This holiday offers a great balance of nature, history, and culture. You’ll see Jordan’s best historic sites, including Jerash and Petra, and do some of the kingdom’s great walks, including the Dana gorge and a beautiful back-route into Petra. Every day offers a memorable adventure, but no hike is too challenging. Welcome.
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN AMMAN
Welcome to Jordan, airport pick up and overnight in Amman
DAY 2 JERASH AND AMMAN
Spend the morning exploring the great Roman city of Jerash. In the afternoon, take in the lively street culture of Amman.
DAY 3 – DANA NATURE RESERVE
Walk in Jordan’s most beautiful nature reserve, Dana. Spend the night in this scenic village with great views down Dana gorge.
DAY 4 – PETRA (MAIN MONUMENTS)
Explore the astonishing ruins of ancient Petra.
DAY 5 – PETRA (OFF THE BEATEN TRACK)
Walk through a little-known Nabataean processional way into the ancient city, see the High Place of Sacrifice and the tombs of the Wadi Farasa.
DAY 6 – EXPLORING WADI RUM
Go by jeep into the vast rock and red sand wilderness of Wadi Rum, hike across the sandstone mountains and dunes, camp out under the stars in the desert.
DAY 7 RELAX AT THE DEAD SEA
Float in the warm water of the Dead Sea and relax at a comfortable spa / resort hotel.
DAY 8 DEPARTURE
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL
NO MEALS INCLUDED TODAY
Your driver will be waiting at Amman (AMM) airport to take you directly to your hotel in Amman – a 40-minute drive. There are no activities planned for today. Keep in mind that hotel check-in time is typically after 2.00pm. Early check in is not guaranteed, but if you do arrive early luggage storage is available at the hotel. There will be time to rest and settle in before you meet your cycling guide for the trip. He’ll be happy to answer any questions about the journey, and to make sure you’re briefed on the program for the journey ahead.
DAY 2 – JERASH AND AMMAN
MEALS: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
Today you’ll head north to discover one of the great Roman cities of the Middle East, Jerash. Founded at the time of Alexander the Great, Jerash flourished for around a thousand years as a trade center on the road between Damascus and Petra. The city’s colonnaded streets are basically intact, as is the beautiful oval forum and the gateway built to commemorate the visit of the Emperor Hadrian. The theatre, temples, baths, and hippodrome are all well preserved, and there are some wonderful Byzantine mosaic floors from the early Christian period.
In the afternoon there’ll be time to explore Amman. Jordan’s capital is a real, living city, full of quirky neighborhoods, friendly people, and fabulous food. You can begin up at the citadel, where you can take in the views and explore the Roman and early Islamic ruins. Just downhill is the Roman theatre, built during the reign of Emperor Antonius but now embedded into modern Amman and still used for cultural and musical events. From here you can wander through the markets, maybe stopping in a local café to take in the street scenes, watch the old men playing backgammon, and try Arabic coffee and pastries. This is also a good chance to smoke the scented tobacco of the argeelah or hubbly bubbly.
DAY 3 – HIKE IN DANA NATURE RESERVE
HIKING: 5KM / 3-4 HOURS.
MEALS: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
You’ll make an early start and head south for a 2.5 hour drive to the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan’s largest nature reserve. At the Rummana campsite you’ll meet your local guide and set off of a beautiful, gentle walk around the head of the Wadi Dana to the village. There are huge views down the valley and an abundance of birds and animals to see along the way. Your guides are expert at pointing out the tracks of animals and at identifying the medicinal herbs and plants that grow here. The trail brings you in through the irrigated gardens and orchards of Dana village to the visitor center, where you can enjoy lunch and take in the scenery.
Dana village is a cluster of old stone houses built right on the edge of Wadi Dana, a spectacular valley that cuts down almost 1000 meters from Jordan’s eastern plateau to the deserts at Feynan. Above the village spring water flows from a fault in the limestone and is used to irrigate gardens of vine and olive, fig and pomegranate. Archaeological evidence indicates that this place has been inhabited for at least 4000 years. Today, it forms the main point of access to the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The village commands magnificent views down towards the Great Rift Valley. You’ll stay in the village in a simple but friendly guesthouse.
DAY 4: TOUR PETRA
HIKING IN PETRA – BETWEEN 5 AND 10KM, DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU GO!
Early morning trasfer to Petra to spend the day exploring the ruins. No matter how many times you’ve seen it reproduced on film, nothing can really prepare you for the first glimpse of Petra. The classic entry to the city takes you through the long twilight of the siq, a narrow canyon that twists for more than a mile through the red sandstone, and then stuns you into silence with the sunlit façade of the Treasury, a monument cut into the rock some 2000 years ago with a refinement that is scarcely believable.
