Wadi bin Hammad near Kerak : one of the finest hikes in Jordan
8 October 2019
In Jordan, Kerak (al-Karak) is best known for its impressive crusader castle, where Homeric battles took place between Saladin and Renaud de Chatillon, around 1180 A.D. But near Kerak, is also located wonderful Wadi Bin Hammad: high sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, hanging gardens, bucolic stream …
So why not combine History and Nature? Let’s take a walk around Kerak and discover Wadi Bin Hammad, one of the finest hikes in Jordan …
: from Amman, 2h15 by car. From Kerak, 50 – 60 minutes. Access to the wadi is possible via a road whose view is breathtaking, somewhat dizzying for sensitive souls (one hour drive for 30 kms ..). Although a little damaged, the road is paved: it is accessible for all types of cars. No public transport ation from Kerak, so you have to manage with a taxi if you don’t have any private car.
: Suitable for all age, just be cautious with children under 6 years old. The micro-waterfalls and rapids that punctuate the ride will delight the little ones. For them, this hike will turn into a miniature canyoning session. The big ones, on their side, will be amazed by the cliffs, the hanging gardens, the waterfalls falling in the wadi … In short, this stroll is perfect for the adults, perfect for the kids .. it is just perfect, indeed.
: 1.5 to 2.5 hours, or even more if you walk down the lowest part of the wadi. As it is blocked by a cascade of 4 meters high, you’ll need the assistance of the RSCN staff to get the proper equipment (ladder). The natural setting is enchanting, we recommend you to picnic on the zone.
: Children, even small ones, will normally have foothold in all the wadi. The current is not too strong and this makes monitoring rather easy by adults. As always in this environment, conditions may change depending on the weather and the season. As the access is controlled at the visitor center of the RSCN, the wadi is reasonably safe.
: around 50 meter down (negative elevation) to the 4 meters high waterfall.
: linear itinerary in the wadi, rather open at the beginning, then becoming a Siq.
: 5 JOD for the access, 10 JOD more if you want RSCN staff to settle the ladder in order to climb down the waterfall. Be advised to ask at the beginning of the trail (visitor center).
What we liked:
Its atmosphere: here, everything is conducive to serenity. The warm welcome of the guards, its calm inside, its freshness and its greenery …
Its cleanliness: with wadi Mujib, it is the most impeccable wadi that we saw in Jordan! This is unfortunately not so common …
Its (relative) confidentiality: Although only an hour away from Kerak, this wadi remains little frequented. It is known to some expats, Jordanians (but those who can shell out 5 JOD to enter …).
The visit of the castle of Kerak lasts about 2 hours. Dear traveller, instead of setting off from the city, we recommend you to indulge yourself some time hiking this wadi. Before, or after the castle of Kerak, wadi bin Hammad offers a green setting ideal to take full eyes, and is the perfect place for a picnic.
What we disliked:
To have to pay: Wadi Bin Hammad is not free of charge. Nature lovers might be reluctant to that. However, it is probably these few JODs that limit the indelicates, and that also enables the maintenance of the wadi.
The “hot spas”. As a little further north (super wadi Zarqa Ma’in, to discover!), The site also includes hot baths (35 °) , as there is a geothermal activity nearby. Frankly, we were not convinced by the (outdated ) atmosphere of the place, nor by the quality of the water … So we just looked at the desert basin from the edge!
Some tips of #familyinjordan
Do not fool around, and take the “10 JOD Scale” option when you pay at the entrance. A RSCN employee will then settle a secure way to cross the 4-meter waterfall that blocks the road after 2 kilometers of descent. The suite is enchanting, especially the 500 meters below. In addition, you will be offered a “shaï ” (a Bedouin tea), which the employee will share with you at the waterfall!
A small snack and a bottle of water in the bag! There is no (yet) restaurant or shop at the visitor center of the entrance. It’s a shame, but it’s like that. So buy your picnic in a small shop in Kerak. If you are lucky, sometimes soft drinks and coffee are on display at the entrance.
Consider differently your stopover in Kerak. When preparing your trip, plan a little more than 3 hours for Kerak. Too many visitors limit themsleves to the package “visit of the castle + restaurant” (about 3 hours). We suggest to visit “castle + wadi Bin Hammad + picnic”: it adds one to two hours more, but what a blast! 🙂
Wadi access is from Kerak. A winding and somewhat dented road leads there, with superb views overlooking the valley. You will encounter holes, bumps and herds, but you can go everywhere with a standard car. Do not be surprised, there will be a little ford just before arriving at the Visitor Center – nothing really bad! In less than an hour from Kerak (excluding photo shoot ..), you will be parked in the parking lot, ready to go on a ride. Parking is free of charge. In front of you, a white prefabricated and a stone construction: this is the RSCN visitor center.
Register (and pay) at the RSCN visitor center. Count 5 JOD per person, free for children under 12 years (discount for expats ;-)). The staff is smiling, welcoming … In short, no doubt, you are in Jordan!
Head towards the bottom of the wadi, and once inside (yes, inside: you will eventually wet your foot, as much start from the beginning ;-)), you start an enchanting descent to the Dead Sea, invisible in this part of the wadi. Do not cross the small bridge over the wadi unless you want to see the hot spas above.
Fourth step :
Just enjoy this cool, laughing, beautiful association of rocks, flora and waterfalls. Everything is safe. With 20 to 40 cms of water, no need to seal your equipment, unless you plan to lay flat in the river. Just pay attention where you’re about to enter the Siq (photos below): 200 meters after, you will find the 4 meters high waterfall. Watch out for the children as of here.
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