Real Egypt & Jordan
15 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Restricted to Ages 18-29
Day 1 Cairo
Welcome to Cairo! You will meet with your trip leader and the rest of your group at 6 pm this evening. Check for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception for the location. If you're going to be late, just let the hotel know. If you arrive early enough, go immerse yourself in the madness: grab a pair of authentic Roy Bands sunnies from the bazaar, embrace the kitsch world of Dr Ragab's Pharaonic Village, then share a sahlab (sweet, hot custard drink with nuts) and p'raps a sheesha pipe with your new travel buddies.
Day 2 Cairo – Pyramids – Sphinx
Today you'll take a trip to the Egyptian Museum to see the golden mask of none other than King Tutankhamun. Drive out to the edge of the desert and explore the pyramids and the nearby Sphinx (nobody's quite sure how it lost its nose). Later, with free time, there are plenty of further options, like visiting the Valley Temple of King Khafre (Chephren). In the evening, it's time for your sleeper train to Aswan (Sleeper Train to Aswan sounds a bit like the title of an adventure novel, doesn't it? Just you wait).
Day 3 Aswan
Enjoy some breakfast, then put on your haggling hat (or just a regular hat, we don't mind) for a trip to the bazaar. Grab useful stuff like books, cotton tops and sunhats for your upcoming Nile cruise. Splurge on fun stuff like perfume oil, leather bags and jewellery just for the heck of it.
Day 4 Aswan
Today is yours to spend as you please in Aswan. The optional drive to Abu Simbel is well worth it, because this is one of the coolest temples on earth, cut out of a solid rock cliff. A real winner, as far as sightseeing in Egypt goes (and that is obviously saying a lot). Renting a minivan with your fellow travellers is the way to go. It'll be an early start (around 5-6 am), and it takes about three hours to get there, and another three to get back. If you'd rather save time and fly there, that's possible too.
Day 5 Nile Felucca
All aboard! Time to sail the Nile in a felucca. This pretty awesome boat will be your home tonight, and all three meals are included today. You'll visit the Temple of Sobek, a classic, ruined (you might even say classically ruined) Greco-Roman temple. Continue sailing towards Edfu and take in some timeless scenes of life on the Nile. Your Instagram account should be going off like a frog in a sandstorm by now. Stop in at Edfu to explore the awesomely preserved Temple of Horus (Horus being the falcon-headed God).
Day 6 Luxor
The world is your oyster today. And Luxor is one beautiful and interesting world to be in. Enjoy free time – you might want to take a horse-drawn carriage to the massive temple complex at Karnak (one of the most impressive temple complexes in the world, for sure). Some of it dates as far back as 2055 BC, if that gives you some idea of what you're dealing with.
Day 7 Luxor - Valley of the Kings
Today you'll ride a donkey. But you won't just ride it anywhere. You and your new furry friend will venture to the legendary Valley of the Kings, where the tombs of Egyptian royalty are many. You will visit three of them. Be nice to your donkey and it'll be a nice, peaceful sunrise stroll past fields of alfalfa. Upset him and you’ll be sore for days. In the evening you'll catch an overnight train back to Cairo.
Day 8 Cairo
Time for one last walk around Cairo. Head south from Bab al-Futuh (one of the medieval north gates), past the old Islamic monuments that stand watch over the bazaars. Wipe the dust from your brow and say goodbye to this frenetic place. Just go ahead and try not to shed a tear in front of your new travelling buddies.
Day 9 Amman
Farewell Pharaohs with a flight from Egypt to Jordan. Touch down in main town – Amman. When you get here you'll meet your brand new leader and any fellow travellers joining the trip here in Jordan at a 6 pm welcome meeting tonight. Make sure you’ve got all your important docs and deets on you. You've got some time to wander around - you don’t know the meaning of ‘bustling labyrinth’ until you walk around the Jordanian capital. If it all gets too cray, duck into a cafe for a sweet mint tea. Make a beeline for Rainbow Street for a falafel and a sheesha. It's what the locals would want. Something more substantial? Maybe head to the Old Town’s Roman Amphitheatre, have a cultured afternoon at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, snap some pics of the city from the hilltop Temple of Hercules, or sweat it out in a Turkish bath house. Afterwards, rendezvous with your new Intrepid crew for a team catch-up. It may or may not be at the local pub.
