Explore the archaeological treasures of the Fertile Crescent by foot and camelback!
The land of Jordan has been home to ancient settlements since the dawn of civilization. One illustrious culture after another has left their legacy, most notably the mysterious “Lost City” of Petra, carved by the Nabataeans out of sheer cliffs in the 6th century B.C. On this unique adventure, you’ll experience the magic of Petra, but you’ll also see aspects of Jordan many travelers miss. You’ll hike through the strikingly diverse Dana Nature Reserve, and stay at the unique and intimate Feynan Ecolodge, a true find! You’ll explore spectacular, wind-carved Wadi Rum by foot and camelback, and sleep Bedouin-style in mobile tents. You’ll tour the mosques, museums, and souks of Amman, and visit the Roman ruins of Jerash, the largest outside of Italy. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the local knowledge and expertise of our guides, the very best in Jordan. All this adventure is balanced with luxury, from spa treatments at the Dead Sea—1,300 feet below sea level!—to gourmet Arabic cooking lessons. So come discover the history, hospitality, and scenery of Jordan, as only MTS can deliver it.
Cultural and archaeological touring, 1 day moderate hiking, 1-day camel riding (option to walk)
- Discover the ancient rose-red fortress of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Learn about Jordan’s rich history on a walking tour of the mosques, souks, and ruins of Amman, accompanied by the best guides in the country
- Visit the Roman ruins of Jerash—the largest outside of Italy, dating to 3,000 B.C.
- Go deep into the Jordanian countryside with a visit to the hillside town of Dana, a hike through remote Dana Nature Reserve, and a stay at the unique and intimate Feynan Ecolodge
- Explore the wind-carved deserts and canyons of Wadi Rum by foot and camelback, followed by overnight stays in our private, mobile Bedouin camps
- Experience the healing powers of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth!
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Amman End Location: AmmanDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrival in Amman
Upon arrival at Queen Alia International Airport you’ll be met by an MTS representative and be transferred to your hotel. As your plane descends over Amman, be sure to notice the city’s unique geography, which spreads out to cover the slopes and valleys created by nineteen different hilltops. After you get situated in your room, we’ll have a welcome dinner and an orientation in the hotel restaurant.
Day 2 : Amman
After breakfast we’ll head out for a city tour of Amman. This is an ancient city, with the first known archeological findings dating back to 8,500 BC. This area has been ruled by the Assyrians, the Persians, and the Greeks, who renamed the city Philadelphia. More recently, Amman became the capital of the Emirate of Transjordan in 1921. All of this makes for a treasure-trove of architectural diversity, ranging from Roman amphitheatres to whitewashed modern mosques, where the call to prayer echoes from slender minarets. We’ll visit Citadel Hill, which is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places, with records of occupation dating back to the Neolithic period. We’ll also spend some time at Jordan’s renowned Archeology Museum, which has on display some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, among other things. An invigorating walk will bring us from the Citadel to the Roman Theatre and the nearby Folklore Museum.
After this whirlwind morning we’ll get into vehicles and head for the town of Jerash, just to the north of Amman, where we’ll have lunch at the Lebanese House Restaurant. After we eat it’s time to take in the great sights found here, including the Greco-Roman ruins known as ‘Antioch on the Golden River’. Jerash is also home to Hadrian’s Arch, as well as massive temples dedicated to Zeus and Artemis. After an afternoon of sightseeing we’ll head back to Amman and a lovely dinner at Fakhr el-Din, the best Lebanese restaurant in town, where many heads of state have dined.
Day 3 : Dana Nature Reserve
After a breakfast buffet and a little time to pack up our luggage, we’ll get into cars and set out. Along the way we’ll stop at Mt. Nebo. The view from the summit of Nebo is exquisite; from here you can see the Jordan River, the West Bank city of Jericho, and on a clear day, Jerusalem off in the distance. According to the Bible, it was here that God gave Moses a view of the Holy Land of the Jews, and many scholars even claim that Moses is buried here. After coming down from the mountain, we’ll head for Madaba, a city known for its Byzantine-era mosaics, including intricate maps of Palestine and the Nile Delta. Afterwards, we’ll head to our guest house near the Dana Nature Reserve. We’ll have time to stretch our legs with a short hike before dinner.
