If you are arriving into Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, on Day 1 you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. If you are not arriving on Day 1, please make your own way to the hotel or ask us for private transfer details (additional cost applies). Amman is the capital of Jordan, and was known in biblical times as Rabbath Ammon, and under the Ptolemies, as Philadelphia. It is situated on a series of Jebels (meaning hills) and is divided by wadi's (or dry river beds) into modern and ancient quarters. Remainder of day at leisure. Please check at hotel reception for the time to meet your guide tomorrow.
After breakfast we will start our tour of Jordan with a transfer to the Desert Castles. We will visit Qasr Amra, Azraq and Kharaneh. Scattered throughout the black basalt desert these temples stand as testament to the beginnings of Islamic civilisation and are widely considered the most spectacular monuments to early Islamic art. We return to Amman for a city tour in the late afternoon, visiting the ruins of the Amman amphitheatre, the citadel and the Umayyad Palace. There may be time for some shopping in the old downtown area of the city. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast we will drive north to visit Um Qais, a city rich with basalt ruins and perched on a hilltop with excellent views overlooking the Jordan Valley, Golan heights and Lake Tiberius (the sea of Galilee). We then continue to the village of Ajlun with its fortress and another magnificent view into the Jordan Valley. From there we drive to Jerash, where we visit one of the largest and best preserved Graeco-Roman ruins in the Middle East. The grandeur of Imperial Rome is evident from the extensive remnants of this ancient city. We return to Amman and overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast we transfer to Mujib Nature Reserve for the Siq trail, an easy hike into the main gorge of the Mujib River (the Siq). It starts at the visitor centre near the Mujib Bridge, from where we take the cantilevered walkway over the dam and follow the course of the river between towering sandstone cliffs to the base of a large waterfall. Depending on the seasonal rainfall levels, the gorge may contain pools deep enough for swimming. It's an ideal walk to take slowly and enjoy the cool water and shade, especially in the warmer months. From here we travel to Kerak to visit the well preserved crusader castle with its diverse history dated from the Byzantine to the Mamluk period. We then continue to the Dana Nature Reserve. Apart from its wildlife the reserve is rich with archaeological sites and culture. We visit for 1-2 hours and can do a short hike to some spectacular viewpoints above Dana Village, exploring the terraced gardens and local community craft workshops. From here we drive to Petra, where we check into our hotel for overnight.
(NOTE: The Siq trail in Wadi Mujib is only available from 1 April - 31 Oct. During the colder months from 1 Nov - 30 Mar, the Ibex trail will be used instead).
Chief among Jordan's archaeological sites is the soul-stirring, rose-red city of Petra, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Petra is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in south Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. This morning our visit of the ancient Nabatean Capital starts with a short walk to the entrance of the Siq, a long narrow fissure between two overhanging cliffs. We then walk through the Siq, with the sudden view of Petra's most spectacular monument, the Khaznah (or Treasury) appearing dramatically at the end. Our tour gradually explores the mysteries of the ancient city with its Royal Tombs and burial chambers. No matter how many pictures of the Rose Red City you have seen, it will surpass your wildest expectations to see it for real. We return to our hotel in the evening.
Note: Your entry ticket into the city of Petra includes a horse ride into the site and you will have the option to ride a donkey to the end of the Siq. In line with our commitment to animal welfare in tourism we encourage you to walk, rather than ride a horse and donkey. There have been a number of instances where travellers have been upset by the treatment of the horses and donkeys by their handlers.
Today we have our second visit to the ancient city of Petra, this time visiting the Monastery and the High Place of Sacrifices. There are many steps involved today as these specific sites are located at the top of ridgelines but the climbs are worth it. We overnight again at the same hotel.
Our first stop this morning is Beidha, also known as Little Petra. This is the place where the Nabateans used to entertain their guests in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC but it is believed this ancient settlement had its origins in the 11th century BC. After a short visit here we drive south to the enchanting desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan's largest desert and one of the most spectacular desert landscapes in the world. It is a unique valley of colored sand dunes surrounded by beautiful rugged mountains. We enjoy a jeep safari inside the Wadi to the meeting point for our camel trek in the desert. We ride camels through the dramatic landscape for 1-2 hours until we reach our Bedouin campsite and delight in a traditional dinner.
NOTE - At the time of booking, there is an option to upgrade to a Martian Dome Tent - additional supplement applies; subject to availability.
After an early breakfast we will do some exploring on foot in Wadi Rum for a few hours, depending on the interests of the group. In the afternoon we transfer to Aqaba (approx 1 hour) where we check into our hotel. Remainder of day at leisure. Overnight hotel.
Day at leisure in the beautiful gulf city of Aqaba, Jordan's only outlet to the sea. Those interested in scuba diving or snorkeling can enjoy the sport at one of the world's most conserved coral reefs (own expense). Alternatively there are many cafes and restaurants and some colourful market places to explore. Overnight hotel.
After breakfast we transfer to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the surface of the earth. En route we stop to visit the Christian Town of Madaba, "The City of Mosaics", best known for its beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics, including the 'Madaba Map', a 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land. From here we take a detour to visit the Monastery in Mount Nebo, a high hill overlooking the Dead Sea from where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land. We continue to the northern edge of the Dead Sea where we check into our hotel for overnight.
Today is free for relaxing and swimming in the Dead Sea with its famously buoyant, warm and salty waters. Overnight hotel.
After breakfast we drive to the Bethany region, about 10km north of the Dead Sea along the Jordan River. This is the place where John the Baptist lived and is believed to have baptised Jesus Christ. It is also thought to have been on the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mt. Nebo and hence has significant cultural importance. From here we continue to Amman for our final night in Jordan.
Trip arrangements conclude in Amman after breakfast. If you are departing Jordan today, you will be transferred to the airport. If you require additional nights in Amman or a private transfer on any other day, please ask your Reservations Consultant for details. Additional cost applies.