Summary

Travel Style:
Destinations: Middle East
  • 12 Days From
    R 25000
  • Trip code: AXE
  • Activity: Culture, Cultural Wonders
  • Min age: 16
  • Group size: 4 - 16
Leisurely / Moderate

Explore Jordan’s archaeological highlights and crusader castles

A one-week visit to Jordan is enough to take in its world famous monuments, such as Petra and Jerash, but 12 days is ideal to truly appreciate the breathtaking desert scenery and explore less well-known historic and archaeological treasures. This itinerary includes visits to several of these sites as well as offering the opportunity to see the beautiful desert landscape of Wadi Rum and snorkel in the Red Sea, ensuring enough time to relax and unwind as well as explore.

Key information
  • 10 nights hotels and 1 night private camp
  • Travel by air-conditioned minibus and 4WD in Wadi Rum
  • Group normally 4 to 20, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

     

Activities
  • 10 nights hotels and 1 night private camp
  • Travel by air-conditioned minibus and 4WD in Wadi Rum
  • Group normally 4 to 20, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

     

Highlights

* Visit Jordan’s desert castles, home to centuries of history * Explore the ancient city of Jerash and Bethany beyond the Jordan * Float in the Dead Sea * Visit to Mt Nebo, claimed to be Moses’ burial site * Two full days in Petra, the rose-red city * See the Dead Sea Scrolls at the ancient Citadel in Amman

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
22 Mar 2019
02 Apr 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 25400
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
29 Mar 2019
09 Apr 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 25900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
05 Apr 2019
16 Apr 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 25400
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
12 Apr 2019
23 Apr 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 25900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
24 May 2019
04 Jun 2019
Guaranteed (Limited Availability)
R 25000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
06 Sep 2019
17 Sep 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 28700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
13 Sep 2019
24 Sep 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 27800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
20 Sep 2019
01 Oct 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 28700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
18 Oct 2019
29 Oct 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 29600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
25 Oct 2019
05 Nov 2019
Available
R 29600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
08 Nov 2019
19 Nov 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 25500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
14 Feb 2020
25 Feb 2020
Available
R 25900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
13 Mar 2020
24 Mar 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
20 Mar 2020
31 Mar 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
27 Mar 2020
07 Apr 2020
Guaranteed (Available)
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
03 Apr 2020
14 Apr 2020
Available
R 26800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
10 Apr 2020
21 Apr 2020
Available
R 26800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
22 May 2020
02 Jun 2020
Guaranteed (Available)
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
04 Sep 2020
15 Sep 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
11 Sep 2020
22 Sep 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
18 Sep 2020
29 Sep 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
16 Oct 2020
27 Oct 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
23 Oct 2020
03 Nov 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
06 Nov 2020
17 Nov 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
13 Nov 2020
24 Nov 2020
Available
R 26500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
04 Dec 2020
15 Dec 2020
Available
R 25900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
18 Dec 2020
29 Dec 2020
Available
R 26800

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Land Only

Start Amman.

Start Amman. *Comfortable Hotel*

Day 2

Visit the castles of the ‘Desert Loop’ East of Amman.

After breakfast we depart for a visit to Iraq El Amir. Set in the desert to the east of Amman is the much-famed Desert Loop, consisting of numerous palaces and minor forts dating back to the Omayyad period 661 AD to 750 AD. Our first stop is Qasr al- Hallabat. Originally Roman, this castle was rebuilt during the Umayyad period when it was elaborately decorated in mosaics, carved stucco and fresco paintings, thus transforming the castle into a palatial residence. There are about 150 inscriptions within the castle, mostly in Greek. The vast majority of these inscribed stones, which were reused as building material, belong to an edict issued by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius (491-518 AD). A few kilometres down the road is Hammam as-Sarakh, a bathhouse and hunting lodge. The buildings have been almost completely restored, and you can see the channels that were used for hot water and steam. One hundred kms east of Amman, the oasis town of Azraq has a large castle built from black basalt, which was Lawrence of Arabia’s headquarters during the Arab Revolt. Heading back towards Amman, the Qasr El Kharraneh and Qusayr ‘Amra are the best preserved of the desert castles, Qusair Amra is noted for its extensive fresco paintings which cover virtually all the interior walls. The paintings include themes such as hunting, dancing, musicians, bathing scenes, cupids, and personifications of history, philosophy and poetry. We drive back to the hotel in Amman. *Comfortable Hotel*

Day 3

Head North to Irbid’s archaeological museum, Umm Qais and Pella.

Today we begin early as we have a long day heading north. We visit Irbid, which hosts an interesting museum. The most remarkable artefacts are the Ain Ghazal statues dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and are dated between 7500-5500 BC. In addition the museum contains a number of artefacts from the later periods. Umm Qais, in the north of the country has fantastic views of The Sea of Galilee and was once a centre of culture and arts. As one of the cities of the Decapolis, it was a centre for arts and culture and with its amazing setting it is an enchanting place. Later we proceed to Pella, once an important city in Roman times; most of the remains actually date back to the Byzantine period. Overnight in Jerash. *Standard Hotel*

Day 4

Visit the ancient city of Jerash and Ajlun Castle.