From the postcards, you’d think this was what you’d come to see. But it’s just the beginning. Petra is a vast archaeological site, most of it still unexcavated; you could spend days exploring the ruins and still not see it all. It was built by the Nabataeans, an Arab tribe who began as tent-dwelling Bedouin but soon came to dominate the most lucrative trade of the ancient world: incense. They used the money to create this city and to build an empire that extended from the Red Sea to Damascus. They also absorbed architectural ideas from Egypt, from the Babylonians, and from the Greek cities of the Mediterranean, using them to create the hybrid culture that you see in these ruins. The Temple of the Winged Lions, the High Place of Sacrifice, the Roman theatre, the Garden Tomb, the Byzantine church – any one of these monuments would be an archaeological treasure in its own right; in Petra, you can explore them one after another, and find them all set into one of the finest desert landscape in the Middle East.
Out of Petra, you’ll check into your hotel in Wadi Musa where you’ll be staying for the coming two nights.
DAY 5: PETRA MADRAS TRAIL AND WADI RUM BEDOUIN CAMP
HIKING: 8KM / 4-5 HOURS
MEALS: BREAKFAST, DINNER
You’ll begin today’s walk following the crowds through the main gates, but almost immediately you’ll leave them all behind and strike out on your own into a silent, unspoilt desert landscape. Your trail follows an old Nabataean processional route towards what was once the city’s sacred center, the High Place of Sacrifice. Along the way there are traces of ancient stone steps, and eroded relief carvings of deities or ‘god blocks’ cut into the rock walls. The route brings you out above the High Place of Sacrifice, from where you can see down across the whole of Petra and west towards Jebel Harun, Petra’s highest peak. From here you descend through the Wadi Farasa, which has some of best temples in the city (including the Garden Tomb and the Roman Soldier’s Tomb), emerging right in the heart of Petra. This is a wonderful walk, well away from the crowds, and leaves you plenty of time to explore the tombs and temples of Petra before leaving the site through the main siq.
DAY 6: WADI RUM
Early morning transfer down to Wadi Rum, the most beautiful desert landscape in the Middle East.
Every guidebook to Wadi Rum repeats the description written by T.E. Lawrence of Arabia almost century ago, and with good reason. “The Arab armies would have been lost in the length and breadth of it,” he wrote, “and within the walls a squadron of aeroplanes could have wheeled in formation. Our little caravan grew self-conscious, and fell dead quiet, afraid and ashamed to flaunt its smallness in the presence of such stupendous hills. Landscapes, in childhood’s dream, were so vast and silent.”
Bedouin guides from the Howeitat tribe (the same tribe that guided Lawrence) will meet you at Rum Village and drive you by jeep into this spectacular desert. You’ll spend the morning exploring Wadi Rum’s mountains and sand dunes, stopping to take in the views and to look at the inscriptions chipped into the rock over thousands of years. After a picnic lunch in the shade, followed by a cup of tea and a rest, you’ll drive on to the great red dune, where you can kick off your shoes and run down the soft, warm sand. In the late afternoon you’ll arrive at your camp in the heart of the protected area, where there’ll be time to relax and take in the sunset before enjoying a Bedouin feast of meat and vegetables cooked in the zerb, an oven of fire-heated sand and stone. If you’re still not tired out by the day’s adventures you can stay up round the fire, talking and laughing with your Bedouin hosts and watching the night sky.
Your accommodation is a simple but comfortable Bedouin campsite, with a traditional goat hair tent divided into twin ‘rooms.’ There are proper toilets and showers on the site (go easy on the water), as well as shaded seating areas for relaxing and dining.
DAY 7: DEAD SEA
After breakfast your Bedouin hosts will drive you out to Rum village, from where you’ll head north by road to the Dead Sea and check into a comfortable resort / spa hotel. Floating in the warm, intensely saline water of the Dead Sea is an unforgettable experience! This is the lowest point on the surface of the earth (some 400m below sea level) and contains mineral-rich muds that have been recognized since antiquity for their curative properties. This mud costs a fortune in Europe, but in Jordan you can scoop it from the seabed and cover yourself with it! The blue water, the white salt-encrusted shore, and the red desert mountains also make this an outstandingly beautiful place.
DAY 8: DEPARTURE
MEALS INCLUDED: BREAKFAST
A single group transfer will be provided from your hotel to AMM Airport – a 40-minute drive. We wish you a safe homeward journey and hope to see you again in Jordan soon.
Transportation throughout the trip using a deluxe air-conditioned private charter with driver (sedan or van or a small bus depending on your group size).
3 star Hotels (5nt), 4 star Hotels (1nt), Bedouin campsites (1nt).
7 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 2 dinners are included as per the itinerary above (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner).
Local hiking guide in Dana.
Local Bedouin hiking guide in Petra Madras Trail.
Local Bedouin guide/ host in Wadi Rum.
English Speaking Licensed Guide (Applicable for 7 + group size)
Entrance fees, personal equipment (see the What to Take section below), flights, travel insurance, personal expenditures & tips.
Entrance fees per person are estimated as follows: Jerash = JOD8, Petra 2 day pass = JOD55, Wadi Rum = JOD5.