The Amazing Xaqqa Valley

This was the place where I tried abseiling for the first time, and since discovering this beautiful view, it has been on my list of places to photograph.

I always tend to miss the perfect timeframe, and it is also not easy to access, as you need to do some climbing to reach the sweet spot. This time of year makes it ideal, both with dramatic clouds and position of the Sun, setting just above the rocky outcrop at the mouth of this valley. This rock makes the seascape so visually unique.

Xaqqa is very popular with climbers, especially abseiling for beginners as it starts with shallow, clean slopes. Going further down towards the sea, it gets deeper and there are also climbing routes for the more expert.

You can go down all the way to a small pebble beach, but I am not comfortable doing the last part with equipment, so I plan to reach it by sea when it is calm. There is a small arch which is not visible from this angle which I would love to see, and maybe photograph.

Safety First!

There is almost always some activity at the valley mostly climbing or abseiling – and loose rock might come down. It is very important to make other people aware that you are down there, as it is a common practice to clear a climbing root from loose rock.

Hazard no. 2 is the South face which is made out of sediment, like compacted sand. This looks very unstable, so you never know when a piece will break loose. In fact while I was there, I could hear small stones crumbling down the cliff every now and then, so better keep an eye out and use a helmet if you have one. Also keep in mind that the valley's tight, deep V shape, makes everything roll down fast while gaining speed. It is also not a place to be at when raining due to sudden flooding.

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Gilbert Vancell
Gilbert Vancell