Jordan & Egypt Express
9 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Amman
Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan – cosmopolitan, contemporary and teeming with biblical history. Your Lonely Planet Experience begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm today, where you’ll meet your local leader and travel crew. If you do happen to arrive early, be sure to take in the sweeping views of Amman from the citadel, explore the Jordan Museum that’s home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, or take a trip out to the ruins of Jerash – an ancient walled town that remarkably recalls life 2000 years ago. After meeting up for your briefing, head out on the town, perhaps feasting on ara’yes – Jordan’s answer to a toasted sandwich, packed full of spiced meat.
Day 2 Petra
This morning, travel by minibus to Mt Nebo (approximately 1.5 hours). Mt Nebo is the place where the prophet Moses is supposedly buried and is said to have seen the 'Promised Land'. Explore this sanctuary, checking out the remarkable mosaics inside its fourth-century church. On a clear day, the views over the Dead Sea to Israel and the Palestinian Territories are spectacular. Afterwards, take a 30-minute drive to the super salty Dead Sea. Technically sitting below sea level, it’s perfect for swimming and floating in, and the mud on the sea floor is said to have healing properties – so lather up! Continue on to the crusader castle of Kerak, sitting in a commanding position on top of a cliff overlooking Kerak town and the valley below. Spend time exploring the seven-level fortress and learn the legends of 12th-century battles between Crusaders and Muslim armies. Continue on to Petra for the night (approximately 4.5 hours).
Day 3 Petra
The jewel of Jordan, the lost city of the biblical Nabateans, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – Petra is a magical hand-carved wonder. Today, you’ll have the chance to discover this sixth century BC masterpiece with your small group. Be dwarfed by the towering rock formations as you squeeze through a narrow path called the Siq until you reach the grand entrance of the iconic Treasury. Gaze up at the intricate carvings and details, and spend the afternoon exploring the site at your own pace. There’s the old Roman road, other temples and old tombs, as well as the rock-hewn amphitheatre to explore. For those feeling more adventurous, take a challenging hike up a set of stairs to the smaller but no less impressive monastery, taking approximately one hour. After arriving back at your accommodation, why not find a traditional bathhouse to rejuvenate after a day of incredible sightseeing.
Day 4 Wadi Rum
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a short drive to the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum – a rugged lunar-like landscape framed by huge sandstone mountains (approximately 2 hours). Head on a half-day jeep safari, taking you through some sublime scenery and uncovering traces of ancient civilisations seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the area, from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum are those carved by nature – natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks. Spend the night sleeping in a simple desert camp, with the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the starry night sky. Enjoy a delicious dinner cooked in an earthen oven by your desert dwelling Bedouin hosts, and soak in your truly unforgettable surroundings.
Day 5 Nuweiba
This morning, leave Wadi Rum and make tracks for Aqaba (approximately 1 hour). You’ll have some free time in Aqaba today, and have the option of day-use rooms to freshen up and store your luggage. Early in the evening, bid your Jordan local leader farewell and transfer to Aqaba port to board a comfortable air-conditioned ferry bound for Nuweiba. Depending on timing, weather conditions and delays, this journey over the Gulf of Aqaba can take between 2.5 and 5 hours, so be sure to have a good book or device with you to kill the time. On arrival, meet your Egyptian group leader and transfer to your accommodation for a well-earned rest.
The ferry can be rough at times and those who suffer from sea sickness may want to prepare themselves. The journey can take from 2.5 hours to in excess of 5 hours which means that arrival into Nuweiba can often be after midnight. Your Egyptian Tour Leader will be waiting for you regardless of delays. In rough weather, there's a chance the ferry might be cancelled altogether, in which case we'll travel overland through Israel.
Day 6 Dahab
It's a short drive to the laidback resort area of Dahab – your base for the next two nights. Dahab, meaning 'gold' in Arabic, has gone from a Bedouin fishing village to a popular tourist town, thanks to the excellent conditions for activities like diving, windsurfing and rock climbing. However, the town hasn't lost its authenticity and lowkey appeal that’s attracted visitors since the 1970s. The rest of the day is free for you to take in the many treats this spot has to offer – cafes, seafood or some snorkelling in the Red Sea. Dahab is well known for its drop-offs – spectacular coral reef shelves that plunge into the vast blue depths of the ocean below. There are also plenty of relaxed bars and restaurants to sit back and enjoy good local food and some sheesha.
Day 7 Dahab
In the morning, why not strap on a mask and head to the Blue Hole for some snorkelling at one of the best diving spots in the world. The area gets its name from a submarine sinkhole about 94 metres deep, with an arch in the coral reef down at 54 metres – a challenge that’s only open to highly experienced technical divers. Snorkellers can enjoy one of the greatest spots in the Red Sea here. Float on the surface and look down into an endless world of blue, then make your way around to ‘the Bridge’, where the visibility is always great and the untouched coral swarms with all different types of colourful fish and marine life. After you’ve had your fill of snorkelling, return to Dahab for an evening feast at a waterside restaurant, or perhaps head inland to Assalah, where local joints serve up plates of roast chicken and falafel with some cold regional beer.
Day 8 Cairo
Today you’ll be able to experience the contrast between seaside Dahab and the wonderfully chaotic, always colourful capital city of Cairo. Transfer to Sharm El Sheikh Airport and take the short flight to Cairo (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can be embodied by two of its imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Tonight, why not join your new travel mates for a celebratory dinner in the city – your local leader will know of some delicious places to eat.
Day 9 Cairo
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time following check-out. While this trip doesn't include time to explore the sights of Cairo, it’s strongly recommended that you spend a few extra days to see more of what the city has to offer. If you would like to spend more time here, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). You’ll see donkey carts alongside expensive cars, medieval slums and modern shopping malls, and the incredible Pyramids sit just outside of town. What’s not to like?
All This Included
Rock-hewn amphitheatres, desert dune bashing and reef exploring – this trip may be quick, but it packs in a lot of action. Take a nine-day Lonely Planet Experience through the best of Jordan and Egypt to discover the most epic of histories and striking of landscapes. Wander the ancient city of Petra, relax along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, and finish up among the souqs and pyramids in Cairo. As you travel this land of courageous adventurers, mighty pharaohs and biblical prophets, be greeted by the legendary hospitality of local Bedouin people at your Wadi Rum desert camp and discover the underwater worlds that lie beneath the azure waters of the Red Sea.
Hotel (7 nights)
Desert camp (1 night)
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.