Experiencing The Mujib Biosphere Reserve In Jordan

I was saddened when we were told Sabrina would not be allowed in the slot canyon of the Mujib Biosphere Reserve in Jordan. She’s 10 (nearly 11!) but they said it was too dangerous, even if she wore the required personal floatation device (PFD).

Our guide had already secured for us special access at Petra a couple nights before so I know he tried his best to gain Sabrina access. I asked one more time with pleading eyes, but the answer was still, “No” form the man behind the counter. In a hurry, and after talking it over with Sabrina, we decided she would stay in the shade of the visitor’s center, pad of paper in hand, while Mahfouze and I would take a short walk up the river to snap some photos, then head back.

The temperature was about 100F that day and worse in the sun. But the nice aspects of visiting Wadi Mujib, as it is also known, are twofold: First, the exploration of the biosphere reserve is up a slot canyon carved by eons of water on sandstone. This means we won’t be baking in the morning sun. Second, a river still flows down the canyon, meaning we will be wading in and out of the water to help cool us. it sounds like a good plan and I hug Sabrina goodbye as we descend steps to the river below.

What follows is a short, but truly awesome, hike up a river course through sandstone cliffs. The walls aren’t red, as are some sandstone slot canyons, especially in the US Southwest, but are instead a darker color. Swirls and curves and patterns emerge with each twist and turn. Visibility forward is maybe 70 feet at any given point in time and the way meanders tightly uphill.

As mentioned, I stopped early. But further on is the chance to climb along side waterfalls as well as rappel (abseil) down through them. Trips can be arranged on your own or with a guide and last from short walks in the river to full day treks up the canyon. The area was listed with UNESCO as a biosphere reserve only one year ago and even my short visit showed my the natural beauty worth preserving in this unique canyon. Part of the larger Mujib Nature Reserve, the lowest nature reserve on the planet, Mujib Biosphere Reserve will be on my list to explore on my next visit to Jordan.

And I’ll be sure to bring a water proof camera. (Click on images for larger versions)

Here is a link to current prices for visiting the reserve. For directions to the entrance to the canyon, head toward the Dead Sea from Amman then take a left on 65. Stop when you get here. It’s pretty easy to find. Oh, and don’t wear flip-flops! You’ll want serious footwear with good support.

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