Jordan Small Group Tour with Undiscovered Destinations


Jordan - Desert and History

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 8 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Dossier

In a region of geopolitical turmoil, Jordan is a safe and welcoming land of remarkable contrast. Dense with history, full of natural wonders and historical sites, a bridge between sea and desert, east and west and linking ancient and new civilizations. It is essentially an open air museum in almost all its entirety. On this comfortable small group tour, marvel at astonishing Roman amphitheatres, Crusader castles and Christian mosaics. Imbibe in the splendid desert isolation of Wadi Rum Protected Area and wander open mouthed amongst the pink sandstone and rock hewn antiquities of the Lost City of Petra (UNESCO). Village visits allow for opportunities to experience the legendary warmth of the Jordanian people and assist in the preparation of tasty local dishes with the Iraq Al Ameer Women’s Association. No visit to Jordan is complete without a float, rather than a dip in the ultra-saline Dead Sea set against other-worldly backdrop.  This journey through Jordan is a must for those that wish to experience an exciting combination of rich history and stunning landscapes.


Tour Rating

Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●○○ | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●●●● | Wildlife ●●○○○

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour Highlights                                                                                          

  • Explore the fascinating city of Amman, a city of contrasts where old meets new
  • Stand before some of the best preserved Roman architecture at Jerash
  • Take a walk amidst stunning scenery at the village of Dana
  • Marvel at the red-rose city of Petra (UNESCO)
  • Imbibe the incredible martian landscape of Wadi Rum (UNESCO) and stay in the desert
  • Observe exquisite mosaics at Madaba
  • Enjoy breathtaking views from the important Christian pilgrimage of Mt Nebo
  • Float in the mineral rich Dead Sea, 8 times saltier than the ocean
  • Cook traditional food with the Iraq Al Ameer Women Association

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Mixture of comfortable tourist class small scale hotels with private bathrooms
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary.
Group Size: Minimum 2 - Maximum of 12
Start Point: Amman
End Point: Amman
Transport: Minivan or Minibus depending on group size
Countries: Jordan 

Tour Itinerary notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour. Smaller groups of 5 or less will have an English speaking local tour leader who will also be the driver and then the services of local guides will be used at the various sites on tour.

Day 1 - Arrival Amman

Arrive in Amman and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to explore the city at leisure. No guided services are provided today. Overnight Hotel Larsa Hotel or similar.

Amman

A fascinating city of contrasts, Amman is a unique blend of old and new situated on seven hills between the desert and the Jordan Valley. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a 1994 excavation uncovering homes and towers believed to date from the Stone Age, circa 7000 BC. The city was named Philadelphia after the Ptolemaic ruler Philadelphia in the 3rd Century BC. After coming under the Roman vassal of King Herod in 30 AD, the city became part of the Decapolis League. During the Byzantine period, Philadelphia was the seat of a Christian bishop, and several expansive churches were built. After the Great Arab Revolt secured the state of Transjordan, Emir Abdullah bin-al Hussein made Amman the capital in 1921 and since the city has grown into a city of over 1 million inhabitants.

Day 2 – Amman – Jerash (Approx. overall driving time today is 2.5 hours)

After a breakfast tour briefing at the hotel, depart for a tour of Amman which includes the outstandingly preserved and restored Roman amphitheatre and museum as well as the Citadel. Visit the atmospheric souk before this afternoon continuing to Jerash to explore the incredible ruins of the remarkably well preserved Roman complex.  Tonight enjoy dinner hosted by a local family. Overnight Olive Branch Hotel or similar (BD)

Jerash

Considered to be one of the largest and well preserved sites of Roman architecture outside of Italy, Jerash boasts colonnaded streets, baths, theatres, plazas and arches much of which remains in exceptional condition. Within the city walls, archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age, indicating human occupation at this location for more than 5000 years. The history of Jerash is a blend of the Greco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient.

Day 3 – Jerash – Kerak – Dana Biosphere Reserve – Petra (UNESCO) (Approx. overall driving time today is 5 hours)

Today is a busy day and so we have en early breakfast. Travel the King's Highway, the world’s oldest continuously used communication route to Kerak and on arrival explore the fortress, a fine example of Crusader architecture. Continue to Dana and enjoy a short and easy but picturesque hike above Dana village, walking amongst terraced gardens and local craft workshops, meeting local residents, observing Ottoman architecture and learning about Dana’s rich history. We will have a picnic lunch today in this beautiful environment. Later we continue to Petra in anticipation of experiencing one of the new Seven Wonders of the World tomorrow. Overnight Petra Guesthouse or similar (BL)

Note – The walk is around 1 hour and is of an easy grade through picturesque gardens of Pomegranate and Olive trees. 

Kerak

Kerak lies on the ancient caravan routes that used to connect Egypt to Syria and its' commanding position almost 1000 meters above the Dead Sea Valley made it a strategic asset of great importance. The city was the ancient capital of Moab and was also used by the Greeks and Romans. Kerak reached its full splendour in the 12th century with the arrival of the Crusaders. The major attraction at Kerak is the magnificent Crusader fortress of Kerak, which made Kerak the new capital of the province; superbly situated on the King's Highway where it could control all traffic from the north and the south and grow rich by the imposition of road-tolls. This castle soars above its' valleys and hills like a great ship riding waves of rock; an excellent example of the Crusaders' architectural military genius. 

Dana Biosphere Reserve 

Jordan’s most impressive Eco-project, ranges in elevation from sandstone cliffs of over 1500 metres to the Wadi Arabi desert at 50 metres below sea level. It is home to many species of plants and animals, the park is the perfect place to go hiking or just to relax. 

