection of the area to this day. It is especially recognized for its Ibex breeding program and its protection of the nearly 200 different bird species in the reserve.
The Best Way to Visit the Wadi Mujib
To get up close and personal with the best parts of the Mujib Nature Reserve, you’ll have to travel on foot. Hiking through the deserts, mountains, and canyons is by far the best (and most fun) way to experience the area.
Do note that you should book your hikes as early in the day as you can because only 25 people are allowed on each trail at a time in order to keep environmental impact to a minimum.
Wadi Mujib Siq Trail: 1-2 hours
The Siq Trail is the most popular and least challenging trail through the Wadi Mujib Reserve. It is perfect for people who have never gone canyoning before or for those who don’t want anything too strenuous. This is also the only trail in the reserve that you can explore on your own without a guide!
You’ll start out by climbing down into a wide canyon and walking along the narrow banks and through shallow water. As you continue along the trail, the water gets deeper and faster, and the canyon gets narrower. You’ll scramble over slippery rocks, pull yourself up with ropes, and swim through deeper and deeper water the farther you go.
The Wadi Mujib Siq Trail should take you one or two hours to complete depending on your speed.
This was the trail we followed during our time in the Wadi Mujib Reserve and we had an absolute blast doing it! The trail was really easy to navigate (you simply follow the river) and despite there being a few spots with ladders and rocks, it was really easy and really FUN!
We didn’t need a guide along the trail but did find some staff positioned along the way, which was nice. They were able to help us through the tougher spots on the trail, show us where to hold on to during the slippery crossings and how to best maneuver in the deep parts of the river.
The Ibex Trail: 3-4 hours
This trail involves a steep climb at the beginning to bring you high above the Dead Sea to the west. Along the way, you’ll pass a castle, a fabled statue, and the protected breeding area for herds of Nubian Ibex. The hike doesn’t involve swimming or wading and will take you about three or four hours to complete.
This is also the only trail that’s suitable for children under 16 years of age.
The Malaqi Trail: 4-9 hours
This hike will take you over some peaceful hills and deep into the canyon of the Mujib River. You’ll hike upstream to the Hidan River where you can swim in deep pools. Along the riverbanks, you’ll see green vegetation sticking up everywhere, and fish and frogs will be your companions on the journey.
The short version of this hike takes four hours and the long version requires nine. The trail is only open from April to October.
The Canyon Trail: 4 hours
This hike is considered the most challenging of all the Wadi Mujib hikes and will take you around four hours to complete. Along with hiking, swimming, and floating down the river, you’ll also have the chance to repel down the side of waterfalls and do some cliff jumping.
How to Prepare for your Visit to the Wadi Mujib Reserve
How to Get to Wadi Mujib Reserve
Public transportation is practically non-existent in the Wadi Mujib. In order to get here, you’ll need to either rent a car or hire a driver. We highly recommend the former since driving in Jordan is not for the faint-hearted.
If you are looking for an easy way to visit Wadi Mujib from Amman, we recommend this Wadi Mujib Siq Trail Hiking Experience Tour. It includes a ticket to the Siq Trail along with transport from Amman. Great option if you are traveling during the high season and want to secure yourself a spot on the Wadi Mujib’s most popular trail!
What to Expect
Visiting Wadi Mujib Reserve can be as easy or as difficult as you would like. Some of the hikes that pass through challenging terrain with lots of exposure to the elements, while other trails pass through the canyon and require you to get completely wet in the process.
Make sure to check the temperatures before your journey and pack and dress accordingly. If you’re planning on hiking any of the wet trails, expect to get wet! Also, make sure that you’re decent swimming and that you don’t have any fears of fast running water or heights. Regardless of your fear and physical abilities, accidents do happen while out in nature which is why we recommend you don’t go on this adventure without travel insurance.
What to Pack
While you don’t need a full wetsuit and rock climbing gear for your Wadi Mujib hike, you will need to put a little thought into packing. Make sure to wear clothes that dry quickly as you will definitely get wet (except on the Ibex Trail) and you won’t want to be sitting in wet clothes all day.
Make sure to wear sturdy shoes that won’t be slippery when they get wet. If you don’t have shoes like this, you can rent them in the park.
If you want to bring anything else with you, you’ll need a dry bag to protect your items from damage. Besides your clothes and shoes, we recommend packing nothing more than a bottle of water, a waterproof camera like a GoPro, and your sense of adventure!
You do not need to pack a lifejacket (which may be required depending on what trail you choose to do.) Lifejackets, helmets, and abseiling equipment can be rented at the park center. You’ll also have the option to rent a locker and leave some things behind if you wish.
Where to Stay
There aren’t a lot of lodging options in or around the Wadi Mujib, so you’ll want to book your accommodations well in advance to ensure you have a place to stay.
Overlooking the Dead Sea, the Mujib Chalets are an awesome choice of Wadi Mujib accommodations. Built right into the rocky and barren shores, the chalets offer private, upscale rooms with lovely views. Access to the Wadi Mujib Reserve from Mujib Chalets is very easy, taking only a few minutes by car.
Ma’in Hot Springs
This five-star resort is located about 30 minutes to the north of the Wadi Mujib reserve. It is a beautiful property with outdoor pools, waterfalls, and hot springs surrounded by mountains. The Ma’in Hot Springs Resort is the perfect place to stay if you want a taste of luxury after your rugged adventure.
Trajan Guest House
If you’re on a budget, consider staying at Trajan Guest House. You’ll spend time with your local hosts and get to know your fellow travelers in the shared lounge.
If you’re an adventurer at heart and want to get back to nature, we could not recommend the Wadi Mujib enough! While it may not be the most accessible place in the world, it is well worth a visit for its sparse deserts, cool canyons, and wild rivers.
Have you ever been canyoning before? What did you think of the experience?
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