Jordan & Egypt Express
9 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Amman
Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan, cosmopolitan and contemporary, yet steeped in biblical history. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. As there's little time spent in Amman on this itinerary, it's worth arriving a day or two early to explore the sights. If you do then the highlights are the beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash, an ancient walled town that’s remarkably recalls of life 2000 years ago; the citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman; the Jordan Museum, home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman. Either way, this evening get out on to the streets, where you’ll soon hear “Welcome to Jordan” from the locals, and maybe pick up a coffee from one of the cafés and partner it with an ara’yes – a toastie filled with spicy mincemeat.
Day 2 Petra
This morning you’ll travel by minibus to Mt Nebo (approximately 1.5 hours). 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. Then you’d better have brought your swim gear as you can wash of the dust from exploring with a dip like no other. Drive around 30 minutes to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). 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. Spend some time relaxing here and get some classic floating pictures. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties, so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Towels are available for hire. Make a stop at the impressive crusader castle of Kerak, which stands on a cliff, sheer on three sides, and commandingly overlooks Wadi Karak and the Dead Sea in the distance. You’ll have time to explore the evocative ruins – a seven level fortress, with many rooms and passaeways buried deep into the hill – and to discover the legends of the 12th-century battles between the Crusaders and the Muslim armies led by the Arab hero, Saladin. You’ll then continue on to Petra for the night (approximately 4.5 hours).
Day 3 Petra
Petra is justifiably on most people’s list of ‘must-visit’ places. It's the jewel of Jordan, the lost city of the biblical Nabateans, an impressive series of tombs and dwellings hidden behind ornate façades carved directly into the rock, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Dating back to the sixth century BC, the site was lost to Western minds until it was rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer – he dressed up like a local to sneak in and then revealed the secret to everyone. Thankfully he did though, because this isn’t something you’d want to miss out on. Squeeze through a mile long narrow path, known as the Siq, through huge towers of rock and get your first glimpse of the iconic Treasury – it’s impossible not to imagine the armies and traders who made their way down here in the ancient times. It’s amazing to think that this awesome, intricate building entrance was hand carved out of the rock. The site is surprisingly big, and you can explore the old Roman road, temples and several old tombs, as well as the rock-hewn amphitheatre. 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 (approximately 1 hour). Maybe seek out a Turkish bath for the perfect end to an incredible day.
Day 4 Wadi Rum
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a short drive (approximately 2 hours) to the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum, a rugged moonscape of huge sandstone mountains. A 4-hour jeep safari will take you 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, and traces of ancient civilisations can be 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 – the natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks. Tonight you’ll sleep in a simple desert camp, with the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. Enjoy a delicious dinner cooked in an earthen oven by your Bedouin (which means ‘Desert Dwellers’ in Arabic) hosts. Conditions are basic at the desert camp, but the hospitality of your hosts is legendary, and you'll treasure the memory of sleeping beneath the twinkling desert night sky.
Day 5 Nuweiba
This morning you’ll leave Wadi Rum and travel to Aqaba (approximately 1 hour) there will be some free time in Aqaba and day use rooms are available for your use. Early in the evening you will transfer to the Aqaba port where you’ll board a comfortable air-conditioned ferry to cross the Gulf of Aqaba and continue your journey to Egypt (approximately 2 hours). Please note that you'll be travelling on this ferry unaccompanied by a group leader. Your Jordan leader will help you board the ferry and then bid you farewell. Please see the important notes section below for further details on the ferry and the formalities of this transfer. On arrival meet your Leader and transfer to your accommodation in Nuweiba.
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 transformed from a Bedouin fishing village into a popular tourist town, thanks to the excellent conditions for activities like diving, windsurfing, and rock climbing. The town hasn't lost its authenticity; however, and it retains the lowkey appeal that attracted bohemian travellers in the 1970s. The rest of the day is free for you 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 are plenty of relaxed bars and restaurants where you can get seriously laid back and maybe puff on a sheesha pipe.
Day 7 Dahab
In the morning, pick up your mask head to the Blue Hole for some snorkelling at one of the top ten 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. Snorkelers 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 ‘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 and take advantage of the comfortably-cushioned seats at the waterside restaurants, or even head inland to Assalah, where local joints serve up dishes like roast chicken, falafel and cold local brews.
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. You’ll 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 symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Tonight, why not join your new travel mates for a celebratory dinner and reminisce over the memories made.
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. This trip doesn't include time to explore the sights of this fascinating city, and so it’s strongly recommend that you spend a few extra days in Cairo or join one of our Egypt-specific trips to discover this city of contrasts, where you can see donkey carts and expensive cars, medieval slums and modern shopping malls, and the incredible Pyramids sit just outside of town.
All This Included
There's something truly epic about this nine-day adventure through the spectacular, history-steeped landscapes of Jordan and Egypt. Wander the ancient city of Petra, relax on the Red Sea, and finish up among the souqs and pyramids in Cairo. As you tour this land of tenacious adventurers, mighty pharaohs and biblical prophets, the legendary hospitality of the area's beautiful Bedouin people will ensure you a warm welcome to desert camps and the tranquil beaches of the Red Sea.
Hotel (7 nights)
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.