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A Middle Eastern cultural adventure where East meets West on the ancient spice trading route, combining Jordan's rolling landscapes with bold flavours. Relax in the Wadi Rum desert at a Bedouin camp under the stars, complete with a traditional Zarb dinner. After coffee tasting and relaxing by the unique Dead Sea, sample traditional aniseed based liqueur in the bustling city of Amman.
Explore Tour Leader
5 nights premium hotel
1 nights premium tented camp
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Amman, the capital of Jordan, which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Now home to almost half of the country's population, it is a fascinating city of contrasts, where the very ancient and the brand new collide.
There are no planned activities for today, so you can arrive into Amman at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), which is around 30 minutes' drive. Due to a majority of flights arriving in the late evening, your leader will meet you for the welcome meeting on the morning of day two. This evening you will find information including meeting times on our hotel notice near reception.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may wish to explore the streets and souks of downtown Amman independently or visit Shawarma Reem on Jabal Amman Second Circle for the best street snack in town. Shawarma is much like a kebab, traditionally made with spiced lamb and cooked vertically on a rotisserie, served with a salad garnish in a wrap. Shawarma Reem is arguably the best in Jordan and usually has a line out the door, it's worth queuing for.
Corp Hotel (or similar)
This morning we travel north to the fertile area of Ajloun. Here we find ancient olive groves littered between quiet local villages. We will walk for around an hour about five kilometres in the olive groves before a visit to the Soap House to learn how they make olive oil soap by hand incorporating traditional herbs and oils. From here we go to the Biscuit House and see first hand how some of the sweet treats are made, it will depend on the day what they are making as to what you will see but it could be Knafeh, Halva or Baklava among others. Sweet food plays an important part of the Jordanian cuisine and used in many celebrations including Eid, the festival to celebrate ending the fast after Ramadan. We will of course try some of the delicious, sweet baked goods produced by the biscuit house washed down with a glass on mint tea.
Next stop is a traditional rest-house where local women make dishes typical to the area, such as Makmoura, which is made up of chicken or meat that is roasted in a pot and served on bread with plenty of olive oil. If it is the season (typically mid-October and mid-November), take part in the olive harvest by helping the locals pick olives. After lunch in the local rest house we meet with the local Christian community preparing wine to learn how local wine is produced. Wine production dates back to the Nabateans and recent excavations of Petra have unearthed 82 wine presses. It is also said that the wine Jesus was served at the Last Supper came from this region. After being shown the wine production process we will have the chance to sample the end product.
Next we drive back to Amman, a journey of around one and a half hours. We will be there in time to take an early evening walking tour of Amman Souk. Our Tour Leader will interact with stall holders and help explain all the different herbs, spices and preserves that make up the everyday ingredients in Jordanian cuisine.
This morning we leave the capital behind and head south on the King's Highway to Dana Nature Reserve, a journey of around two and a half hours. Here we are met by a ranger and take a walk for around two hours, approximately four kilometres in the Reserve learning about the local fauna including the native herbs and their medical uses. We have our lunch stop at the local association, a non-profit organisation set up to train locals in hospitality and encourage sustainable tourism.
After lunch we visit Shobak castle. The first of the series of Crusader Castles built in Jordan, it was constructed by Baldwin I in 1115 and only surrendered in 1189 to the Great Salahdin. After our visit to this isolated stronghold we will continue on our journey on the Kings Highway. An ancient road that once carried the treasure laden caravans of Solomon, to the fabled Nabatean city of Petra, one of the highlights of our journey and surely one of the most spectacular archaeological sites on earth. Tonight there is the opportunity to visit Petra lit by candlelight, a majestic experience.
Petra Canyon Hotel (or similar)
Abandoned centuries ago Petra was the rock cut stronghold of the Nabateans, a fortress city built to protect the lucrative levies its citizens imposed on the rich caravans heading north. Surrounded by imposing mountains and approached through a deep, narrow cleft in the rocks, known as the Siq, it is a unique and unforgettable place and, enhanced by the play of light and shadow, an altogether overwhelming experience. We walk through the Siq this morning, following its towering sandstone walls towards the site of the captivating and iconic splendour of the beautiful Khazneh (The famous Treasury). A guided walking tour will take us to some of the key parts of this remarkable and ancient site, one of the most impressive and exciting anywhere in the world. We'll take in the Colonnaded Street and the Royal Tombs, enjoy the site of its amazing theatre, with its 8,000 seats carved from the solid rock. A free afternoon affords the possibly of climbing the steep track up to the magnificent sacrificial 'High Places' (altars) and the top of Jebel Harin (1396m) for a stunning view over Wadi Araba and the Negev Desert. Here we find the Monastery, the largest of Petra's monuments and certainly a highlight to any visit to the city. Towering to a height of 40m its doorway alone measures 8m in height, dwarfing anyone framed within it and it is certainly worth the steep climb up to it.
