Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve
Key information: Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve
- This area of spectacular mountain, cliff and gorge contains intriguing animal and plant life and a range of excellent walks.
- The most popular walks here are both wet the truly thrilling Mujib Siq and the Malaqui Trail, the latter a difficult canyon for the specialist or very adventurous only.
- Most of these walks involve canyons, with the usual associated dangers (in particular, flash floods at certain times of year). Take care.
- Walkopedia rating84
- Natural interest17
- Human interest4
- Negative points0
- Total rating84
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: n/a
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
The glorious Mujib Nature Reserve covers many kilometres of mountains and canyons beside the Dead Sea, including the lower part of Wadi Mujib, Jordan's Grand Canyon, which drops from Jordan's mountain spine to the Dead Sea, making it the world's lowest nature reserve.
As well as outstanding dramatic scenery a vast canyon with all that entails in the way of cliffs, deep riverbeds with remarkable patches of greenery, and a dramatic siq (slot canyon) where the gorge discharges in the Dead Sea the reserve contains a magnificient range of plant and animal life, including the Nubian Ibex.
There is a wide range of excellent walks in the reserve, all described in the Cicerone book. All appear to require guides (which as of 2010 necessitated you being there at 8 am), except for the short but splendid Siq walk and the Upper Mujib Gorge Trial which is outside the reserve. Many of these walks are accessed from the Dead Sea Highway, others from the hills above the reserve.
Quite a lot of these walks are difficult, requiring climbing skills as indicated below.
- The Mujib siq is a thrilling (but very wet) 'walk. The full Monty is a serious canyon and takes you downstream, abseiling over the 20m waterfall, but most people slosh their way upstream from the canyon entrance by the Dead Sea Highway to the falls, a round trip of around 2 km or an hour. This involves some easy wet scrambling and you should expect to be soaked but ecstatic. The falls themselves are spectacular, but it is the fantastically narrow, sheer water-scoured sandstone walls which are the heroes of the occasion. If going upstream, this is unlikely to be practical before May.
- The two day Mujib Gorge Trek, a moderate trek then a moderate canyon, the grand one of them all, which can be broken down into separate long day walks. Shorter walks can be made out and back along the Upper Mujib Gorge Trial (which has two entrance points), or you can camp in the gorge and walk back the next day.
- The Malaqui Trail, a half-day wet canyon, said to be the reserve's most popular walk. A long, hot slog up into the mountains, then a descent of the Mujib Siq (see above), including over the 20m waterfall. Demanding, potentially dangerous but thrilling.
- The Ibex Trial, a 3 plus hour yomp up into the hills and back down. A fine walk in search of the rare Nubian Ibex, which is being bred here. Excellent ridge views.
- The tributary Hidan Gorge has various splendid sounding but difficult treks.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
Jordan: Walks, Treks, Caves, Climbs and Canyons– Cicerone, by Di Taylor and Tony Howard. You must have this book.
Petra: A Traveller’s Guide– by Rosalyn Magsood
The Rough Guide to Jordan– by Matthew Teller
Jordan Insight Guide – by APA Publications.
Travels in Syria and the Holy Land– J.L. Burckhardt: detailed account of the travels of the 19th century “rediscoverer” of Petra.
Married to a Bedouin – by Marguerite Geldermalsen
A good large-scale map can be brought locally.
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk. An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
Spring (late January to mid May) and autumn (October and November) are best: generally clear, sunny days and moderate temperate make them the best times to visit. To avoid tour-bus crowds, early morning and late afternoon are best.
Note that the wet trails only open 1st April to 31st October.
Around three quarters of the country can be said to endure a desert climate, with very little rainfall. However during November to April there can be rain and even snow. Summers see very hot temperatures and should be avoided. Beware rain: even a small fall can render gorges vulnerable to flash floods.
Royal Jordanian, the national airline, flies to Amman from numerous destinations worldwide. British Airways, BMI, Air France, Klm and Lufthansa also operate routes to the capital.
A visa is needed to enter Jordan: you can obtain single entry visas – valid foe one month – from any port of entry (except the King Hassein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border), costing about ten Jordanian Dinars (around £7, €9 or $14).
Those on organised expeditions are likely to be transported from arranged departure points, usually Amman airport.
Permits and guides are needed. Check details and timing carefully.
See Walk Summary above.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
- Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
- Canyon dangers: canyons can be lethal, particularly as a result of flash floods. Assess and prepare for all risks on those walks involving canyons or potentially wet siqs. In particular, check the weather carefully and don’t go after rain or if it is possible.
- Dangerous animals, including snakes and scorpions. Take all appropriate precautions.
- This is remote country: help may be hard to get if things go wrong.
- Health risks: you may not get prompt medical help of a standard available elsewhere if you become ill. Potential problems include insect born diseases – and water-born, a problem because of a lack of safe drinking water. Come prepared, including getting all appropriate inoculations/medications.
- Stability: as of 2010, Jordan has been safe and stable for years. But the region is inherently unstable, so check the current position.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
The first question is: how do you plan to get about, generally? Public buses cover many places, but don’t go to Wadi Rum or out-of-the-way sites. Many people hire taxis or cars, or cars with drivers, still a relatively good value option and one which can add huge benefits in local know-how.
And: do you make your own arrangements (perfectly doable especially if you have a helpful driver), or use a travel company? The latter will add cost but will simplify the process.
We used Petra Tours (www.petratours.com) to arrange our 8-day expedition. They are a large and reputable local firm and, while not walking specialists, made generally very satisfactory arrangements to fit the detailed plans we gave them. We were lucky to get the delightful and kind Ahmed Tahoon (mob (+926) 799249146) as a driver (you can ask him specifically): knowledgeable and happy to expand on any subject.
There is a multitude of Jordan tour organizers, including the following:
- Explore! - www.explore.co.uk - reputable and experienced organizers.
None in the reserve. Hotels on the Dead Sea, or a range of places in the mountains behind the reserve.
Other information and tips
Tipping: a delicate subject. Guides, drivers etc do not necessarily earn high wages as they are expected to get good tips. So, if you get decent service, you should err on the side of generosity. Regard it as a cost to plan for.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
Other things to do in the area
Wadi Rum; Lawrence of Arabia’s refuge and a desert of wondrous multi-hued rock formations and barren, rugged terrain.
Various street festivals are organised throughout Jordan in the summer months. The festival celebrating the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is a particularly special occasion.
Jordan is crammed with historical and archaeological marvels: particularly recommended, the Roman ruins at Jerash, in the north and Crusader castle at Al-Karak.
Aqaba has plentiful hotels and famous Red Sea diving and snorkeling.
The Dead Sea: via several hotels and spas can often be organised on day-trips and shuttles from Amman. As well as its historical significance, the Dead Sea is renowned for its healing effects.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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