Day 4 : Dana Nature Reserve
This nature reserve stretches from the highlands of Jordan’s Rift Valley to the Wadi Araba lowlands. Red and white sandstone cliffs frame a small but vibrant nature area that is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including the Blandford’s fox and the Syrian Serin finch. We’ll pack up our luggage at the Dana Guest House and send it ahead of us in a vehicle so that we can have the entire day to explore on foot. This full-day hike takes us down through the Dana Valley towards the area known as Feynan. Some of the hiking is on loose gravel, and we’ll spend about six hours on the trip with a stop for a sack lunch at some scenic spot along the way. We’ll spend the night at the Feynan Eco-lodge, which is fully solar powered, and lit only by candlelight after the sun goes down.
Day 5 : Petra
After we pack up our gear, we’ll motor down the King’s Highway—one of the most ancient and storied routes on Earth. Lined on both sides by prehistoric villages, this was the road that Moses hoped to use as he led his people towards the Promised Land. It has also been suggested that this was the route taken in the Bible by the Kings of the North as they went to do battle with the Cities of the Plain, including the iconically sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
We’ll arrive in Petra in time for a buffet lunch at the Basin Restaurant before we check in at the Petra Mövenpick Resort. Tonight’s dinner requires a bit of participation, since it will include an Arabic cooking lesson at the Petra Kitchen.
Day 6 : Petra
Anyone with a passion—or even just a casual interest—in archeology will find Petra to be one of the most awe-inspiring locales anywhere on the planet. Petra was the most important city in ancient Nabataea, and a major player in the international spice trade. The city was renowned for its ability to control water, and early engineers built impressive dams, spillways, and irrigation channels to harness and utilize the spring floods.
Hydraulic wonders aside, Petra is best known for the temples carved directly into the rose-colored walls. The ancient structures were repurposed and remodeled by the Romans in the 4th century AD. In the mid 6th century a massive earthquake caused the total evacuation of the city, which was forgotten until its rediscovery by a Swiss explorer in 1812. We’ll spend the day wandering through this ghostly city of rock, marveling at the majestic ruin of Al-Khazneh (the Treasury) through the dramatic narrow entrance of the As-Siq’s red rock gorge, and sit at the massive amphitheatre built by the Nabataeans. Carved mostly out of living rock, the entire city has the feeling of a great tomb, and indeed the eastern entrance to the city requires travelers to pass through a gorge that is only three to four feet wide at points, emphasizing the foreboding feeling of arriving here. We also have the special opportunity to experience Petra at night, giving us ample time to get the feeling for this special place and imagine what life must have been like for early denizens of this once-great city.
Day 7 : Wadi Rum
After breakfast we’ll pack up and head out for Wadi Rum, where we’ll board 4x4 vehicles to explore this remarkable desert. T.E. Lawrence, the legendary figure better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” based his operations here during the Arab Revolt, and much of the movie Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here. More recently, this alien scenery has also stood-in on film for the surface of Mars. We’ll spend the day exploring by 4x4, getting out for short hikes, and feeling the eerie stillness of the desert all around us. This is like no landscape you have ever seen, with sandstone and granite towers framing a deep desert valley. The area has become quite popular with rock climbers, and if you keep your eyes peeled you may see a climber or two clinging to tiny handholds far above the ground. Our 4x4’s will bring us to MTS’s private camp, where we’ll watch the night sky darken before slipping into our traditional Bedouin tents. Each private tent is furnished with beds (1 queen or two twins), pillows, and blankets and the bathroom/toilet area is separate and shared among all campers. There are main lounge areas full of pillows and rugs and candles for a true Arabian nights experience!