This evening you have a Bedouin cookery demonstration and meal at a nearby restaurant, learning how to make a traditional Makloubah (upside down) dish, with meat, rice and fried vegetables, followed by Um Ali, a creamy Arabic dessert with croissant pieces, raisins and nuts.
Today is all about embracing the Wadi Rum desert experience in its authenticity, as we have the once in a lifetime opportunity to live the lifestyle of the nomadic Bedouin people. This morning we will leave Petra by bus and head to Wadi Rum Visitor Centre where we will transfer into 4WD vehicles for an exhilarating two hour jeep drive through the desert. This is a great chance to see the most spectacular and untouched parts of Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum occupies a region of 74,000 acres and as described by T.E. Lawrence, is 'vast, echoing and God-like...'. Monolithic outcrops of granite rock and sandstone rise out of the desert with a drifting blanket of sand between them. It is at its most impressive at the beginning and end of the day when the soft light and blue sky create a coppery effect on the sand. The Bedouins learnt to live with this hostile environment 3000 years ago, choosing the partnership with the camel for their survival. They understood the importance of keeping on the move and interpreting the elements, in order to find food and water. We stop for lunch with local Bedouins who cook us a traditional lunch of Gallayeh, a spicy tomato based stew served with fresh flatbread and hummus. We then continue on to our camp for the night.
After sunset, we enjoy the Bedouin hospitality around the campfire under a blanket of stars; a great setting to share stories while sipping mint and sage tea. A traditional zarb, consisting of a chicken or goat meat (vegetarian options available) cooked under the desert sand, is served as well as a delicious selection of mezze. There will be the opportunity to have a go at making ash bread in the hot coals.
We use a comfortable camp with great views over the desert. Each private tent retains the traditional Bedouin design, furnished with comfortable handmade beds, with electricity provided via solar power.
Space Village Luxury Camp (or similar)
Premium Tented Camp
This morning starts with a Bedouin coffee demonstration. Our local guide will show us how this sweet, almost treacle in texture coffee is made. Next we leave the desert and travel for around four and a half hours to the Dead Sea. Officially the lowest point on the earth's surface, this unique water body has an amazingly high salt content (33%) which means that no animal life survives and it is almost impossible to sink. The experience of floating naturally is unique and relaxing on the calm sea. We'll spend a couple of hours this afternoon at a tourist beach, where food and drink can be purchased and we have the use of shower facilities.
Finally, we drive on to Amman and spend our last night in the bustling capital. To mark the end of your trip, we have a traditional dinner in a heritage restaurant where you can try the national dish of mansaf, made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur. We also have an Arak tasting experience, a traditional aniseed based liqueur.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Amman.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Amman at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), which a 30 minutes' drive.
During April to November days are generally sunny and hot without rain with temperatures around 32°C. In spring and autumn evenings can be cool and night temperatures can drop suddenly especially in the desert. Expect cold nights in winter (December to February) when temperatures can drop to around 0 degrees. Some rain should also be expected at this time of year.
2 Pin Round
Lightweight clothing is essential in mid- summer, with a sun-hat and neck protection, though a sweater and light jacket are advisable for Wadi Rum. Early mornings throughout the year can be very cold in the desert and winters (Nov-Mar) in Jordan can be cold, so please bring suitable warm clothing. We recommend a waterproof and windproof jacket, fleece, hat and gloves for winter. Women are advised not to wear shorts or dresses that are too revealing as this can attract unwelcome attention in the streets of Muslim towns - loose fitting trousers or slacks are ideal. Women should also cover their head and shoulders when entering a mosque and men should wear long trousers.
We recommend taking lightweight walking/hiking boots with good ankle support, plus trainers or sandals for relaxing and travelling in.
