Sleeping “under the sea”
To prepare for the trail, you can stay overnight on the Mujib Reserve. There is a choice of chalets or double rooms, all offering excellent views of the Dead Sea coast. All accommodation is just metres away from the Visitors Centre, the departure point for all the trails, easy or challenging.
Just before it enters the Dead Sea, the River Mujib cuts through the Wadi Mujib gorge, one of the top tourist destinations in the Kingdom of Jordan, along with Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and, of course, Petra itself. In biblical times the river was named Arnon, a Hebrew word meaning “noisy”, in reference to the roar of its many waterfalls. Here, the Karak and Madaba mountains reach a height of 900 metres, while, at its lowest, the Mujib is 416 metres below sea level, a variation in elevation of 1,300 metres.
The Wadi Mujib runs right through the year. Excursions through its gorge are usually in organised groups, keeping to the bed of the river whenever possible. The gorge is quite wide and the waters are rarely fast-running, but, as it ascends, the gorge narrows and rocks begin to block the way, making navigation increasingly challenging. There are four possible routes, three of which – the Siq trail, Canyon trail, and the Malaqi trail – are water trails and are open only from April to October, The fourth, the Ibex trail, is a dry trail and can be taken at any time during the year, except during Ramadan. The Siq trail is the most popular, largely to its accessibility, being catalogued at the easy to moderate difficulty level. It takes over two hours to complete, and welcomes first time gorge hikers who want to combine their visit to Petra or to the Dead Sea with a small dose of adrenaline. On this trail, groups of up to 80 are led by expert guides each day, while all the other trails through the gorge only allow a maximum of 25 hikers a day.