Amman After My Own Heart
Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan. Stretch your legs at the awesome Mt Nebo, do the floaty thing at the Dead Sea, check out the red-rock ancient city of Petra and channel Lawrence of Arabia on a Wadi Rum desert safari. Ferry on over to Egypt, beach bum it by the Red Sea (#moses), and hit up crazy Cairo. Peace out pyramids!
The Bedouins follow an honour code that says everyone who enters their tent must be offered shelter and food for three days. Even enemies. They're basically the nicest people in the world.
** This trip no longer travels to the Sinai Peninsula please see trips notes for the new updated itinerary **
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Amman
Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
As there's very little time spent in Amman on this itinerary, it's worth arriving a day or two early to explore the sights. These are some of our recommendations:
Explore the beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash, one of the largest and best-preserved Roman cities left on the planet. These ruins were re-discovered in 1806 and continue to be one of Jordan's most amazing sites. The ancient walled town that survives today is a remarkable evocation of life 2,000 years ago.Excavation and restoration of Jerash has been ongoing since the 1920s. Recent excavations show that the area was inhabited during the Bronze Age as far back as 3200 BC. Conquered by the Romans and then the Persians, Jerash was destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century. Monuments of note in Jerash include the Corinthium column, Hadrian's Arch, a circus/hippodrome, two temples (to Zeus and Artemis), the oval Forum surrounded by a colonnade, a long colonnaded street, two theatres, baths, small temples and an almost complete circuit of city walls.
Visit the Citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman, then explore the Archaeological Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed.
Check out the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman.
- Bethany Baptism site, Amman - JOD8.00
- Citadel and National Archaeological Museum, Amman - JOD2.00
- Roman ruins, Jerash - JOD8.00
- Roman Theatre, Amman - JOD1.00
Day 2-3: Petra
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Travel by minibus to Mt Nebo (approx 1.5 hrs).
Mt Nebo is the spot where the prophet Moses is said to have seen the 'promised land' and is supposedly buried. Explore this sanctuary and view the remarkable mosaics of the 4th-century church. On a clear day, the views over the Dead Sea to Israel are spectacular.
Transfer to the Dead Sea (approx 30 mins).
A Dead Sea float is a must do of any trip to Jordan. Here at the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level) the water is seven times saltier than a normal ocean at 30% salinity - making it the second saltiest lake in the world after Lake Asal in Djibouti. This means that you are extremely buoyant and seem to float on top of the water rather than in it.The mud here is supposed to have healing properties and many visitors like to cover themselves from head to toe for a beauty mud bath. We stop at a private beach with pools and a gentle slope to the water. Towels are available for hire. Don't forget to pack your swimwear for today.
Make a stop at the crusader castle of Kerak where we have time to explore the evocative ruins and to discover the legends of the 12th-century battles between the Crusaders and the Muslim armies led by the Arab hero, Saladin (Salah ad-Din).
Continue on to Petra (approx 4.5 hrs).
Hewn out of the rose-coloured rock face, the ancient Nabataean city of Petra is one of the Middle East's most spectacular destinations, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
You have a full day to explore this stunning site. We have a morning together which starts early with the exciting walk through the narrow Siq to the Treasury. After admiring the iconic view, continue through the site along the Roman road, past impressive rock-cut tombs, temples and the amphitheatre ( entrance fee is not included ). In the afternoon you have the opportunity to explore the rest of the site at your own pace. For those with the energy, there's the challenging but highly rewarding walk up the steps to the stunning Monastery (approx 1 hr).Please note that there is a complimentary horse ride included with the entrance ticket for all travellers visiting Petra. Intrepid recommends that you don't ride the horse due to safety and insurance liability.
The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer. It was once described as 'a rose-red city half as old as time' in a sonnet by John William Burgon and UNESCO has described it as 'one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage.' In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage site. So you know you are in for an amazing experience here. It's difficult to determine exactly when the history of Petra began. Evidence suggests the Horites, probably cave-dwellers, inhabited the area, lending their traditional habits such burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves to the next wave of inhabitants - the Nabataeans.Evidence of the earliest Nabataean settlement is also sketchy. Some of the characteristics of the site appear partly Egyptian and partly Greek in style. Strangely, few inscriptions have been found at Petra making dating the civilization a real challenge for historians. We do know the Nabataean settlement doesn't go back farther than the 6th century BC.In 106 AD, Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire and the native dynasty came to an end but continued to flourish for a century after. Eventually the building of tombs ended and trade moved away from Petra, which fell into steady decline over the centuries. Over time many of the tombs' treasures were stolen by treasure hunters and their glory and whereabouts are unknown. According to Arab tradition, Petra is the location where Moses struck a rock with his staff and water came forth.
