The Arui: a Wonder to Behold

The Arui Cave in the Tafilah Governorate, Jordan

The Arui is a cave bordering on the Beautiful Region, that lies around 200 kilometers away from the capital, in the Tafilah Governorate. It provides goat hunters shelter for the night during the hunting season, which takes place in October, and is bounded on the East by a green landscape with streams and waterfalls, and on the South by a place called Sulman’s Bite Mark in honor of a guy named Sulman who died there after being bitten by a poisonous snake.

By the time they reach the cave, the goat hunters have usually been hiking for a while already and are happy to find a place to rest where the temperatures aren’t that extreme and where they have fresh water flowing nearby. The arui, which is the goat that inhabits these parts, is usually pretty hard to spot and hunt down.

Many spend the night praying and reciting the names of the fellow hunters who have died in these high latitudes, while others make preparations for the following day.

Last year, rumor had it that the Arui cave had been inundated by the devastating floods that had hit the South in May. Needless to say, the goat hunters were shattered by the sad news. Some of them decided to return anyhow, to see the aftermath of the catastrophe with their own eyes, and at the very least, bid goodbye to the place where they had made such good memories. I was among them.

When we arrived, we were surprised to find out that the cave was not only still there, but also, in a pretty fit state. That was a relief! We still have to remember those who perished here, though.


The Author’s Notes:

1. The arui go by different names, and the male and the female are called differently as well.

2. The goat hunters also hunt in summer.

3. The serpents of the region have long and sharp fangs.


Written by Abdulmahdi Atallah Alkatameen.