Wadi Mujib: The Grand Canyon of Jordan

mujib - flickr
(Photo: Flickr)
AMMAN — There is more to Jordan than cultural attractions. From adventurous getaways to ecotourism sites, the Kingdom offers an array of tourist activities at its spectacular spots, one of which is the popular Wadi Mujib, dubbed Jordan’s Grand Canyon.اضافة اعلان

Mujib, 84km south of Amman, is a perfect choice for an easy-medium water hike inside a sandstone canyon with rock narrows that reach more than 100m high.

(Photo: Flickr)

This adventure provides a special experience of hiking upstream an all-year water flow coming from the eastern highlands and the Jordanian desert. This river canyon is one of the main tributaries bringing water from the Jordanian highlands and eastern desert down to the Dead Sea.

Wadi Mujib is part of the Mujib Biosphere Reserve located on the eastern flank of the Jordan Rift Valley and overlooking the Dead Sea.

At 410m below sea level, the Mujib Biosphere Reserve is the lowest nature reserve on Earth. Mujib’s complex river system enables it to support a rich biodiversity for around 300 species including endangered ones such as the lynx. Its hard-to-reach and rocky mountains are home to the Ibex (Nubian mountain goat), among other mountain animals.

(Photo: Flickr)

The reserve was established in 1987 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, and in 2011, it was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

Spanning area of 212sq.km, the reserve is also a stopover for migratory birds between Europe and Africa such as storks and birds of prey.

The valley enjoys a unique biodiversity due to significant variation in altitude from 900m above sea level to 420m below. 

(Photo: Flickr)

Taking a trip to Mujib Siq Trail is the most common activity at the reserve. This adventure starts from the Dead Sea highway from Mujib Adventure Center and follows the course of the river upstream for two hours, including the way back.
Visitors are required to be geared up with suitable water shoes, life jackets that are available at the site free of charge, and helmets.

There are other trails and activities available, including longer trails with climbing, zip line, and abseiling that require the supervision of a trained guide.
The upper wadi is an open canyon that is 1km deep and 4km wide. This is the part that is specifically referred to as the Grand Canyon of Jordan.

Visitors travelling the well-known Kingsway must cross the wadi between Madaba and Karak, enjoying a stop for a breathtaking view on either side.
Historically, Wadi Mujib was an area inhabited since the Chalcolithic Age 4500-3200 BC.

(Photo: Flickr)

Wadi Mujib was referred to in the Bible’s books of Deuteronomy and Numbers as “Arnon stream” and the boundary separating the biblical Moabites and Amorites.

Al-Idrisi, a 12th century cartographer and Egyptologist, also described Wadi Mujib as a “grand canyon.”

It was also mentioned in the Stele of Mesha, an Iron-Age inscription that was written by King Mesha of the Moabites on which he wrote about his victories and accomplishments. Line 26 in the inscription stated that he “King Mesha” built a road near Arnon, Mujib.

In the Roman era, the road of Emperor Trajan “Via Trijana Nova” passed across the wadi with many milestones still visible today along the modern road.

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