1-day pass Petra
- 2-day pass Petra - JOD55.00
- Dead Sea - JOD8.00
- Kerak Castle - JOD1.00
- Mt Nebo - JOD1.00
- Petra by night, Petra - JOD12.00
Day 4: Wadi Rum
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a short drive (approx 2 hrs) to the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum.
A 4-hour jeep safari takes us through some of the most beautiful and sublime desert scenery on the planet, a true highlight of this trip.
Wadi Rum is full of weird and beautiful lunar-like rock formations. Traces of ancient civilisations can be seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the Wadi Rum area, from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum, however, are those carved by nature - the natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks.
Sleep in a simple desert camp where you'll have the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. A mattress and blankets are provided. Please be aware that while the desert may be very hot during the day, it will still be cool at night and warm clothes and a sleeping bag is highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months. A dinner cooked in a local earthen oven is included. Western-style toilet facilities are available. Conditions are basic at our desert camp, but the company of our Bedouin hosts is warm and you'll treasure the memory of sleeping beneath the twinkling desert night sky.
- 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
Day 5-6: Red Sea Beach Camp
Board a ferry to cross the Gulf of Aqaba and continue your journey to Egypt (approx 2 hrs). Please note that you'll be travelling on this ferry unaccompanied by a group leader. You'll be met by your Egyptian leader on arrival in Nuweiba.The fast ferry can be cancelled without notice. On some trips we have to take the slow ferry which can take anywhere between 3-5hrs.
The ferry crossing can be rough on occasions and those who suffer from sea sickness may want to prepare themselves. Please note this ferry crossing sometimes experiences delays and patience is required. Due to adverse weather conditions there's a possibility the ferry will be cancelled, forcing us to stay an extra night in Aqaba. The ferry itself is modern with western-style toilets on board.
Travel by van to our Red Sea beach camp (approx 30 mins).
This is a harsh and barren land of sprawling windswept plains and rugged mountains, but it's also home to some fantastic beaches. The tiny settlement of Sawa Camp is reminiscent of its Sinai neighbours, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik, before mass tourism arrived. Thankfully Sawa Camp is still a hidden gem for our groups. Set on one of the only stretches of fine golden sand along this coast, this is a place that you'll be raving about to your friends for years to come.
Stay in simple but comfortable beach huts with the water right at our front door. The huts in our camps are made from local palm trees and have a mattress on the floor with sheets and mosquito nets provided. The toilets and showers are in a communal block.
The Red Sea coast is justifiably famous for its beautiful scenery, both above and below the water. Why not start the day with a fantastic snorkelling trip to discover this spectacular world.
There's time to make an optional scuba dive on nearby reefs.
- Red Sea scuba diving (approx for 2 dives), Nuweiba - USD75.00
- Red Sea snorkel hire (per day), Nuweiba - EGP20.00
Day 7: Dahab
Take a short drive to Dahab, where the rest of the day is free to take in the many treats the village has to offer; cafes, seafood and snorkelling in the Red Sea. Dahab is famous for its drop-offs, spectacular coral reefs that plunge vertically into the deep blue depths below.
There is also the option to visit Mt Sinai subject to local security advice and government warnings. Your trip leader can help organise this for you locally.
Mt Sinai is where Muslims, Jews and Christians collectively believe that the Ten Commandments were revealed to the prophet Moses. Whatever your beliefs, climbing to the top is sure to move you and the summit provides perfect vistas of a glorious desert sunset.
The climb up Mt Sinai is challenging and will take up to 3 hours depending on the fitness of the group
Visit the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Catherine (optional), built around the burning bush that spoke to Moses. The monastery was built over 1,400 years ago by the Roman Emperor Justinian to protect the monks and hermits residing in the area. A site of Christian pilgrimage since the 4th century, it's the oldest Christian monastery in continuous existence. The monastery is named for the martyr Saint Catherine, who lived in the 3rd century, and whose relics were found at the summit of Mt Catherine (Jebel Catherine).