Day 8 : Wadi Rum
We’ll spend another day exploring Wadi Rum, only this time we’ll do it on camelback. This area has been inhabited by Bedouins for centuries. Today, the Zalabia tribe of Bedouins calls it home, and we’ll pass by villages full of goat-hair tents and a few rudimentary concrete buildings. Rock art is visible in certain spots, and we’ll hunt for traces of the ancients who used to make their way through this difficult landscape. We'll return to our Bedouin camp for another night under the desert sky.
Day 9 : Dead Sea
We’ll leave Wadi Rum in our 4x4’s and make the almost 3½- hour drive to the Dead Sea, at a spot near the Jordan River. In addition to being hyper-saline, the Dead Sea is the point of lowest elevation on earth, at 1,378 feet below sea level. Because the sea is 30% percent salt—eight times saltier than the Atlantic Ocean—little in the way of plant or animal life can survive here, hence the appellation “Dead.” Nonetheless, this is a beautiful area and the mountains surrounding the sea are rich in plant and animal life. There is also a long history of human habitation and use of this area, and this location makes repeated appearances in the Bible. Here we’ll visit the spot thought to be the place where Jesus was baptized before heading into the wilderness.
After a day of exploring we’ll check in at the Dead Sea Mövenpick Hotel, a luxury resort and spa.
Day 10 : Dead Sea
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll have a full day to enjoy the hotel and indulge in legendary Dead Sea spa treatments. Travelers have long attributed many different health effects to the air and water of the Dead Sea, perhaps because of the abundance of minerals in the water, along with low levels of pollen and other allergens. This is your day to relax and be pampered, so be sure to take full advantage of the unique natural features and the talents of the hotel’s staff!
If you aren’t thoroughly absorbed in wet wraps and hot mud, you have the option for a short and easy hike to Wadi Mujib, a nature reserve located in a steep gorge that feeds into the Dead Sea. In addition to thickets of Acacia, Tamarisk and Phoenix palms, this gorge is an important stopover spot for many species of birds, including numerous species of raptor.
Day 11 : Departure
After one last breakfast within sight of the Dead Sea, it’s time to transfer to Queen Alia airport for flights home. One of our staff will assist you with airport check-in and immigration formalities.
DATES: Best time to go: May, September - November Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
$4,595 (7-12 members)
Intercontinental HotelAmman, Jordan
This hotel is located in the heart of the diplomatic area of Amman, within walking distance of the old city centre and a short taxi ride from popular sites such as the Citadel. The 440 newly-renovated rooms and suites are equipped with an array of modern amenities and the latest technology. Queen Alia International Airport is a 30-minute drive away.
Dana Guest HouseDana Nature Reserve
Perched on the edge of Wadi Dana, this beautifully styled building offers breathtaking views of the reserve, comfortable rooms, traditional Arabic food, and friendly service. It contains nine bedrooms, most with private terraces, as well as facilities for courses and conferences.
Feynan Eco-lodgeDana Nature Reserve
Feynan Ecolodge, situated in the pristine Dana Biosphere Reserve, is a first for ecotourism in Jordan. Owned by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) and operated by EcoHotels, Feynan Ecolodge integrates conservation and socio-economic development while promoting the importance of the natural environment.
Dead Sea Mövenpick HotelDead Sea
The 5-star Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea is found in a traditional village setting nestled amongst lush gardens. The resort is set on the northern shores of the, at the lowest point on earth. With your well-being and balance in mind, this resort is an oasis of tranquillity.
Petra Mövenpick ResortPetra
The Mövenpick Resort Petra is located directly at the entrance to the historic Jordanian city of Petra. This resort with an oriental flair features an exciting combination of natural stone, handcrafted wood and Middle Eastern fabrics and textures.
With 183 newly renovated rooms and suites and a wide variety of restaurants for your culinary cravings, the Mövenpick Resort Petra will certainly provide long lasting memories. Enjoy your time spent in one of the world’s most extraordinary destinations.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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