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Complete Guide to Canyoning in Wadi Mujib
Wadi Mujib is one of the most adventurous things to do in Jordan. The vast nature reserve is known for its massive gorges which make a wonderful place for canyoning. I’m not exaggerating when I say that hiking in Wadi Mujib will be one of the best experiences that you’ll have in the region.
However, the right preparation is key if you’d like to make the most of your adventure. In this article, I’m going to share with you all you need to know about Wadi Mujib and how to be prepared for your canyoning experience.
What is Wadi Mujib?
Wadi Mujib (or Wadi al Mujib) is a nature reserve in the Western part of Jordan. It’s known to be the lowest nature reserve on earth. Wadi Mujib runs along the shores of the Dead Sea which is the lowest point on earth.
A special feature about Wadi al Mujib are the great differences in altitude. Its lowest point is 400 meters (1,312 ft) below sea level and its highest point a stunning 900 meters (2952 ft) above sea level. It goes without saying that a place with such remarkable altitude differences offers incredible scenery. In fact, the vast area is full of beautiful canyons, a rich flora and fauna and great panoramic views.
The foot of Wadi al Mujib is the part that’s most interesting for visitors. That’s where you find some impressive gorges which are filled with the rainwater from the highlands of the reserve.
Wadi Mujib Trails
Wadi Mujib nature reserve stretches over an area of 212 km² (81 m²) which is about one third of the area of the neighboring Dead Sea. You won’t be hiking the entire reserve though. In fact, the trails start at the same location which is safe and easy to access. More on this below.
There are four official trails in Wadi Mujib:
- Siq Trail
- Canyon Trail
- Malaqi Trail
- Ibex Trail
The most commonly chosen trail is the Siq Trail. It starts at the Wadi Mujib visitor’s center and leads you through the canyons until you reach a large waterfall. From there, you’ll swim back with the stream. Since you will be canyoning through the gorges along the water, you don’t need a map for Wadi Mujib. You literally can’t go wrong as the water just runs straight through the canyons. Plan about 2-3 hours for the trail.
Good to know: You can find more details on Wadi Mujib trails and plenty of destinations and tips for Jordan in my self-published Jordan travel guide.
Do I Need a Guide for Wadi Mujib?
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get on Wadi Mujib is whether or not you need a guide. While for most places guides are purely optional, I recommend that you get a guide for Wadi Mujib. That’s especially true if you’re traveling solo.
The reason why I recommend you to hire a guide isn’t because you’d not find your way. Like I said, you can’t go wrong when on the Siq Trail. The reason why you should have a guide in Wadi Mujib is because the canyons hold various surprises. You’ll need to climb up some stairs and rocks which can not only be slippery but also difficult to see because of the water stream running through the gorges. Besides, you’ll walk up small waterfalls (and glide down on your way back).
Guides know the gorges in and out and will be able to tell you how to approach every obstacle on the way. Even if you’re a good hiker, it gives a good feeling to have someone by your side who can tell you where to pay special attention.
Depending on the season and the time of the day, there aren’t many visitors at the same point of the trail. That said, having a guide adds to your safety, whether as a solo-traveler, couple or group. You don’t want to get stuck at some rock and give up, or get hurt because you slip.
My recommendation is to book your guide online prior to your trip. The availability of guides on site is limited (there aren’t always guides available on site). If you’re visiting without a guide, you can purchase your tickets on site (no reservation required).
Travel Planning Information
Don’t come unprepared. That’s especially true for a place like Wadi Mujib.
The entrance fee to Wadi Mujib is JD 21 (approx. €26 or $29) for tourists. Jordanians pay a reduced fee of JD 15 (water trails) or JD 12 (Ibex trail). The rates are for self-guided tours, which means the price includes only the entrance to the area, excluding equipment and guide.
You can rent equipment on site or bring your own. If you’re a tourist in Jordan, you’d probably want to rent the equipment on site.
- Life jacket (Mandatory, available for free.)
- Locker (Optional, available for free. Recommended for your valuables.)
- Water shoes (Optional. Costs about €6 / $7. In my opinion, water shoes aren’t necessary if you wear sturdy shoes. See my clothes recommendations below.)
- Dry bag (Optional. Costs about €11 / $ 12. I recommend a dry bag to keep your phone with you. However, given the cost of the rental, it’s a better option to purchase your own dry bag online. It’s a handy accessory that will be useful at many places.)
The price of a guide varies. Generally said, it’s about €35 or $40 for the Siq Trail for a small group (exclusive of entrance fee, equipment, transportation).
During summer, the Wadi Mujib is open daily, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. The reserve is only accessible from 1st April to 31st October. Due to safety reasons, it’s closed between November and March.
Depending on the weather, it might be open a bit longer (until early/mid November or closed a few days earlier in October). The same applies for spring (the start of the season might begin a few days earlier or later). That’s because heavy rainfall in the highlights results in heavy streams in the gorges of Wadi Mujib which makes it too dangerous to visit.
During summer months, there is very little to no rain in Jordan which makes Wadi Mujib a safe place to visit.
Note that you need to leave the reserve (end your trail) by the closing time. The last admission is usually around 3 p.m. If you’re going for a self-guides tour on the Siq Trail, you can come at any time between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. There’s no need to book a slot in advance. However, the Ibex trail (dry hiking trail) only starts at 8 a.m.
During Ramadan the site closes at 3 p.m., so you should start your hike at noon at the latest. Note that there are no guided tours available during Ramadan.
Note: Wadi Mujib trails are only accessible for people over 18 years at age. That’s because the water trails aren’t suitable for children.
What to Wear in Wadi Mujib?
The clothing in Wadi Mujib differs from what you’ll wear when exploring other places in the country such as Petra or Wadi Rum desert. For Wadi Mujib, you should absolutely wear sport’s clothes.
Long skinny pants are the preferred choice for both men and women safety reasons (to protect your skin from the rocks). Girls should wear a dark color t-shirt to avoid the fabric from being transparent when wet. You’ll wear a lifejacket over your t-shirt when on the trail.
Regarding shoes, I recommend non-slip sport shoes. If you don’t have any, I recommend you to buy them when visiting Jordan. You’ll also need them to comfortably explore places like Petra. Alternatively, you can rent water shoes on site.
Don’t wear a dress, a skirt nor a beautiful blouse when in Wadi Mujib. As a rule of thumb, you should wear the same clothes as you’d wear when going for a run.
How to Get to Wadi Mujib?
While Mujib reserve is very vast, there is one point of access from where all trails start. The visitor center (entrance) of Wadi Mujib is called Adventure Center. You can simply type the name “Wadi Mujib Adventure Center” into Google Maps and navigate your way there (here’s the exact location).
You can easily get to Wadi Mujib from Amman, the Dead Sea or Petra by taking the Dead Sea Highway (Highway 65). Infrastructure is good and driving in Jordan is safe. Free parking is available on site. If you don’t like to self-drive, there are tours that include transportation.
Wadi Mujib is a very rural area and the choice of accommodation is limited. Make sure to book your overnight stay well in advance. You can either stay in one of the Dead Sea resorts (about a 30-45 minute drive from the Adventure Center) or at Mujib Chalets which are across the street.
If you don’t want to spend the night in the area, you could leave Amman very early in the morning, have a stopover in Wadi Mujib, and continue to Petra the same day. You can change your clothes on site after the hike.
Questions or Feedback?
Have you ever been to Wadi Mujib or planning a trip there? Share your experiences or questions with me in the comments at the end of this page. I’m happy to hear from you!
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