Dispatches

Making a splash!

Canyoning is a relatively new activity for Jordan.

Ever since arriving in Jordan we had been looking forward to canyoning…but early rains were threatening to wash away our chance. Finally, with just two days left in our opXpedition, we decided to give it a go any way, although sadly not in one of the truly epic chasms.

Canyoning is a relatively new activity for Jordan, but already they have more than 26 canyons suitable for a spot of adrenaline, complete with cascades down natural water chutes, abseils down waterfalls and jumping, swimming and splashing through the churning waterways. Although available in a number of countries around the world, Jordan’s canyons offer something that others don’t: ancient history and an exotic presence.

Within sight of the Dead Sea, we turned off the main road and bumped and bounced down a dirt track. We passed a Bedouin encampment and were carefully watched by a tethered donkey. Having driven as far as we could, we set off on foot into a spectacular maze of narrow gorges hemmed in by towering sandstone cliffs. 

Wading through a knee-deep torrent that cascaded from the neighbouring hills, it didn’t take long before we had ventured beyond the last traces of human existence. We passed under an enormous rock bridge, listened to the haunting caws of crows echoing off the rocks and marvelled at the colours and striations in the arid overhanging cliffs. After a couple of hours, we headed back to the vehicle.

By canyoning standards, this was little more than an hors d’oeuvre, but it had whetted our appetites as thoroughly as it had wetted our feet…and we knew we’d be back! 

Nov. 30, 2012, 9:45 a.m.