Day 10 Wadi Rum
It's a four-hour drive today from Amman to Wadi Rum, but we'll be making some snack stops along the way, so all good (but we recommend stocking up on a few snacks too). In Wadi Rum you'll be meeting your Bedouin hosts, who'll show you around camp and offer you many rounds of mint tea. Then we'll all hop in jeeps, which aren't the Bedouins' traditional modes of transport, but are far less stinky than camels, and trundle off into the desert on a driving safari. Wadi Rum's favourite son, Lawrence of Arabia, called Wadi Rum 'vast, echoing and God-like'. Ridley Scott, who shot Prometheus there, called it 'the best view I've ever seen of what could be Mars'. You'll see where Lawrence of Arabia had a wash in what's now known as Lawrence's Spring, and the crumbled ruins of a house he supposedly used to snooze in. You'll also visit the desert's largest sand dunes and a naturally-formed rock bridge that looks like it should have collapsed years ago. This evening you'll be dining on traditional Bedouin cuisine, sleeping in Bedouin-style tents and gazing up at some traditional Bedouin skies.
Day 11 Petra
If you're someone who hates amazing sunrises, by all means sleep in this morning. If you're not, then we highly recommend that you don't: Wadi Rum rarely looks as fine as she does early morning. Once you're awake and breakfasted, it's time to say bye to your Bedouin friends and journey on to Petra (about a two-hour drive). According to the legend of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, inside Petra's Treasury building is where the Holy Grail was discovered. Today you'll get to follow in Indy's footsteps on a guided tour that'll take you through the site's narrow siq (a narrow crack in the mountain) to Petra's tombs, temples and rock-hewn amphitheatre. You'll find no marauding Nazi's here, though (or goblet containing eternal youth, for that matter). For those wanting to admire the 'rose-red city' from a different angle, there's also the option of continuing up a cliff-top path for elevated views. At the end of a long day's tomb exploring you're probably feeling a bit grubby (and if you aren't, probably should be). Nothing a good scrub in the Turkish Bath at tonight's hotel won't be able to right.
Day 12 Petra
Today is yours to explore Petra how you wanna. Options include: walking up the road to Al Khanzneh (The Treasury – one of the most stunning temples of the whole site); clambering up the stairs to El Deir (The Monastery); travelling out to the royal tombs, or visiting some pretty impressive Byzantine mosaics. One other option is trying to locate the cafe run by Marguerite van Geldermalsen, a Kiwi woman who's been living in Petra with a local Bedouin for the past 30 years. A little less adventurous perhaps this last option is, but still a quest of sorts.
Day 13 Petra - Amman
We said something about crusades and Crusaders earlier right? Well they built Shobak Castle atop a grassy knoll and thought it would last forever, but Saladin's Arab army knocked it over after an 18-month siege. You’ll drive a short way from Petra to get here, and the castle makes an impressive sight as you approach. Poke around the site and discover a small chapel, original gatehouse, and find out where a long, dark secret passage leads. Kick on half an hour to the ancient village at Dana, where at the craft centre you can (you guessed it) pick up some crafts, like silver jewellery and charms. Drive on to Madaba (approximately 3 hours), home to Byzantine mosaics way better than anything you ever made in art class. Visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St George and check out a sixth-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Then it’s on to Amman and head out on the town at night.
Day 14 Amman
Drive back in time (approximately 1 hour) to Jerash, once a thriving ancient Roman city, and now some of the best-preserved ruins this side of Italy. Do your best Biggus Dickus impersonation (Monty Python, anyone?) in Jerash's main street, check out the columns of the Oval Plaza and the tiered seating of the South Theatre, and imagine the chariot race from Gladiator in the hippodrome. In the afternoon, there's the option of driving for a bit over an hour for a dip in the Dead Sea. This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Here you can get that photo of you reading a paper while floating in the water – just like the ten billion visitors before you. Afterwards you will return to Amman for the evening (approximately 1 hour). Maybe spend your final night at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman, or ask your leader where locals spend their evenings.
Day 15 Amman
The tour ends in Amman after breakfast. You can (and probably should) kick around in Amman for longer if you want. There's heaps more to do, just ask your tour leader for pointers.
All This Included
From the Land of the Pharos to the land of the nomads, take a trip you'll never forget through Egypt and Jordan. Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones, Tutankhamen. These destinations attract the big names, and deservedly so. Cruise the Nile, haggle the Nubian Bazaar, see the Valley of the Kings, get lost in Petra and eat your weight in tabbouleh.
Overnight train (2 nights)
Hotel (10 nights)
Felucca (1 night)
Desert Camp (1 night)
Terms and Conditions
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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.