JORDAN ADVENTURE

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JORDAN ADVENTURE

ARRIVAL FROM AMMAN & DEPARTURE FROM AQABA
15 DAYS  |  14 NIGHTS

[ 2 Dead Sea | 1 Ajloun Reserve | 2 Amman | 1 Azraq | 1 Ma’in | 2 Dana Reserve | 2 Petra | 1 Wadi Rum | 2 Aqaba ]

 

 

ITINERARY

DAY  01  :   Q.A.I. AIRPORT – DEAD SEA

Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. Transfer to the Dead Sea for a 2 night stay at the lowest spot on earth.

DAY  02  :   DEAD SEA ( FREE ) – MUJIB RESERVE ( HIKE ) – DEAD SEA ( FREE )

Morning at leisure in the Dead Sea, where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort. The extraordinarily unique healing and beautifying powers along with the relaxing feeling that this salt lake imparts, makes it an exceptional natural spa with exclusive benefits, ranging from the oxygen-rich atmospheric haze which filters out harmful ultra-violet sunrays to the soothing and therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich salty waters and mud.

Early afternoon, drive to one of the most wonderful nature reserves in Jordan, the enchanting Mujib Nature Reserve where you may enjoy a delightful adventurous hike along its water filled canyons, crystal-clear pools and waterfalls (open between 1st of April and 31st of October). Return to the Dead Sea.

DAY  03  :   DEAD SEA – BETHANY s/s – AJLOUN CASTLE s/s – AJLOUN RESERVE

After breakfast drive to Bethany, the most important and extraordinary biblical site in Jordan. It marks the place in el-Kharrar Valley (Saphsaphas), East of the Jordan River, where our Lord Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, to be baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him” (Matthew 3: 13), and where Prophet Eiljah is said to have ascended into heaven in the 9th century BC, on a chariot of fire from Elijah’s Hill which is located at the eastern edge of the valley. Recent excavations at the Baptism site has revealed caves, where monks and hermits used to live, remains of churches with mosaics and marble floors dating back to the Byzantine era, and some to the late Roman era, along with ancient baptismal pools, where pilgrims descended through the marble steps into the water to be baptized.

Drive on to Ajloun where you will visit the stronghold Castle of Ajloun, a fine example of Islamic architecture with remarkable commanding views. The impressive military castle was once surrounded by a sixteen-meter deep moat with a drawbridge, for defense purposes, along with towers that had narrow arrow slits and gaps in the stonework through which boiling oil was poured on assailants. The castle’s chambers were also filled with boulders for hurling at invaders by catapult.

Proceed to Ajloun Nature Reserve for the overnight in Ajloun’s remote highlands.

DAY  04  :   AJLOUN NATURE RESERVE ( HIKE ) – JERASH s/s – AMMAN

After breakfast enjoy a morning hike through the rolling woodland hills of Ajloun Nature Reserve amongst the evergreen Oak, Pine and Wild Pistachio tree forests and visit the surrounding villages of Rasun and Orjan where you may get to see the art of Arabic calligraphy and the local women at their workshops making pure olive oil soap.

Drive on to Jerash, one of the most splendid provincial cities anywhere in the Roman Empire, built over 2,000 years. From the southern end walking past Hadrian’s Arch and alongside the impressive 244m long Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in antiquity, one enters the ancient city of Jerash, onto the lovely colonnaded Oval Plaza, connecting the Temple of Zeus, which overlooks it, with the main street, the Cardo, which is beautifully lined by Corinthian columns. Overlooking the Plaza is the extraordinarily well preserved and the most magnificent of all the city’s monuments, the South Theater, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the magnificent Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place and the Omayyad residential quarter. Further up is a 4th century AD Cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the impressively carved Nymphaeum (public fountain), an Omayyad mosque, the arches of the West Baths and the North Theater. One can also see the Temple of Artemis and the western churches.

Continue to Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for a two night stay.

DAY  05  :   AMMAN s/s – TURKISH BATH

After breakfast, tour Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Start with a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which reviews the eventful life of the late King Hussein through his cars and motorcycles, showcasing part of Jordan’s history and the Hashemite Dynasty. In the vicinity is King Hussein Bin Tallal Mosque with its impressive modern Islamic architecture.