Day 4 – Petra (UNESCO)

Spend a full day of exploration at the incredible and wondrous site of Petra. The feeling of winding through the atmospheric ‘Siq’ to then be faced with the stunning 40 metre façade of the iconic Treasury is likely to live long in the memory. During the day you will have ample opportunity to explore the site. Continue through the Red Rose City passing by the Nabataean Theater, and other fascinating tombs, until you reach the central zone next to the Museum. For those that wish there will then be the opportunity to continue through the site at their own leisure ascending a nearly 800 step path (approx. 1 hour walking time and largely all uphill) from the basin to reaching the exquisite Monastery “El Deir”, a quite astonishing building carved out of rock, arguably one of the most iconic monuments of the whole site.  A few steps from the monastery there is also an amazing view of Wadi Araba. At the end of your visit, make your own way back to the entrance. For those that do not wish to spend all day in the site then your time will be at leisure. Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed! Overnight Petra Guesthouse or similar (B)

Note - Good footwear is required at Petra. The walk from the entrance to the main site is a gradual downhill stroll meaning that on return it is all gradually uphill. Please ensure during hotter months you are adequately hydrated and are wearing suitable clothing to protect from the strong sun. Only people with a good fitness level should attempt the steep ascent to 'El Deir'

Petra (UNESCO)

Designated a World Heritage Site since 1985, Petra is one of the world's greatest historical sites and one of the world's seven New Wonders - an ancient rock city that was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. Built around 2,300 years ago, the imposing rose-stone palaces are an impressive testament to the power and influence of the Nabateans who controlled trade around the area in the 3rd century BC. Petra is surrounded by hills in which tombs have been carved into the pink sandstone. The site includes some 800 structures. Petra is sometimes referred to as the ‘Lost City’ as after the 14th Century it was completely lost to the western world. It was rediscovered in 1812 by the Swiss traveller, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who tricked his way into the fiercely guarded site by pretending to be an Arab from India wishing to make a sacrifice at the tomb of Prophet Aaron.  

Day 5 – Petra – Wadi Rum Protected Area (Approx. overall driving time today is 2 hours not including Wadi Rum jeep tour)

We start the day with a short visit to nearby Little Petra before travelling to the timeless desert space that is Wadi Rum, also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’. The beauty of this place is breathtaking, natural sunlight offering an every changing kaleidoscope of colour against the remarkable rock formations. On arrival we will meet a local Bedouin native and enjoy the local hospitality over some tea. Later soak up the desert by way of a 4WD jeep tour where we can take in some of the astonishing natural vistas of the protected area, culminating in what hopefully will be an unforgettable sunset. Overnight Captains Camp or similar (BLD)

Note – The Wadi Rum camp in this magnificent desert wilderness comprises of Bedouin style tents which are furnished and comfortable inside but basic. It is possible to have your own tent if you are paying the single supplement but bathrooms facilities are in a separate unit and are shared.

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south-west Jordan. It has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times and is dotted with massive rock formations. It is virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as “vast, echoing and god-like”. Much of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia was filmed in Wadi Rum. 

Day 6 – Wadi Rum – Madaba – Mount Nebo – Amman (Approx. overall driving time today is 5 hours)

Travel this morning from Wadi Rum to Madaba and visit the Church of St. George in the middle of town. The church is the home of the Mosaic Map of Palestine, which represents the Holy Land and its surrounding regions. Take a walking tour of the market town to discover these rarely visited works of art. From here, drive to Mount Nebo (the spot from where Moses is believed to have been shown the Promised Land just before his death). Continue to Amman. Overnight Larsa Hotel or similar (B)

Madaba

Located 30 kilometres southwest of Amman, Madaba is most famous for its exquisite 6th-century mosaics. Its history dates back at least 3500 years, however Madaba, which was known in the Bible as the Moabite town of Madaba, is mentioned in the Old Testament account of Moses in Exodus (Numbers 21: 30). The most well-known mosaic lies on the floor of St George’s Church, depicting a map. However, the city is home to a number of tiled art displays, which many believe are even more complete and vibrantly colourful than the latter. 

Day 7 – Amman – Dead Sea – Iraq Al Ameer Cooking Experience – Amman (Approximate driving time today 2 hours)

After a leisurely breakfast, continue to the Iraq Al Ameer Women's Association situated in a picturesque valley outside Amman. Take part in the  preparation of a traditional dish which you will then enjoy for lunch. The women are also skilled in paper making and ceramics which you will have the opportunity to view. After lunch we visit Bethany the Baptism site and then plummet into the area known as Al Aghwar reaching the lowest point on earth at around 410 metres below sea level. Take the opportunity to float in the exceptionally salty water in this most dramatic of barren landscapes.  If time allows we may also stop to enjoy the views into Wadi Mujib canyon.  Later,  return to Amman where any remaining time will be at leisure.  Overnight Larsa Hotel or similar (BL)                        

Dead Sea

Without a doubt one of the world’s most amazing places, the Jordan Rift Valley is a dramatic, beautiful landscape which, at the Dead Sea, is over 400 metres (1,312 ft.) below sea level. The lowest point on the face of the earth, this vast stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine (The Dead Sea is thought to contain curative properties) with some of its finest products. The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela). 

Day 8 – Depart

The final day is at leisure until your airport transfer. If you flight is late evening, do let us know if you require any further additional guided services. (B)

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as per the itinerary or similar
Land transportation in minibus/minivan or similar vehicle 
Services of an English-speaking guide/tour leader - note smaller group sizes have driver and local guides 
Meals as listed (B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner)
Jordan Pass (includes all entrance fees and also waives visa on arrival fee)

Excluded:
International flights
Travel Insurance
Items of a personal nature
Drinks
Tips (discretionary)