With its variety of landscape, wealth of historical sites and welcoming climate (outside of the hot summer months), discover Jordan is a great place for a multi-activity holiday. This week-long adventure begins with a visit to the amazingly well-preserved Roman ruins at Jerash, just north of the capital city of Amman, before traversing the Jordan Valley to take a dip in the ever-so-salty Dead Sea. Next up, we tackle a full day of canyoning in Wadi Mukheries, dropping through a sandstone gorge via small waterfalls and hidden caves, with a final 20 metre abseil. An easy day of cycling then takes us south on country roads between farming villages, with a lunch stop as guests of a family in Mukawir. After hiking into the amazing rose-red city of Petra via its 'back door', we travel on to Wadi Rum, where we have a camel ride and an exciting scramble up to the Burdah Bridge, a natural rock arch high above the desert sands. This active adventure holiday offers you the chance to get your kicks in discovering Jordan journey with us..!
This is not a long or sustained trekking holiday. It is a series of day-hikes, rides and other activities. You do need to be fit and active to take part. During the hikes we will walk for around 4 to 6 hours and on the approach to the Burdah Bridge in Wadi Rum, there will be some straightfoward scrambling on rock. For the canyoning, no previous experience of this activity is required, but a spirit of adventure is an essential. The biking is very straightforward on hard surfaced roads which are very quiet. At the time of year that you will be visiting Jordan (October through to May) it will not be extremely hot during the day. However, we might encounter day-time temperatures as high as 30 degrees centigrade and sun protection and adequate hydration are important considerations.
Rendezvous at the group hotel in Amman. Two group transfers will be arranged from Amman Airport to the hotel in Madaba. These transfers will meet the arrival of the Royal Jordanian and British Airways flights from the UK and will normally depart from the airport at around 2300 hours on Day 1 of the trip itinerary and 0100 hours of Day 2 of the trip itinerary. Our representative will accompany the group on the 45 minute journey to the hotel. Our services begin with the overnight at the group hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel and a briefing from our guide, we will drive north to Jerash. Dating back to the 3rd century BC, this largely Roman city is one of the biggest and best-preserved outside of Italy. Its colonnaded streets, baths, theatres, plazas and arches remain in exceptional condition and we will have plenty of time to look around the site with our guide. After our visit, we will head south through the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea, which at 400 metres below sea-level, is the lowest spot on earth. Those who wish can take the opportunity to experience the unique floating experience that this very salty, 75 kilometre-long sea offers. From here, we drive up and out of the valley to our next overnight stop at a hotel in Madaba. En route, we stop at Mount Nebo (known as Pisgah in the Bible) which is the place from which the Bible says Moses viewed the Promised Land. There is indeed a fantastic view towards the west, with a vista that includes the Dead Sea, the West Bank, the Jordan River and (on a clear day) Bethlehem and Jerusalem. After checking in at our Madaba hotel, we go out to one of the town's restaurants for dinner.
We make an early start and drive down to the top of Wadi Mukheries, which is one of a number of rugged, steep-sided valleys that drop down to the Dead Sea. This one holds water year-round and our route follows a stream throughout. This is classic gorge exploration, involving a series of small waterfalls (3 to 7 meters high), with boulders to negotiate and pools through which we have to wade. The depths of the wadi hide secret pockets of vegetation and there is also a magical cave with stalactites of amazing shapes. The route is 12 kilometres long and will take us 6 to 7 hours to complete, including our stop for a picnic lunch. At the lower end of the gorge is a spectacular 20 metre waterfall, which we will pass by abseiling. A stop beside the plunge pool here gives us the chance for a swim and for a natural full-body massage.
Remember to take a second pair of lightweight boots or trainers for this day, as they will get wet and may not dry in time for tomorrow's activities. We finally reach the trail head on the Dead Sea road, where we meet our vehicles and drive back to spend a second night at the hotel in Madaba.
