Travel to the Middle East and discover the ancient worlds of Jordan and Egypt

From the mayhem of city souqs to the serenity of the endless desert, be invigorated by the fearless spirit of biblical prophets, dashing explorers and powerful pharaohs. On this journey from Jordan to Egypt, pass through Petra, Luxor and the Western Desert's unique oases. Take in vibrant modern cities, the monuments of ancient civilisations, awe-inspiring landscapes and traditional hospitality on this incredible adventure.

Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Egypt trips.

PLEASE NOTE: This Itinerary has been permanently changed, and will no longer visit Siwa, Bawiti and the White Desert. Please see important notes & the safety sections for more information

Start
Amman, Jordan
Finish
Cairo, Egypt
Countries
Egypt,
Jordan
Themes
Explorer
Code
EERCC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
1 128kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Spend a whole day uncovering the majesty and mystery of the world wonder of Petra. The first glimpse of the Treasury from the narrow path of the Siq is unforgettable
  • Take an effortless float in the super-salty waters of the Dead Sea on a swim like no other
  • Hop in a jeep and experience the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum, a rugged moonscape of huge sandstone mountains
  • Sleep under the stars, meet the Bedouin locals and learn about their way of life in a desert camp in the far-out destination of Wadi Rum
  • Explore the marvels, mythology and mystery of Ancient Egypt, including the Pyramids at Giza and the tombs of iconic pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings
  • Cairo is a place like no other; a rambling metropolis of sand-beaten colours, and you'll have plenty of time to lose yourself in the colours and aromas of this fascinating city
  • Set sail on one of the world’s most iconic rivers with an included felucca trip down the Nile. Relax and soak up the landscapes and scenes of everyday Egyptian life
  • Uncover one of the greatest cities of antiquity – Alexandria, reborn as Egypt’s alternative capital

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan.
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 ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
As there's very little time spent in Amman on this itinerary, it's worth arriving a day or two early to explore the sights. These are some of our recommendations:
Explore the beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash, one of the largest and best-preserved Roman cities left on the planet. These ruins were re-discovered in 1806 and continue to be one of Jordan's most amazing sites. The ancient walled town that survives today is a remarkable evocation of life 2,000 years ago.

Excavation and restoration of Jerash has been ongoing since the 1920s. Recent excavations show that the area was inhabited during the Bronze Age as far back as 3200 BC. Conquered by the Romans and then the Persians, Jerash was destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century. Monuments of note in Jerash include the Corinthium column, Hadrian's Arch, a circus/hippodrome, two temples (to Zeus and Artemis), the oval Forum surrounded by a colonnade, a long colonnaded street, two theatres, baths, small temples and an almost complete circuit of city walls.
Visit the Citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman. Then explore the Jordan Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. Please check for opening times and admission fee's.
Check out the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman.
Travel by minibus to Mt Nebo (approx 1.5 hrs).
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.
Transfer to the Dead Sea (approx 30 mins).
A Dead Sea float is a must do of any trip to Jordan. Here at the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level) the water is seven times saltier than a normal ocean at 30% salinity - making it the second saltiest lake in the world after Lake Asal in Djibouti. This means that you are extremely buoyant and seem to float on top of the water rather than in it.

The mud here is supposed to have healing properties and many visitors like to cover themselves from head to toe for a beauty mud bath. We stop at a private beach with pools and a gentle slope to the water. Towels are available for hire. Don't forget to pack your swimwear for today.
Make a stop at the crusader castle of Kerak where we have time to explore the evocative ruins and to discover the legends of the 12th-century battles between the Crusaders and the Muslim armies led by the Arab hero, Saladin (Salah ad-Din).
Continue on to Petra (approx 4.5 hrs).
Hewn out of the rose-coloured rock face, the ancient Nabataean city of Petra is one of the Middle East's most spectacular destinations, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
You have a full day to explore this stunning site. We have a morning together which starts early with the exciting walk through the narrow Siq to the Treasury. After admiring the iconic view, continue through the site along the Roman road, past impressive rock-cut tombs, temples and the amphitheatre ( entrance fee is not included ). 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 (approx 1 hr).

