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 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. 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 2,000 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 6th 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.
Notes: One day's entrance fee to Petra is included. Please note that when entering Petra as a group, a complimentary horse ride is included in the ticket price from the entrance point down to the Siq. Intrepid doesn't recommend that you take this option due to the safety and insurance liability involved.
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.
Notes: A mattress and blankets are provided. Please be aware that while the desert may be very hot during the day, it will still be cool at night and warm clothes and a sleeping bag are highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months. Western-style toilet facilities are available.
Day 5 - Red Sea Beach Camp
This morning you’ll leave Wadi Rum and travel to Aqaba (approximately 1 hour) where you’ll board a 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.
You’ll be met by your Egyptian leader on arrival in Nuweiba, then travel by van to your Red Sea beach camp (approximately 30 minutes). This is a harsh and barren land of sprawling windswept plains and rugged mountains, but it's also home to some fantastic beaches. It’s like its Sinai neighbours, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik, before mass tourism arrived. Thankfully, the camp is still a hidden gem for Intrepid groups. It's set on one of the few beautiful stretches of fine golden sand found along this coast, and is a place that you'll be raving about to your friends for years to come. You’ll stay in a simple but comfortable beach hut located right in front of the water. These huts are made from local palm trees and have two single beds, electricity, linen and mosquito nets (the toilets and showers are in a communal block). s.
Notes: The ferry crossing can be rough on occasions and those who suffer from sea sickness may want to prepare themselves. This ferry crossing is frequently delayed and patience is required.
The fast ferry can sometimes be cancelled without notice. We may be required to take the slow ferry instead (which can take up to 5 hours and may result in arriving at Nuweiba after midnight).
In rough weather, there's a chance the ferry might be cancelled altogether, in which case we'll stay an extra night in Egypt or Jordan. The ferry itself is modern and has western-style toilets on board but these are not maintained once the ferry begins.
The only alternative to taking the ferry is flying over the Red Sea and not including Dahab in the itinerary at all. We've made the decision to continue to run this itinerary but we strongly recommend you consider if this trip is right for you. Other Egypt and Jordan itineraries can easily be purchased together and linked with a domestic flight. Check out 'Egypt Express' (XESB - Basix standard), and 'Explore Jordan' (EESJ - Original standard). Alternatively there are our comfort itineraries: 'Egypt Experience' (XEKI), and 'Jordan Discovery' (ELKD).
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, transferred to your hotel for your last 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. 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. Tonight why not join your new travel mates for a celebratory dinner as this Egypt Express adventure comes to an end.
Day 9 - Cairo
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money