Hiking memo : wadi al-hasa, Dead Sea. “And a river runs through it”!
6 October 2018
all videos available on our YouTube channel #familyinjordan 🙂
Wadi al-Hasa is a must-see in Jordan. At the southern end of the Dead Sea, near the town of Ghur As Safi, is a river. Not a little stream like many others, No … A real river, with fish, water in quantity, rapids, a few water holes …
Anyone familiar with Middle East will be amazed to see so much water running under his eyes. And this precious gift is not spoiled, since most of the water is captured in Ghur as Safi water station to irrigate the numerous polycultures of the Ghur, this great valley separating Jordan and Israel.
Furthermore, wadi al-Hasa is a celebrity: it even has its own wikipedia page! Its history is long and ancient, and the wadi is explicitly quoted in the Old Testament, under his antic name of Zered:
“So we crossed over the Wadi Zered. And the length of time we had traveled from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the Wadi Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation of warriors had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn concerning them.” (Deuteronomy 2: 13-14)
Now, because you certainly don’t want to dedicate 38 years of your life to discover this great wadi, you should definitiely read this hiking memo!
🚩🏁 : 31°01’06.2″N 35°29’15.6″E , 31.018396, 35.487661, Google Maps link by clicking here
🚙🚕🚍: from Amman, 2h30 by car to the water pumping station car park, and 1H30 from Aqaba. The car park is suitable for all type of car. By public tranports and taxis, ask for “Ghur As-Safi” , غور الصافي
👩👩👦👦 : 😊😊 ( over 6 years old). Wadi al-hasa is a long and large wadi with plenty of fresh water. Less difficult than the unavoidable Wadi Mujib (entry fee and forbidden to under 18 years old), wadi al-hasa has advantages : it is cute and spectacular also and suitable for all families
⏱ : from 2 hours to all day, depending of the distance you will walk into the wadi. For our part, we walked about 5 hours in total. It is also possible to go up on 2 days (24 km), the other end of the hike being the hot springs of Afra, near Al Tafila.
⚠️ : 🌊🌡 Rare dangers for the youngest (<6 years old), because of the current, and a couple of water holes. Like all the wadis of the Dead Sea by -400 meters of altitude, it is very hot in summer: make sure you bring enough drinking water.
📐 : around 100 meters of positive elevation
📏 : linear trail, with 2 options :
- back and forth is the same day (we walked 6 kms one way, see below)
- trekking Ghur Safi – Afra hot springs, with sleeping overnight in a bivouac, and a total distance of 24 kilometers au total. Not done already…But if anybody wants to give it a try, we take !
- A surprising wadi with its river, and its mini-canyoning sequences for children (perfect for 6-10 years)
- After the hike, you can set a record by visiting the lowest museum on Earth, Ghur As-Safi’s “lowest point on earth museum”!
- This area is not so well known to travelers, expatriates and Jordanians, and there is still a great potential for discovery (peninsula of Lysan, night in Kerak or Showbak, hot springs of Afra …)
- When we passed the first kilometer, the wadi is relatively clean (except spraypainted tags from some stupid 4X4 clubs)
- unless you want to get up early and come back late, it is not really a day trip from Amman.
Tips from #familyinjordan
- Just park your car under the shades of the trees, inside the pumping station. Just tell the employees. The only risk for you is to receive many smiles and invitations to stay for lunch from them:-)
- while walking, lower your head, open your eyes: observe the yellow and blue fishes, and the crabs that live in the river!
- Wadi al-hasa is the little brother of Wadi Mujib. Less spectacular and impetuous, it is an open and free wadi for everyone, and the flow of water will be more than enough to offer children thrills. In two words, wadi al-hasa is a familial wadi mujib !
Access to the wadi is from a water pumping station. It irrigates a large part of the Jordanian Ghur, including the highest density of crops in Jordan. Wadi al-hasa therefore contributes to the cultivation of tomatoes and cucumbers that you will eat in your hotel or that you will buy in your favorite shop ….
The wadi is quite wide on the first first kilometer. “And a river runs through it….” You might feel like you are in Oregon ! 🙂 . Overall, this is just fine, as children will be surprised and delighted with so much water 🙂
The valley will soon narrow, and the path will be punctuated by small rapids, rock piles, mini tunnels above your head …. And soon, a beautiful Siq will offer its colors (ocher, beige, yellow, orange) to your eyes …
Many places are suitable for breaks and water games. Once you have crossed the rapids zone (approximately km 2 to 3), the steady flow of water will be the perfect excuse to let everyone to have a mini-canyoning session, letting themselves slide in 30-40 cms high water flow:-)
With a potential of 24 km (and even 50, to the village of Hasa), this wadi will be suitable for experienced trekkers and backpackers, with one or more bivouacs in a wonderful natural setting.
Above all, wadi al hasa is ideal for families and nature lovers. Some great human experiences can be made: Jordanian families on walks, hunters (poachers?), fishermen … and some tourists, no doubt!
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