'Please note that the Saint Catherine Monastery is closed to visitors on Public holidays and Sundays, and it may not always be possible to visit. Please speak with your leader about viewing the monastery on an alternative day.
- Camel ride, Mt Sinai - EGP125.00
- St. Catherine's Icon Museum, Mt Sinai - EGP25.00
- St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt Sinai - Free
Day 8-9: Cairo
Travel by private minibus to Cairo (approx 9 hrs).
Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is a fascinating mixture of modern city and ancient wonders.
As this trip doesn't include time to explore the sights of this fascinating city, we strongly recommend that you spend a few extra days in Cairo or join one of our Egypt-specific trips.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- Coptic Museum, Cairo - EGP60.00
- Egyptian Museum, Cairo - EGP75.00
- Entrance to the Giza site, Cairo - EGP80.00
- Mummies Hall at Egyptian Museum, Cairo - EGP100.00
- Pyramid of Saqqara, Cairo - EGP80.00
- Solar Boat Museum, Cairo - EGP60.00
- Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids, Cairo - EGP75.00
- The 2nd Pyramid of Khafre, Cairo - EGP40.00
- The Citadel, Cairo - EGP60.00
- The Great Pyramid of Cheops, Cairo - EGP200.00
What to know
Entrance fees are not included and are paid as you go along.
Nuts and Bolts
• Expert English-speaking local tour guides in both countries.
• Chill out at our Red Sea beach camp
• One day ticket to explore Petra.
• Jeep safari in the Wadi Rum.
• Optional ascent of Mt Sinai.
• Free time to explore Amman.
• Hydrofoil from Egypt (Nuweiba) to Jordan (Aqaba).
Summary of accommodation, transport & meals
- 5 nights Hotel
- 2 nights Beach camp
- 1 night Desert camp
International flights, arrival & departure transfers, entrance fees, visas, airport taxes, additional meals, drinks, optional sightseeing tours, insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
- Cairo - Camel ride at the Pyramids (15 mins)
Approx EGP60 pp but prices may vary locally
- Cairo - Chephren or Mycerinus Entrance Fees
Approx EGP40 pp
- Cairo - Egyptian Museum
Approx EGP75 pp entrance only
- Cairo - Egyptian Museum (Mummy Room)
Approx EGP100 pp entrance only
- Cairo - Egyptian Museum tour (entrance -transportation-guide)
Approx EGP160 (based on 4 people)
- Cairo - Great Pyramid Entrance Fee to Interior
Approx EGP200 pp
- Cairo - Memphis & Sakkara Guided Tour
Approx EGP200 pp (based on 4 people)
- Cairo - Pyramids Sound and light show entrance fees
- Cairo - Pyramids tour (entrance -transportation-guide)
Approx EGP150 (based on 4 people)
- Cairo- Memphis & Sakkara tour (entrance -transportation-guide)
Approx EGP205 (based on 4 people)
- Cairo- Pyramids and Museum tour (entrance -transportation-guide)
Approx EGP295 (based on 4 people)
- Cairo- Pyramids Sound and light show tour
Approx EGP165 (based on 4 people)
- Petra - Petra by Night
- Petra - Turkish Bath
Entrance fees are not included and are paid as you go along.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Intrepid Travel. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Gecko’s passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
*** Alternate Itinerary*** Due to the increased unrest in the Sinai area we have been liaising with our local operations team in Cairo to ensure the safety of our passengers currently travelling or due to travel on trips to Egypt. With this in mind we have decided to re-route all passengers to avoid this area
Day 1 Amman
Day 2 Wadi Rum
Day 3 -4 Petra
Day 5 Madaba
Day 6 Madaba
Day 7 Amman – Fly to Cairo
Day 8-9 Cairo
On this trip you'll have the services of two different leaders: 1) From Amman to Aqaba, you'll have a Jordanian leader. - You'll travel unescorted from Aqaba to Nuweiba on the ferry (approx 2-4 hrs). 2) From Nuweiba to Cairo, you'll have an Egyptian leader .
In the case of an on ground issue or problem, Gecko's Cairo Office can be reached on: +2 01096811067.
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
3 July 2014
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