Please note that there is a complimentary horse ride included with the entrance ticket for all travellers visiting Petra. Intrepid recommends that you don't ride the horse due to safety and insurance liability.
The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer. It was once described as 'a rose-red city half as old as time' in a sonnet by John William Burgon and UNESCO has described it as 'one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage.' In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage site. So you know you are in for an amazing experience here.

It's difficult to determine exactly when the history of Petra began. Evidence suggests the Horites, probably cave-dwellers, inhabited the area, lending their traditional habits such as burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves to the next wave of inhabitants - the Nabataeans.

Evidence of the earliest Nabataean settlement is also sketchy. Some of the characteristics of the site appear partly Egyptian and partly Greek in style. Strangely, few inscriptions have been found at Petra making dating the civilization a real challenge for historians. We do know the Nabataean settlement doesn't go back farther than the 6th century BC.

In 106 AD, Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire and the native dynasty came to an end but continued to flourish for a century after. Eventually the building of tombs ended and trade moved away from Petra, which fell into steady decline over the centuries. Over time many of the tombs' treasures were stolen by treasure hunters and their glory and whereabouts are unknown.

According to Arab tradition, Petra is the location where Moses struck a rock with his staff and water came forth.
Be prepared to be totally in awe today. Hewn out of the rose-coloured rock face, the ancient Nabataean city of Petra is one of the Middle East's most spectacular destinations, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

You have a full day to explore this stunning site. We have a morning together which starts early with the exciting walk through the narrow Siq to the Treasury. After admiring the iconic view, continue through the site along the Roman road, past impressive rock-cut tombs, temples and the amphitheatre (entrance fee is not included ). 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 (approx 1 hr).
Please note that there is a complimentary horse ride included with the entrance ticket for all travellers visiting Petra. Intrepid recommends that you don't ride the horse due to safety and insurance liability.
The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer. It was once described as 'a rose-red city half as old as time' in a sonnet by John William Burgon and UNESCO has described it as 'one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage.' In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage site. So you know you are in for an amazing experience here.
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a short drive (approx 2 hrs) to the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum.
A 4-hour jeep safari takes us 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. Traces of ancient civilisations can be seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the Wadi Rum area, from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum, however, are those carved by nature - the natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks.
Sleep in a simple desert camp where you'll have the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. 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 is highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months. A dinner cooked in a local earthen oven is included. Western-style toilet facilities are available. Conditions are basic at our desert camp, but the company of our Bedouin hosts is warm and you'll treasure the memory of sleeping beneath the twinkling desert night sky.
Board a ferry to cross the Gulf of Aqaba and continue your journey to Egypt (approx 2 hrs). Please note that you'll be travelling on this ferry unaccompanied by a group leader. You'll be met by your Egyptian leader on arrival in Nuweiba.

The fast ferry can be cancelled without notice. On some trips we have to take the slow ferry which can take anywhere between 3-5hrs.
The ferry crossing can be rough on occasions and those who suffer from sea sickness may want to prepare themselves. Please note this ferry crossing sometimes experiences delays and patience is required. Due to adverse weather conditions there's a possibility the ferry will be cancelled, forcing us to stay an extra night in Aqaba. The ferry itself is modern with western-style toilets on board.
Travel by van to our Red Sea beach camp (approx 30 mins).
This is a harsh and barren land of sprawling windswept plains and rugged mountains, but it's also home to some fantastic beaches. The tiny settlement of our beach camp is reminiscent of its Sinai neighbours, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik, before mass tourism arrived. Thankfully the camp is still a hidden gem for Intrepid groups. Set on one of the only stretches of fine golden sand along this coast, this is a place that you'll be raving about to your friends for years to come.
Stay in simple but comfortable beach huts with the water right at our front door. The huts in our camps 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.
The Red Sea coast is justifiably famous for its beautiful scenery, both above and below the water. Why not start the day with a fantastic snorkelling trip to discover this spectacular world.
It's a short drive to Dahab, where the rest of the day is free to take in the many treats the village has to offer; cafes, seafood and snorkelling in the Red Sea.
Welcome to Dahab. The word Dahab means gold, and here the town is a small fish village located 80KM Northeast of Sharm el Sheikh. Dahab is famous for its spectacular coral reefs that plunge vertically into the deep blue depths below.