A 10 minute transfer takes us to the start of our approximately 42 kilometre cycling route. After being kitted out with our bikes, we ride south on the King's Highway. The King's Highway twists and winds its way through the heart of this discover Jordan journey, connecting Madaba, Karak, Tafileh, Shobak and Petra. It is the world's oldest continuously used communication route and is mentioned in the Bible. Although it is called a highway, it is just a local road with low traffic and we ride only a few kilometers on it, heading south, before turning off onto even smaller and quieter roads and tracks. Leaving the King's Highway behind, we ride west on a hilly road through the villages of Bani Hamida. We reach the low hill on which stands the remains of King Herod's ancient fortress of Machaerus, where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. Hiking to the top of the hill, there is a wonderful panorama out across the Dead Sea. We then head to the nearby village of Mukawir, where our lunch is provided by a local family. Another chance for some local interaction and part of our responsible tourism effort to support the local communities at the places we visit. After lunch, we drive to Wadi Musa, the gateway to Petra and check in at a hotel.
We will start the day early with a short visit to Little Petra, then start hiking the ‘back trail' towards Petra, passing by the Monastery and taking the stone-carved stairway (around 800 steps) down into the heart of Petra. The back trail takes us across a mountain ridge that provides spectacular views of Wadi Araba. After a lunch break at one of the cafes in Petra, we will continue our exploration of the rest of Petra's most important sites, including the Theatre, the Court and the Treasury. Finally, we will walk out through the kilometre-long cleft of the ‘siq' to the Visitor Center in Wadi Musa. We spend a second night in our Wadi Musa hotel.
After an easy morning, a 90-minute drive takes us across the desert and towards the collection of sandstone mountains or ‘jebels' that define the marvelous Wadi Rum region. The scenery becomes more majestic as we turn into the ‘valley' of Rum Village. Passing the ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom' formation on our left, we arrive at the village, where we meet our Bedouin hosts. As a slow-paced introduction to the desert experience, we will have a camel ride via ‘Lawrence's Well' and into the Al Khazaali Canyon. Walking into this magnificent canyon will reveal some ancient rock inscriptions. We then continue by 4WD vehicles to our traditional Bedouin campsite, leaving us plenty of time to settle down, relax and enjoy the sunset. Dinner tonight is a feast known as a 'zarb' - a traditional Bedouin dish of meat and vegetables cooked underneath the desert's sand. We spend the rest of the night around the camp fire, exchanging banter with our Bedouin hosts and learning something about their culture. Overnight at a traditional Bedouin camp, with its central, black goats-wool tent.
Breakfast will usually be under way by 7 am and this consists of bread, sometimes heated on the fire, a choice of jams, cheese and halva, as well as eggs, either served as an omelette or hard boiled. After breakfast, we will board our vehicles for the short drive to Jebel Burdah, which leads through Khor Al Ajram, a wide valley with magnificent cliffs and high sand dunes.
On the way to Jebel Burdah, we pass a particularly fine and very old rock inscription which shows a camel caravan. This morning's objective is the Burdah Bridge, a well-known landmark which is reached by way of relatively easy scrambling across open rock slabs. Our guide will show us the best route through a maze of blind alleys and dead ends. There are some steeper sections and you will need to use your hands at times. A jumble of rocks leads to a small plateau, through a valley and then over a steep slab. From here, we turn a corner into a hidden gulley that provides us with a wonderful view of the bridge above. Obligatory photo stop. We then climb a short, steeper wall and here the guide will use a climbing rope to safeguard our passage. Above, we will cross the dramatic Burdah Bridge - another fantastic photo opportunity. There are magnificent views from here, extending over the whole area of Wadi Rum. Back on the desert floor after a 3-hour round-trip, we meet our vehicles and have lunch in the shade.
After a siesta, we will drive across to the biggest sand dune in the area, for an opportunity to take-off our shoes and run up and down its soft sand. Sounds childish, but lots of fun! Returning to Rum village, we say goodbye to our Bedouin hosts and set off on the 3-hour drive north to Amman, where we check in at our hotel.
Our services end with a single morning transfer to Amman Airport. For those on an evening flight out of Amman, there is time for a leisurely breakfast and to do some sightseeing. High above the city, the Citadel (site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon) is a good place to start, whilst the Roman Theatre, dating from the 2nd century AD and built to accommodate 5000 spectators, is also pretty impressive. At the heart of downtown Amman, the colourful souk is also worth a visit. If you would like to extend your visit in Jordan to spend a couple days at the Red Sea in Aqaba for example, please contact our team of adventure travel consultants.
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