This excellent Dana to Petra trek in Jordan takes us from the Dana Reserve, southwards to the ancient 'Rose-Red City' of Petra. This trek is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the finest in the Middle East. Six days of trekking takes us through the most rugged country in Jordan, straddling the edge of the great Rift Valley. Starting out from Wadi Feinan in the Dana Nature Reserve, this exploratory Dana to petra trek takes us on hunters' trails through deep gorges and across high ridges, climbing gradually from around 300 metres at Feinan to around 1100 metres at the high viewpoint above Petra. Nights will be spent camping Bedouin-style with the local guide and crew. Crossing a final escarpment, we reach the spectacular ‘Monastery', which heralds our arrival at Petra - recently voted for inclusion amongst the world's ‘New 7 Wonders'. This great adventure follows in the footsteps of many explorers and is a magical week of discovery, walking and above all, Jordanian hospitality.
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On this holiday we will be trekking through a desert world that has been crossed by nomadic people and their livestock for generations. Nowadays, the area is just about accessible by 4WD vehicles and there are rough ‘roads' to the various camping places that we will use. We will be trekking on scant trails, however, far away from the route taken by our support vehicle. The underfoot conditions will include dry wadis, open sandy desert and rocky desert known as ‘hamada'. There are also sections of narrow trail across rocky terrain including some easy scrambling. The tracks and trails we use are generally not difficult. We will walk for an average of 5 to 6 hours on each of days 2 to 6, covering as much as 15 kilometres each day and with a reasonable amount of ascent and descent. This is a relatively short trekking holiday and at low elevation.
Meet at the group hotel. A single group transfer from Amman Airport to the group hotel in Madaba or Amman is provided. This transfer is normally in the late evening and a representative of our local agent will accompany the group on the 30 minute journey to the hotel.
We will make an early start for the drive southwards to the Dana Nature Reserve. Here, we meet our trek crew and trekking guide set off on a first day’s walk which will take 6 hours including a stop for lunch. The walk from Dana to Feinan is essentially downhill with the initial 800 metre descent taking place in the first hour of the walk. After this, the route levels out and we can enjoy a far more gentle walk through a wide open valley flanked by the Dana Mountains. Arriving in Wadi Feinan, we set up our first camp of the trip.
This is another 6-hour walking day, which will take us across classic ‘hamada’ landscape – dry, rock-strewn desert, with little sand. The route from Dana to Petra is quite level and there are spectacular views of the high mountain ranges to the east and the expansive Wadi Araba Desert stretching out to the west. Although the terrain is essentially flat, there are several small wadis (dry valleys), that must be crossed throughout the day. We pass both Byzantine and Nabatean ruins during the course of today’s walk and our local guide will point these out. We set up camp for the night in Wadi Barwas.
Leaving the stony ‘hamada’ desert behind, there is a steep ascent across rocks and small boulders which eventually leads to a twisting goat herder’s track. The initial uphill section takes approximately 3 hours. The track leads up into the mountains through a narrow and dramatic valley with wonderful views eastwards towards the Wadi Araba Desert. This is a steep and challenging section of the route, but extremely rewarding, as we finally reach the top of a high saddle. The descent to the river valley beyond is on a well–defined trail through rocky surroundings. There are views ahead of the next day’s route. On reaching the dry river bed, we turn upstream for half an hour to our camp at Ras el Feid.
We retrace our route along the riverbed, before turning off on a Bedouin trail that traverses a rocky valley side, gradually ascending by way of dry wadis and indistinct cols. This part of the path is particularly challenging, becoming less well-defined, with some easy scrambling to overcome the largest obstacles. This section lasts approximately 2 hours and eventually descends to a riverbed with perennial water. Look out for the elusive ibex in this remote area. The trail continues along the wadi floor and gently climbs up into the pale coloured sandstone mountains of the Petra region. The climb from the valley to the escarpment (where Petra is situated) is gentle and beautiful with a slight uphill climb towards the end across bare rock slabs. We camp at the col of Shkaret Msei’d.
Leaving the campsite at Shkaret Msei’d the scenery changes dramatically. We leave the narrow, confining wadis behind and find ourselves amongst wide-open sandstone hills that have something of the feel of a moonscape. The rock is smooth and soft and despite there being no apparent trail the terrain is easy to negotiate, with wide tracks and walkways. The Nabatean influence is apparent here and the first cut steps can be seen. The trail passes through Bedouin encampments, before reaching another rocky area where the track once again becomes indistinct, with interesting route-finding and easy scrambling. We descend into Little Petra using a little used route. The splendor of Little Petra provides an insight into what lies ahead at the main Petra site. From the main entrance of Little Petra, we make our way towards Beidha with evidence of modern human settlement in the form of jeep tracks.
We will say goodbye to our local trekking guide and crew this morning and we continue with our guide. The walk from here to Petra will take between 2 and 3 hours, with the initial walk across open farmland. The route then follows a well–defined mountain track with fantastic views across to the Araba Desert, some 100 km / 60 miles away. The views are impressive and with the exception of one short (2 metre) section a head for heights is not necessary. The walk into Petra is magnificent and is the culmination of 5 days of hard walking. The initial glimpse of the top of the Monastery, as it comes into view through the mountains, has a similar effect of the first glimpse of the Treasury from the Siq. We will then trek down from the Monastery and exit Petra by the secondary Siq before re-entering the site through the main Siq so you get to see the most famous view of Petra as though you are entering for the first time. After our sightseeing visit to Petra, we overnight at a hotel in nearby Wadi Musa.
After an early breakfast, we transfer by private vehicle (3hrs) to Amman International Airport. UFO Land Only package services end on arrival at the airport. However, if you would like to extend your visit in Jordan to visit the Red Sea, the Dead Sea or Jerash, please contact our team of adventure travel consultants.
Feel free to contact us about Dana to Petra Trek at firstname.lastname@example.org