We had planned to spend our first day in Jordan driving down the King’s Highway from Madaba towards Petra. We had been told that the historic road offered interesting scenery and many stopping points of interest. The night before we had worked with our hotel to hire a car to take us on our desired route with stops at a few recommended sites. Afterwards we took a short stroll through the town and pretty soon our clothes were plastered to our bodies and we were exhausted from the intense heat of the Jordanian summer. It was enough to convince us to throw away our entire “Kings Highway Plan” in favor of a new plan concocted based on something we had been told at the hotel bar that evening. Somewhere between Madaba and Petra there was a ‘water walk’ and the face that it involved being in water was enough for us. Heck – we had already packed some sweet water shoes.
We got into the car the next morning, with our new friend from the hotel bar and explained the change of plans to the driver. Although he didn’t change the estimated price, he seemed a little miffed, “I wish I had known that we were going to the water walk.” After about 20 minutes of driving, he pulled over and purchased a pair of swim trunks from a stall on the side of the road and the source of his ‘annoyance’ became clear – he planned to join us and had he known he would have packed his shorts.
The entrance to the park provides changing rooms and lockers to keep your valuables. They also provided life jackets (although the water is never deep enough that you have to swim). I don’t have a water proof camera so we carried it in a plastic bag in a small back pack we carried. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this option and you can see from the photo quality that it was difficult to stand still in the stream long enough to take good shots.
|At the entrance to the Siq|
The path starts off about ankle deep in water as you walk into the canyon (Siq just means canyon). At first there are pebbly banks you can walk on but eventually there is no other option but to wade. Although it was slow going, the cold water and shade provided by the canyon felt wonderful and the scenery provided by the canyon walls was incredible.
After the first 300 feet, the ‘walk’ became more of a scramble as we climbed/slid over large boulders and pulled our way up small waterfalls. Thank goodness we had our driver with us because he was able to help us over these obstacles and give us advice as to the best routes. Pretty soon we were totally soaked.
|Our guide walking through the canyon|
After about an hour of walking, we reach the waterfall at the end of the canyon. Our driver recognized one of the other guides in the waterfall area and he convinced us to swim up around the water wall and then jump under it so that the pressure would force us out into the canyon. And by ‘convinced’ I mean physically dragged us.
|Shannon heading into the waterfall|
|After being ‘shot’ out of the waterfall – notice the sweet water shoes|
After playing in the water fall for half an hour, we started the walk back. If anything it was more fun than the journey in – we were able to slide down the falls, jump off boulders and generally ride the current to the entrance. It was a great way to start off our trip. Goes to show that sometimes the highlights of the trip can come from decisions made on a whim.
|Very blurry ‘after’ photo|
Just the Facts
Location: Between Amman and Petra near the King’s Highway
Cost: JD 12 plus transportation
When: April to October
Attire: Swimsuits and modest clothing, waterproof walking shoes (The bottom of the river is rocky)
Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate – you don’t have to be in great shape, but a guide is helpful for getting over the trickier water falls. You can hire a guide at the entrance for a fee.