Jordan – Wadi Mujib & Wadi Zarqa Ma’In Canyoning

– AUGUST 28, 2015

We rose early in Madaba to be greeted by our guide, Abu Sameer, to then take the hour long drive out to our first canyon of the day, Wadi Zarqa Ma’In.  This canyon is a two hour hike to the end, then two hours back to the car.  It doesn’t have more than a couple of guides taking people to it, so we had the canyon pretty much to ourselves.  The only people we saw were in the first 30 minutes, who were local kids sitting in the first few pools (they had a long weekend off of school this day).

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – Jill with our guide Abu Sameer (he was a PE teacher for 20 years and since retirement he takes people out to go canyoning)

This was the easier of the two canyons we would face today.  The first hour was just amazing scenery and an easy walk along the small stream.  The second hour had some natural obstacles that we had to navigate over the sometimes even through.  It was a pretty easy hike and it was a ton of fun.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – Jill feeling the pressure of the water flow.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – Kenneth taking a dip

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – this spot was refreshing!

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – Jill got soaked then took the slide down to the water

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – this canyon had some larger sections that were beautiful

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – this spot pulled you under pretty fast, then tossed you out.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – about an hour in we started to come across obstacles to climb over and through.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – about an hour in we started to come across obstacles to climb over and through.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – this was a cool waterfall that we had to sit under for a bit. It wasn’t the end of the line though.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – this was the end of the line for this hike. You would lay down in the water and the current would take you into the waterfall on the right side, then throw you out on the left side, then repeat. In New Zealand they called this type of current the “Washing Machine”. It was awesome.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – this was the end of the line for this hike. You would lay down in the water and the current would take you into the waterfall on the right side, then throw you out on the left side, then repeat. In New Zealand they called this type of current the “Washing Machine”. It was awesome.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – On the way back we took a slightly different route that had some tougher scrambling.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – On the way back we took a slightly different route that had some tougher scrambling.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – On the way back we took a slightly different route that had some tougher scrambling. Yes, we climbed down this hole on the way back.

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In

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Wadi Zarqa Ma’In – Heading back at the car and we are ready for the next canyon.

After drying off and a quick clothes change, we drove 45 minutes to arrive at the second canyon of the day, Wadi Mujib.  Wadi Mujib, known from the bible as River Arnon, is a river which enters the Dead Sea at 410m below sea level.  During the first Ice Age, the Dead Sea rose up to 180m below sea level.  This flooded the lower areas of the canyons along their banks.  These area became bays and accumulated sediments.  This layer of sediment would be broken through at most bays when the Dead Sea levels retreated, except at Wadi Mujib where instead it broke through a cleft in the sandstone.  This narrow cleft then became a bottleneck of an enormous drainage basin with a large discharge.  Over the years the cleft was scoured deeper and the gorge of Wadi Mujib was formed.

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Wadi Mujib – the tougher canyon awaits!

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Wadi Mujib

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Wadi Mujib – this canyon has many natural obstacles with ropes previously installed to allow passage

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Wadi Mujib – this one needs assistance from others to get up and down

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Wadi Mujib – here you take your time to get solid footing on the wet rock to climb upward

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Wadi Mujib – step by step Jill got to the top

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Wadi Mujib – nothing to it!

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Wadi Mujib – this one was as tough as it looks

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Wadi Mujib – eventually (2 hours later) you reach the top and see this magnificent waterfall. I went behind it to see more paths, but we didn’t go that way).

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Wadi Mujib – behind the waterfall

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Wadi Mujib – going backwards against the water flow and down metal ladder steps makes for a tense situation.

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Wadi Mujib – Going up needed the ropes, going down was a rock waterslide. Jill is seated and about to do her slide.

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Wadi Mujib – great scenery

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Wadi Mujib – another tough spot where slippery metal and strong currents make you take your time and ensure you have good footing

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Wadi Mujib

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Wadi Mujib – holding the rope while walking across the strong current with rocks below you. This is not an easy walk.

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Wadi Mujib – the tougher parts are behind us now. Well done!

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Wadi Mujib – group pick

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Wadi Mujib – the end of the canyon fun. Just one ladder climb left.

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Wadi Mujib

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Wadi Mujib – up this ladder and you have a 2 minute walk to the car park.

Wadi Mujib required the wearing of a life jacket to enter the park, so it was obviously much tougher than our first canyon (which required no entrance ticket).  Now its time for some R&R at the Dead Sea Resort (one of our very few luxurious stays on this year-long adventure)!

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For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.