One main piece and a daypack. Remember, you are expected to carry your own luggage - so don't overload yourself.
A high factor suncream and good quality sunglasses are essential. Walking poles may be useful for steps and the walks around Petra. A personal water bottle and small torch are useful.
Jordan's tourism infrastructure is well developed and standards are generally good. However, due to the recent considerable rise in tourism in Jordan, hotels are experiencing very high demand for rooms, particularly in and around Petra. This high demand can lead to lower levels of service and quality, as well as occurrences of overbookings, which are often notified to us at a late stage. For this reason, we would like to emphasise that hotel accommodation, including the standard of, is subject to change. Depending on your chosen departure date, your hotel location in the Petra area may vary. All the hotels we use are three star and are either located on the main road very close to the main Petra gates, or are a 25 minute walk away in the small town of Wadi Musa. For groups based in Wadi Musa transport will be provided to and from the site on day four, and on day five you can either walk or take a local taxi for This trip features a range of accommodation types chosen to enhance your trip. In Amman we always endeavour to stay in a centrally located hotel with restaurant and pool facilities. Amman is not a very pedestrian-friendly city and many of the premium hotels are on large main roads. However, our chosen hotel will be a short taxi ride from the Citadel area and Rainbow Street where there is a selection of cafes and restaurants to explore on free evenings. While in Wadi Rum we stay in a luxury Bedouin-style camp located away from the roads, light pollution and noise of other camps. Each luxury tent has ensuite shower and toilet facilities and are furnished comfortably. There is also a communal restaurant tent where meals are served and Bedouin-style seating area for relaxing. Please note, swimming pools may have seasonal opening hours in all hotels.
Jordanian cuisine is influenced by North African, Persian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavours. The main meals generally consist of rice, yogurt, lamb, olives, and a range of herbs and spices including oregano, cardamom, cloves, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and sumac. Sweet baked pastries like baklava are also very popular in Jordan. At most restaurants in Jordan, you are likely to find a large number of mezze dishes. This style of eating is popular in Jordan and consists of hot appetizers and cold appetizers which are shared across the table. Most meals have a meat element as the hero. We are not able to provide vegetarian options for all meals, particularly those outside of the main towns. We recommend that you look through the trip notes to see what's included, and judge whether this is the right trip for you.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Jordan: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the time you arrive. All visa fees are waivered for tourists of British, American, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian nationalities on arrival at an international Jordanian airport. There are however, certain conditions that each tourist of these nationalities must meet in order to gain the free visa. Most of these are already met by Explore trips; however flight information, passport details and arrival date into Jordan all have an effect on qualifying for the free visa. Please see below for the category that is applicable to your flight arrangements: The following information relates to the above nationalities travelling on flights to Jordan arranged by Explore arriving on the first day of the tour: In order to qualify for the free visa, the above nationalities must advise their passport details at least 16 days prior to your departure date to Explore and must be met by a representative who will assist with the visa process, this is already arranged by Explore as part of the transfer arrangements from the airport to the start of the tour. The following information relates to the above nationalities with Land Only arrangements arriving on the first day of the tour: In order to qualify for the free visa, these tourists must advise their passport details at least 16 days prior to your departure date to Explore and must be met by a representative who will assist with the visa process. Land Only customers of the above nationalities arranging their own flights to arrive in Jordan on the first day of the tour must advise their full flight details to Explore at least 16 days prior to your departure date. We will then arrange for the representative to meet you as part of the transfer arrangements from the airport to the start of the tour. The following information relates to the above nationalities arriving in Jordan prior or after the first day of the tour: In order to qualify for the free visa, tourists of the above nationalities must advise their passport details at least 16 days prior to your departure date to Explore and must be met by a representative who will assist with the visa process. To qualify for the free visa, you must contact Explore at least 16 days prior to your departure date to arrange and purchase a private transfer. We will then arrange for the representative to meet you as part of the transfer arrangements. Please Note: For all tourists of the above nationalities that do not advise their passport details and for all above nationalities that arrange their own travel arrangements and do not advise their flight details to Explore within the above specified timelines, the Jordanian visa fee of JD40.00 (approximately £45) will be applicable. This must be paid on arrival at an international Jordanian airport in order for individuals to gain a visa to enter the country. All other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate to determine if they are applicable for the above free visa on arrival or must gain a visa prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.