Preparing our Hike to Wadi Ghuweir
I was super excited to go on this hike and knew even before that Wadi Ghuweir or Wadi Ghweir, is one of the Highlights of Jordan. Most of the Wadis are neglected on a typical Jordan itinerary. However, when you have more time to visit or live in Jordan, Wadi Ghuweir is a Must-see. I joined TREKS on the second day of a weekend trip over Eid this year. A day before I was cycling from Shobak to Little Petra, which was already amazing and I knew that the landscape in the center of Jordan is just stunning.
The night before I came to Al Mansoura, which is a small town near the starting point of the hike through Wadi Ghuweir. We camped in the middle of the nature, had dinner, tea and slept in tents provided by TREKS. The next morning, we woke up to an amazing view watching the surrounding mountains glowing from the sunlight. We had a quick breakfast, packed our lunch, and started to descend the road before entering the valley. Basically, the valley is divided into three different sections. All three areas are different in nature and how they look, so they the locals give each section a different name. So, we have Wadi Ghuweir, Wadi Al-Nakheel and Wadi Ushayqir which all make up this beautiful piece of nature.
Wadi Ghuweir means something like descending valley, so it describes the beginning of the valley, where the water flows down. The area has narrow canyons is more dry but somehow reminded me of Wadi Numeira with its waves and different colors. Beige is the dominant color while you have nuances of yellow, reg, grey as well. Water sometimes appears and disappears again throughout the walk. So, you will not be walking in water at all times, but need to be prepared to get wet of course.
The next part of the valley is, Wadi Al-Nakheel, the valley of the palm trees. It has its name for a good reason. As you continue to walk down the valley, water pops-up here and there. Sometimes there are even some pools, where you can cool down. Suddenly, you will see steeper walls again covered in green fern. They are a sign for fresh water. This water also supports the many palm trees growing on the walls stretching their heads toward the sun. It is a beautiful example of the unique and micro diverse landscapes you can find in Jordan.
Since you are wandering through a valley and descending, the landscape and vegetation is changing around you. We had lunch break in some wide-open area and freshened us up with water dripping down the walls. Our local guide and the guide from TREKS showed us not only the way but informed us about the wadi, the region, and the plants.
The final part Wadi Ghuweir is Wadi Ushayqir. It is characterized by its beige, grey and black stones. The water becomes less and less. The wadi opens and palm trees disappear. You still can find some flowers and reed. As there are less trees it is also sunnier and gets really hot, especially in the afternoon. At some point we came across some shepherds with their goats. After a while the wadi totally opens and you are in the Feynan region. There are some wonderful views of the mountains and you can access the Dead Sea Highway from there. The most famous spot to spend the night is the Feynan Ecolodge, which I still have to explore. It is a fully self-sustaining Lodge in a beautiful remote setting.
Where to stay and what else to know
If you want to walk from Dana to the start of Wadi Ghuweir or transfer back to Dana after your hike, then you can check accommodation in Dana. Another option is to go further to the area of Little Petra if you intend to continue south. Either way you should join an organized trip such as I did, or really need to plan this out as both start and end are remote.
TREKS provided great service, are easy going and arrange everything well. I always felt safe. Also, the Feynan area can only be accessed by a 4W-drive and going back to Dana or Petra is easily a 2.5 to 3 hour drive. So, I suggest to build this hike into a longer trip where you also arrange something in Dana, Petra or Shobak for example. Of course you can include it on your journey on the King’s Highway along other highlights such as Karak Castle, Umm Ar-Rasas, or Madaba further North. For more information on what to do in Jordan, see The Best Places and Experiences in Jordan and When to go. If you need more inspiration see the Welcome2jordan Travel Guide below.
Information on Wadi Ghuweir
TREKS is a great place for all kind of hiking, climbing, and camping equipment. They also organize wonderful hiking tours around Jordan. https://www.facebook.com/TREKSjo
Starting point: https://goo.gl/maps/ReC2aTUsSA5dAfc47
Duration: 4-6 hours, plus transport before and after. You can also opt to go in and return but there are some obstacles.
From Amman: 3 hours
Accessibility: Easy to get from Al-Mansoura, but difficult from Feynan area, only by 4W-drive.
Difficulty: moderate, a few obstacles that require some climbing/help or maybe even a rope. Can get very hot later when the wadi opens while the center is in the shadow. Not suitable for children under 8 I assume.