In the morning pick up your mask head to the Blue Hole. The Blue Holes takes the shape open blue hole to the Red Sea. it is one of the greatest snorkeling spots in the Red Sea.
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.
This morning after breakfast we climb aboard a camel and visit the impressive Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza . Please note that you'll be required to walk around the Pyramids complex. It can be very hot in the summer months so be prepared for some hot and sweaty walking with little relief. Don't forget to take some water with you.
After we make our way to the Egyptian Museum (optional). Wander the halls of the Egyptian Museum, make sure to check out the Mummies Hall (optional) for an up close encounter.
Later in the evening meet your leader and travel to Giza station where you will board a sleeper train to Aswan (approximately 13 hours). Bedding and air-conditioning are provided.
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan. This Nubian city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town - take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars.
There's an option to travel to the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. Built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh's land and what was not.

There are two ways to make the journey south to see these remarkable temples.
Some travellers prefer to fly from Aswan to Abu Simbel. The flight time is 40 minutes each way. Flights can be booked online through EgyptAir: http://www.egyptair.com/English

Return flights vary throughout the season, depending on the day of the week you fly and how far in advance you book, but expect to pay between US$250-300. Due to the southerly location it's recommended to book the early flight and visit Abu Simbel at sunrise to avoid the heat.

Please note that flights to Abu Simbel do not operate every day. In this case, visiting Abu Simbel via land will still be an option.
A less expensive option is to hire a minivan with other group members who are also interested. Prices can fluctuate depending on the number of pasengers travelling. This can be organised from Aswan. The ride is 3 hours each way with a very early departure from Aswan at approximately 4am. You will be joining a bus in a security lead convoy to and from the temple.
Please note that Abu Simbel is an optional activity. Your group leader won't be travelling with you on flights. However will accompany the group on the bus option. The entrance fee is paid on arrival at the site, and if you wish a local guide can be hired on arrival.
For those that don't wish to travel to Abu Simbel, a visit to nearby Philae Temple is highly recommended. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the temple was painstakingly moved and reassembled after the construction of the Aswan High Dam flooded its original island location.
Tick off one of another highlight today by considering the option of visiting the stunning temples of Abu Simbel. Please note this optional activity has a very early start (but it’s totally worth it) You can get there by flying, or by the cheaper option of renting a minivan with a group and leaving very early (flights do not operate daily). The journey by land is 3 hours each way. It's best to visit at sunrise to avoid the heat.
Return to Aswan and spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
This morning we board Felucca’s for a morning sail until lunch. After lunch aboard the felucca we arrive at the Nubian home stay on the West Bank of the Nile We walk through the agriculture fields reaching the home stay. The tranquillity of the location is indescribable. The house is Nubian style one, with a sandy courtyard in the middle where the family gathers for a meals, and to the sides are rooms where they sleep. These are also the rooms that we will be staying in for the night. If you are interested, you could also help cooking in the kitchen or play football with the kids.
Board a felucca and spend a day out on the river, then a night under the stars. Your Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals, which are hearty and delicious. Being a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, your felucca offers some shade and protection from the elements. However, there is no cabin or enclosed section. Note that conditions will be basic during your felucca trip. If you are prepared for this, you are sure to have a memorable adventure.
You'll sleep outside on the deck of the felucca on a mattress. While blankets are provided, a sleeping sheet is recommended. During the colder months (October to March) temperatures can get as low as 5°C at night, so a sleeping bag is highly recommended. 
Slight alterations may have to be made to the Nile itinerary throughout the year, depending on winds and currents. As the felucca is a sailing craft without any outboard engine, if there's no wind we won't travel very far. Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you won't forget. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many travellers.

