You are welcome to arrive in Cairo at any time, as today is a designated arrival day with no planned activities. Please note that there will be an important welcome meeting this evening at our joining hotel. Please check the hotel notice board for more information on the location of this meeting or ask at reception. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents to this meeting, as you will be required to fill out some important pre-trip admin documents.Your tipping kitty will be collected as this time (please refer to the "tipping" section of these notes for more information). After learning more about our tour and plans for the following day, you are welcome to join our leader and your travelling companions for an optional dinner nearby. On this trip we do not spend any time in Cairo. If you want to see the awe inspiring pyramids and Sphinx, the wonders of the Egyptian Museum and wander in the chaos of Old Cairo, we suggest you arrive a day or two early or consider adding our Budget Egypt tour to your itinerary. Please note that this is a Basics level tour. It is designed for 18-39 year olds who want to choose the activities they would like to participate in, rather than have them included as part of the tour price. As a result, entrance fees are not included. Please note "guided walk" means the services of a guide are provided, and transport to the site, but entrance fees, where applicable, are extra. Please refer to the optional activity section of these notes for approximate prices. To help you plan your budget, the activities most travellers choose to do are marked with an astrix *. If this is your first visit to Cairo, we highly recommend that you book an airport transfer (please refer to the joining instructions section of tour dossier for more information).
This morning we transfer by private vehicle to the town of St Catherine, our base for climbing Mount Sinai. Mt Sinai, the place where the Ten Commandments were said to have been revealed is perfect for viewing a glorious sunset. Depending on time, the weather, the season and group wishes, you may like to climb this afternoon for sunset or wake early and climb for sunrise the following day. There are two ways to the summit: the camel path, where it is possible to hire a camel to take you most of the way up; or choose the "quick but deadly" 3750 stairs to the top. Timings depends on various factors but you should allow 2-3 hours to reach the summit and approximately 1.5 hours to descend. Overnight in St Catherine. Estimated travel time: Cairo to St Catherine, 7hrs
Those who are returning from a sunrise climb of Mount Sinai will be transferred back to our hotel in town for breakfast and to collect any non-climbers in the group. We then set off on a visit to the Monastery of St Catherine's, the smallest diocese and oldest Christian monastery still in use in the world. It houses not only a rich collection of icons and precious manuscripts but also the only existing relative of Moses' biblical burning bush! We then transfer to Dahab for some serious chill time. The relaxed village of Dahab is a well known travellers' hub. Here you can choose to do as much or as little as you choose. Sign up for one of the many optional activities on offer or just grab a book and a cold drink and relax at one of the many sea side cafes and enjoy the views of Saudi Arabia, right across the water. Overnight two nights in Dahab. Estimated travel time: St Catherine's to Dahab, 1.5 hrs
After spending the morning in Dahab, this afternoon we board a ferry to cross the Gulf of Aqaba to Jordan. The ferry is simple but does have air-conditioning and airline style seats. Upon entering the ferry, you will be given a Jordanian arrival card to fill out and hand in with your passports to the ferry's immigration official. You will receive a receipt (in Arabic) in return. When you disembark the ferry, it is a very short bus ride to the Arrivals Hall where your passports will be stamped and waiting for you. You will not be accompanied by your Egyptian tour leader for this short journey, but upon arrival at the terminal building in Jordan, your Jordanian tour leader will be there to meet and assist you through the customs and immigration procedures. Please note that there is only one daily ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba. This ferry has no set schedule and is extremely erratic, as it waits in Jordan until it is full and then makes the crossing to Egypt to collect us and return to Jordan. While experience has shown us the time that it usually departs, it is not unknown for the ferry to be delayed sometimes up to 3-4 hours. While we will do our best to keep you comfortable during this time, we do ask our clients to please keep in mind that the ferry is a public service and therefore out of G Adventures' control.Your tour leader will collect 50 Egyptian pounds from each client to pay your Egyptian departure tax at the ferry terminal. Overnight in Aqaba. Estimated travel times: Ferry terminal waiting time, up to 3-4 hrs; Nuweiba to Aqaba, 1.5 hrs (ferry)
The morning is free to explore Aqaba and its beaches. Around noon we will set off for the drive to Wadi Rum. Blessed with some of the most spectacular desert scenery in the world, Wadi Rum is home to the nomadic Bedouin people. We arrive at our tented home for the night, where we will enjoy a traditional meal and learn more about this ancient culture. Our camp at Wadi Rum is basic but comfortable. We sleep on beds in one long goathair tent, which is divided by blankets into twin-share “rooms” for privacy. A bottom sheet and blanket is provided but most people prefer to bring along a travel sleep sheet/sleeping bag liner. Bathroom facilities are shared and unisex and located around 20m from the camp. Although the way is lit by lanterns, it is a good idea to have a torch/flashlight with you. There is a large, central tent that is traditionally decorated and perfect for relaxing or escaping the cold nights in winter. Our dinner is cooked in traditional fashion, with the meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven. Soft drinks and water are available for purchase. Please note that for religious reasons no alcohol is permitted at the camp. We spend the evening sitting under the stars, around the fire, listening to stories from our Bedouin hosts. If we are really lucky they may bring the drums out for some music. Overnight in Wadi Rum (desert camp). Estimated travel time: Aqaba to Wadi Rum, 1 hr
After breakfast at our Wadi Rum camp, we set off for Petra. Depending on the season, we will either drop our bags at our hotel in Wadi Musa, our base for the next two nights or head straight to Petra. Upon arrival at the site, and after paying your entrance fee, you will begin an unforgettable walk through the narrow cannon, which forms the dramatic entrance to the city (the siq) until you round the final corner and are greeted by the unforgettable view of the extraordinary façade of the Treasury building. Our guide will give a brief history of this city that the Nabateans carved from the living rock of the surrounding mountains. The site is large, but you can set your own pace depending on the weather and the interests of the group. We return to our hotel in Petra town (Wadi Musa). Why not ask your guide about some local options for dinner this evening. Overnight Wadi Musa (Petra township). Estimated travel time: Wadi Rum to Petra, 2 hrs
An early start this morning as we set off for Amman, via a swim in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is actually a lake, without any from of life whatsoever. The water is so dense that it is practically impossible to sink, being five to ten times as salty as regular sea water. We spend the morning at one of the resorts, which provide access to the beach with plenty of time for swimming (or floating!). While swimming, cover yourself with the Sea's mud, which is reputed to have special healing powers, and don't forget to take a photo of yourself reading a book while you float! You will notice that the salt penetrates any cuts on your body and has an unusual smell but there are showers to wash off under. Afterwards, relax under an umbrella next to one of the fresh water swimming pools. After lunch we travel onwards to Amman, Jordan's friendly and modern capital. Overnight in Amman. Estimated travel time: Petra to Amman, 4 hrs
You are free to depart at any time today. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage facilities are available. We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation if you wish to extend your stay for a few more days. Please ask at the time of booking.