Highlights of Jordan
Day 1 Amman
You are welcome to arrive in Amman 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. 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.
Day 2 Jerash/Amman (1B)
After breakfast at the hotel we will set off on our half day trip to Jerash, a fascinating place and one of the largest and most well preserved Roman sites outside Italy. Its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition. The drive takes less than an hour each way, but will transport you some 2000 years back in time. We head directly to the Dead Sea, after Jerash. The Dead Sea is actually a lake, without any from of life whatsoever existing in its waters. The water is so dense that it is practically impossible to sink, being five to ten times as salty as regular sea water. We base ourselves at a resort for the afternoon, where you will have access to the beach. 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 floating! 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 after swimming. Afterwards, while away under an umbrella next to one of the fresh water swimming pools. There are a few options for your lunch today and the choice is yours, ranging from a full buffet at the resort or a snack from the cafe. We will return to Amman for the evening. Approx travel times: Amman to Jerash, 2hrs (return); Amman to Dead Sea, 4hrs (return)
Days 3-4 Petra (2B)
We depart early today for the long but very interesting drive by way of the King's Highway to Petra. Our first stop is Mount Nebo, which is believed by many to be the site of Moses' death and has thus been a centre for pilgrimage since the earliest Christian times. Enjoy stunning views from the summit of the surrounding countryside and into Israel in the distance. The town of Madaba has some of the finest Byzantine mosaics in the world including the famous sixth century mosaic map of Palestine. Afterwards, we visit Karak Castle. Karak is the largest late Islamic castle in Jordan. It was initially constructed in the Crusader period and expanded and refortified during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. We will arrive in the early evening at Wadi Musa, the town on the outskirts of Petra, where we will spend the night. We have an early start on Day 4. We depart for Petra at 6am to be the first to arrive at the grounds when the gates open. The entrance to Petra is a short walk from the hotel. Upon arrival at the entrance to the site you will begin an unforgettable walk through the narrow canyon that forms the dramatic entrance to the city (the Siq), until you round the final corner and are greeted by the unforgettable view of the dramatic 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. We will hike approximately 25 km today to cover the entire grounds. We will climb (steps) to two sacred hilltops that our guide will discuss the history and significance. Depending on the weather and the interests of the group, we will hike an additional 2 km to see the magnificent views from on top of the Treasury. This makes for a unique and unforgettable experience and we are often the only group at the peak. We return to our hotel late in the afternoon. Overnight in Wadi Musa (Petra township; 2 nights) Approx travel times: Amman to Wadi Musa (Petra), 11hrs (including stops for visits en route)
Day 5 Wadi Rum/Deseih Desert (1B,1D)
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Wadi Rum, a vast, silent landscape of ancient riverbeds and the largest and most magnificent of Jordan's desert landscapes. Now the home of several Bedouin tribes, the Wadi Rum area has been inhabited for generations. These hospitable and friendly desert people are settled in Wadi Rum in scattered nomadic camps throughout the area. We will stop at a large Bedouin camp to enjoy a light lunch, snack, and tea. We head deep into the desert by 4x4 vehicle to arrive at our tented home for the night, where we will enjoy a traditional meal and learn more about this ancient culture. Our camp in the greater Wadi Rum area (Deseih Desert) is basic but comfortable. We sleep on beds in one long goathair tent divided up 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 path is lit by lanterns, it is a good idea to have a torch/flashlight with you. Our dinner is cooked in traditional fashion, with the meat and vegetables cooked underground. Soft drinks and water are available for purchase. Please note that for religious reasons, no alcohol is permitted at the camp. Our guide will take us for a 2 hour night hike in the desert to see the stars and look for desert wildlife. We spend the evening sitting under the stars, around the fire, listening to stories from our Bedouin hosts. Overnight in Wadi Rum/Deseih Desert (Bedouin camp). Approx travel times: Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum, 2hrs
Day 6 Aqaba (1B)
We awake early the next morning and head back to the large Bedouin camp for breakfast. After breakfast, we drive to the Red Sea resort city of Aqaba. Here your time is free to enjoy the beach, perhaps with some snorkelling or just relaxing with a good book. The active among you may want to make the trip to Aqaba castle, which has a long and interesting history, built by Crusaders, occupied by the Ottomans and destroyed by the British. For dinner, check out one of the many open air restaurants; fresh local seafood is a highlight. Approx travel times: Wadi Rum to Aqaba, 1hr
Day 7 Amman (1B)
Depending on the group, enjoy a relaxing lie-in and some more beach time or head back early to Amman by way of the Desert Highway in the afternoon. On arrival back in the capital, don't miss the chance for a final night out to celebrate the end of a wonderful journey. Your tour leader will be able to offer many ideas. Approx travel times: Aqaba to Amman, 4hrs
Day 8 Amman (1B)
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.