Our Felucca does have a shared bathroom facility on board



After farewells to the felucca crew, take a private van to Luxor (approximately 3.5 hours).
Today you visit the Intrepid Foundation's local project ACE (Animal Care in Egypt). It’s a great chance to see the holistic approach the project takes towards animal welfare, and raising awareness among the locals. Also explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works.
Visit the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings to visit three of the most interesting tombs. Here your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people. Note that a visit to King Tutankhamen's tomb is not included but can be arranged in advance through your leader.
We visit Hatshepsut Temple one for one the greatest Queens that ruled Egypt. She built herself a temple at the back to the Valley of the king to prove her importance among ancestors.
Today you farewell the Nile and, drive east, to the beachside town of Hurghada (approx 5 hours). The green Nile valley is soon left behind as we head out into the barren Eastern Desert. Passing through rocky hills, the glittering waters of the Red Sea soon come into view and the rugged bulk of the Sinai Peninsula looms through the haze on the opposite shore. A vibrant beach resort, Hurghada is by no means a typical 'adventure destination'. After checking in to our hotel, take a walking tour with your leader to get your bearings and check out some of the local restaurants and eateries.
The following day we are transferred to the Hurghada Marina where we board our boat and sail to Giftun Island, part of the Red Sea National Parks, where you’ll spend a relaxing day on the stunning white beach of Mahmya.
While here you have the opportunity to take a snorkeling excursion by boat to one of the most magnificent reefs in the Red Sea and explore the extraordinary ecosystem. Snorkelling gear is provided.
After a buffet lunch in one of Mahmya’s open air sea view restaurants there a plenty of activities to choose from such as volleyball, soccer, or simply lazing on the beach.
We head back to Hurghada in the late afternoon and are transferred back to our hotel.
Check out of our Hurghada Hotel before we fly back to Cairo ( approx 1hr ).
On your return to Cairo visit Islamic Cairo and the frenetic backstreets of the local bazaar - Khan el-Khalili with your trip leader. A labyrinth of narrow streets and passageways, Khan is one of the biggest and oldest markets in the world.
Take a van to Alexandria (approximately 3 hours), Egypt's second largest city and main port.
On arrival in Alexandria, take a walking tour with your trip leader.
Alexandria at night is not to missed,. Egyptians call this vibrant city of Alexandria the bride of the Mediterranean Sea .
Visit Alamein and the war museum.

El Alamein is located on the Mediterranean Sea, 150 miles west of Cairo. El Alamein played an important role in the 2 battles of WW2.
El Alamein was the last stand for the Allies, and it is where the well- Rommel fought the war.
The importance Alamein is mentioned by Winston Churchill.” Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat."

El Alamein also contains a war cemetery for those who fought at the battle of Alamein from the Commonwealth.

Alexandria is the city of seafood, so don't forget to feast on some fresh fish while you're here.
This morning we will explore the catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, the largest Roman burial site in Egypt. We will also visit the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, inspired by the original great library of Alexandria and built to hold over 8 million books. Our last visiting stop together will be el Morsi Abu El Abbas Mosque
Today take the opportunity to see Citadel of Qaitbay (optional) where the lighthouse used to stand

Travel to Cairo (approximately 5 hours). You will arrive in Cairo at around 4 pm. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please. You will have the chance to visit Khan Khalili for some last-minute shopping in the evening.
This trip finishes today after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day, and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
20 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Transport
Plane, Ferry, Minibus, Jeep, Overnight sleeper train, Felucca, Van, Bus
Accommodation
Hotel (16 nights), Desert Camp (1 nights), Beach Hut (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 night), Felucca (1 night)
Included activities
  • Petra 1 day pas
  • Wadi Rum Safari entrance and permit
  • 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
  • Cairo - Pyramids and Sphinx
  • Luxor - Karnak Temple
  • Hatshepsut Temple
  • Luxor - Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
  • Catacombs of Kom Ash-Suqqafa
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • War Museum

Dates

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Important notes

1. Please provide Intrepid or your booking agent with a scanned copy of the personal details page from your passport at time of booking.
2. On Day 8 there is an included internal flight from Sharm El Sheihk to Cairo. And on Day 18 there is an included internal flight from Hurghada to Cairo. The maximum check-in baggage allowance for both flights is 23kgs per person plus 7kgs hand luggage.

PLEASE NOTE: This Itinerary has been permanently changed, and will no longer visit Siwa, Bawiti and the White Desert. Please see important notes & the safety sections for more information.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Jordan & Egypt Uncovered trips score an average of 3.6 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Jordan & Egypt Uncovered , January 2016

Jordan & Egypt Uncovered , November 2015