Monday, February 27, 2017

X-treme Canyoneering in Grand Canyon of Jordan

Thrill seekers looking for extreme canyoning experiences are turning to the Mujib Gorge known as the Grand Canyon of Jordan. Located in the Mujib Biosphere Reserve adjacent to the Dead Sea, the Mujib Gorge offers hiking and canyoneering in one of the most extreme environs the world has to offer.

Mujib Gorge AKA Grand Canyon of Jordan. Photo courtesy of Wild Jordan
Called torrentismo by the Italians, kloofing by South Africans or barranquismo by the Spanish, the extreme sport of canyoneering involves hiking, scrambling, swimming and repelling. Depending on seasonal rainfall, the Mujib Gorge may contain pools deep enough for swimming. A 20-meter (67-foot) tall waterfall meets enthusiasts near the mouth of the canyon.

Scrambling the water falls in one of the lowest places on Earth.
Adventurers chose between wet and dry trails at the Mujib Biosphere Reserve formerly known as the Wadi Mujib Reserve before the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the extraordinary place a biosphere reserve in 2011. One of the most popular, the Siq Trail is open April 1 – October 31 for guided or self-guided hikes. The trail starts at the Visitor Center near the Mujib Bridge, where hikers scale a dam by use of a cantilevered walkway and follow the river flanked by towering sandstone cliffs to the base of the large waterfall.

Other hiking trails such as the Ibex Trail, where you can view the famous rock “statue” of Lot’s wife and perhaps glimpse Nubian Ibex, require official guides. The Dead Sea below this highline trail provides a startling backdrop during the whole hike.

Lot's Wife hoodoo. Photo by Stacey Wittig
Near the lowest elevation of the planet, the Mujib Biosphere Reserve is the lowest reserve on earth. The remote desert environ is bisected by the Mujib River that cuts deep through rough geologic formations.

The Mujib Biosphere Reserve is about one and a half hours from Amman, the capitol city of the Middle Eastern nation. The desert area gets an average of 330 days of sunshine per year with less than 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) of rainfall, so bring hats, sunscreen, first aid kits, drinking water and dry bags. Stay on the trails and camp only in official sites. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Mujib Gorge and trail ramp. Photo by Stacey Wittig
The Mujib Biosphere Reserve is part of Jordan’s progressive national park system that is administered by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).
Explore more about the Jordanian Grand Canyon by clicking here.


Travel journalist Stacey Wittig was the guest of Jordan Tourism Board North America (JTBNA). This article first appeared in Grand Canyon Examiner in Spring 2016. #LearnJordan #MyJordanJourney

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