South of Madaba, the King’s Highway meanders up and down across several valleys draining rainwater off the hills, including the dramatic canyon of Wadi Mujib. One of Jordan’s most spectacular natural features, lying midway between Madaba and Karak, the immense valley has been dubbed, with a canny eye on the tourist dollar, “Jordan’s Grand Canyon”. The name, however, is well earned, as the King’s Highway delivers you to stunning viewpoints on either rim over a vast gash in the barren landscape, cutting through 1200m of altitude from the desert plateau in the east down to the Dead Sea in the west. It is every bit as awe-inspiring as its Arizonan cousin and has the added selling-point of the memorable road journey winding down to the valley floor and up the other side. A large chunk of the surrounding territory now forms part of the protected Mujib Biosphere Reserve, offering the chance for wilderness hiking and canyoning as good as any you’ll find in the Middle East.

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