After breakfast we visit the ancient ‘Gerasa’. In Roman times this was one of the ten wealthy, self-governing cities of the Decapolis, and was famous throughout the Roman empire for the luxury of its lifestyle. Buried for centuries under blown sand, Jerash is the only city of the Decapolis to have survived to any extent, with an outstanding forum, colonnaded main streets with the drains still intact, two theatres and a most impressive temple of Zeus. Not too far away is the only Arabic castle in Jordan, Ajloun. It is perched on a hilltop and has fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. Originally constructed in 1184 AD, it was destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries following numerous wars and earthquakes. Drive for overnight at Dead Sea. *Standard Hotel*

Day 5

After a visit to Bethany beyond the Jordan, drive down King’s Highway via Madaba, the ‘City of Mosaics’, and Mt Nebo to the Dead Sea.

We start the day by visiting Bethany beyond the Jordan, the site where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist marking the beginning of the new era of Christianity. We then take the road south from Amman along the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway, be prepared for one of the most memorable journeys in the Holy Land, passing through a number of ancient sites. The first town we visit is Madaba, ‘The City of Mosaics ‘. The city, best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of coloured stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta. Nearby is the biblical Mount Nebo where Moses was shown The Promised Land before his death and also has fantastically preserved mosaics. After a good look round we head south to the Dead Sea in time for a ‘float’ in the thick saline waters. *Standard Hotel*

Day 6

To Petra via Wadi al Mujib, Al Karak and Al Shawbak castles.

Leaving the Dead Sea behind us we drive through the deep gorge of Wadi al Mujib. This massive canyon is breathtaking and is now a huge nature reserve, covering 212sq km. We arrive at Al Karak and Al Shawbak, two castles that played an important role in the Crusades. Built in mediaeval times Al Karak is the larger of the two castles, its well-preserved fortifications towering over the town offering breathtaking views. Al Shawbak, though not as well preserved is equally as impressive. Late afternoon we drive on to Petra. Overnight Petra. *Standard Hotel*

Day 7-8

Two full days to explore Petra.

We have two full days to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site Petra. The ‘rose-red city, half as old as time’ was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burckhardt made his great discovery in 1812. Petra was founded by the Nabateans, an Arab tribe that arrived here in the sixth century BC. Building began in the third century BC and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied on the desert caravans. Two features of Petra are unique: firstly, it is a city made defensible as it is built along a series of chasms, rather than on a hilltop; and secondly, it is built directly into the rock – beautiful red and yellow sandstone carved into impressive facades which glow in the brilliant sunlight. After walking down the Siq, the narrow chasm providing the only entrance to the site, we come out directly in front of El Khazneh, the Treasury (please note that due to current Jordanian group regulations the journey to the Siq has to be taken on horseback – this is included in the entrance price. Those who prefer may walk this section but the cost of the ride cannot be refunded). Continuing to the centre of the city, we pass the houses and tombs of the rich citizens, and the amphitheatre. A long walk beyond the centre and up a series of steps brings us to El Deir, the Monastery, with its superb facade topped by a huge urn. Some of the exploration can be done on horseback. On one of the days we take a walk to the high places where few others visit. This can be quite arduous and is not recommended for those who are unsure of their fitness. However, those who do make it to the top will be rewarded with wonderful views. *Standard Hotel*

Day 9

Discover Little Petra en route to the Wadi Rum desert; 4WD excursion and overnight in a Bedouin camp.

Explore Little Petra with its well preserved ruins which are hidden away in the mountains before continuing to the Wadi Rum desert, a stretch of beautiful sand and rock desert. This is where Lawrence of Arabia and Prince Faisal assembled the Arab tribes for the attack on Aqaba in the First World War, and also where sections of the film of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ were shot. We take a four-wheel drive vehicle far into the area for an exciting desert adventure before arriving to our permanent camp and destination for the night. *Full-service Camping*

Day 10

Transfer to Aqaba for optional snorkelling over the coral reefs of the Red Sea.

Today we transfer to Aqaba and have a free day to explore and relax. Aqaba is famous for some of the most beautiful coral reefs to be found anywhere in the world, so today is the perfect oportunity to go snorkelling in the Red Sea. *Comfortable Hotel*

Day 11

Morning drive to Amman; city tour including Citadel Hill, Archaeological Museum, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Roman Theatre.

After breakfast, drive from Aqaba to Amman to explore the ancient city. Amman has served as the modern and ancient capital of Jordan. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a 1994 excavation uncovering homes and towers believed to have been built during the Stone Age, circa 7000 BC. The earliest written records refer to the city as Rabbath Ammon, the capital of the Ammonites in the 12th century BC. Later the city was named Philadelphia under the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus 283-246BC. As one of the cities of the Decapolis under King Herod in 30BC major building works were conducted. The 6000 seated Roman Theatre on the citadel is testimony of Roman architecture, although extensively restored it remains a classic example. Also on Citadel Hill, just northwest of the Temple of Hercules, is the Jordan Archaeological Museum. This small museum houses an excellent collection of antiquities ranging from prehistoric times to the 15th century; see the Dead Sea Scrolls, a copy of the Mesha Stele and four rare Iron Age sarcophagi. *Comfortable Hotel*

Day 12

End Amman.

End Amman **

Included

* All breakfasts, 1 dinner * All accommodation (see accommodation section) * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Flights from London (if booking incl. flights) * Arrival & departure transfers

Food

All breakfasts and 1 evening meal is included on this trip.

No other meals are included. Whilst staying in hotels we usually eat in local restaurants and on some occasions the leader will take those who wish, to a restaurant for a ‘mezze’ style meal. These allow fast service and a good quality of food for the group and usually cost 10-15 JOD pp. Allow about £250-300 (approx. US$320-480) to cover these meals. If you are vegetarian, please note that main meals are limited in choice; however mezze is almost always available in restaurants and is a good, filling choice for vegetarians. There is also a good choice of seafood available when at the Red Sea.

Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Map