Proceed via Abdoun, a contemporary residential area which boasts some of the best modern architecture, to the Downtown area (Balad), the oldest part of Amman, which is crowned by the ancient Citadel (Jabal al-Qala’a), offering a panoramic view of the whole downtown area. Here one can also see the ancient Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church, the domed Islamic Omayyad Palace, and the National Archaeological Museum which, although small, houses a good collection of the antiquities of Jordan. At the foot of the Citadel is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, still used today for cultural events. Stroll through the old bustling downtown souk (market) which offers everything from a fruit market to tiny artisans’ workshops and clothes. Enjoy the sights of authentic souvenirs, the glittering gold souk, the smell of spices and stop at Habiba pastry shop, most famous for serving “knafeh” traditional dessert.

Drive up from the old downtown area to Jabal Amman which was once the elite’s neighborhood when the city was just a small town occupying the downtown valley floors. Explore on foot Rainbow Street renowned for its fine old villas dating from 1920, where some are now used as showrooms to promote local crafts such as Jordan River Foundation and stop at Wild Jordan with its spectacular views overlooking the downtown area, and which promotes items often produced by rural women in the different nature reserves of Jordan ranging from jewelry to painted ostrich eggs, organic herbs, dried fruits and soap.

Experience a delightful traditional ritual at hammam Al-Pasha Turkish Bath where your whole body would be rejuvenated after.

DAY  06  :   AMMAN – DESERT CASTLES s/s – AZRAQ RESERVE s/s – AZRAQ

After breakfast, drive towards the magnificent Eastern Jordanian desert complexes, collectively known as the ‘Desert Castles’ where many intriguing caravanserais, ancient hunting lodges, bath houses, and ruins of fortified forts and palaces were built by the Umayyads, during the 7th and 8th century AD, to provide refuge to caravans crossing the harsh arid desert and as a testimony to the Umayyad princes’ love of hunting and leisure and as a retreat from city life.

The mighty structure of Qasr el-Kharaneh with its imposing walls and narrow slits looks like a military fortress but experts believe that it was probably used as a caravansary, being set on the path of several ancient trade routes.

Qasr Amra is the most charming of all the Umayyad buildings in Jordan, built as a bath-house around (AD 711). The real outstanding attraction of Qasr Amra is the frescoes adorning its interior walls and ceilings. They are of exceptional interest for what they portray of human life: men hunting, athletes competing, woman bathing and dancers.

Qasr el-Azraq was built by the Romans as a military outpost. It was then used by the Byzantines, and later on by the Umayyad Caliphs for their hunting expeditions in and around the marshes. Qal’at el-Azraq is most famous for having been the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia in World War I during the Great Arab revolt against the Turks.

Drive to Azraq Wetland Reserve which contains several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland and a large mudflat known as Qa’at Azraq. Scores of birds flock to the reserve each year, on their winter migration route from Europe to Africa, they include larks, finches, warblers, eagles, raptors, harriers, plovers and ducks. The reserve is also home to the wild water buffalo that live in the marshland. Lizards, foxes and jackals are sporadically seen in the late evening. Overnight in Azraq.

DAY  07  :   AZRAQ – MADABA s/s – NEBO s/s – PANORAMIC COMPLEX s/s – MA’IN

After breakfast, drive to Madaba the “City of Mosaics” which is renowned for its magnificent collection of lavish Byzantine mosaics found in its churches and homes. The most famous and significant of all the city’s treasures is one of the oldest maps of ancient Palestine, the 6th century AD mosaic map which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, depicting the major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine. The extraordinary map offers a historical insight into the surrounding region and was depicted in the past for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The River Nile, Mount Sinai, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Gaza, Bethlehem and the detailed Holy City of Jerusalem where one can still clearly make out the city walls, gates, the main street (cardo) and the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The City of Mosaics has an interesting Archaeological Park which houses a rich collection of ruins and mosaics from the area, and a Folklore Museum housed at the Madaba Museum, which displays a collection of ancient artifacts, pottery, jewellery and traditional costumes.

Proceed to Mount Nebo which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC and is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and from where he viewed the Holy Land. On the top of the 1000m hill are the ruins of Moses Memorial Church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. Inside, are the remains of magnificent mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and herding scenes but unfortunately the church is now momentarily closed for renovation. From a viewing platform in front of the church and looking out towards the Holy Land, a visitor may see a an Italian-designed bronze memorial of a snake on a cross which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mount Nebo commands excellent sweeping views over the Dead Sea & the entire Jordan Valley and on a clear day one can also see the rooftops of Jerusalem (46km) & Bethlehem.

Drive on to the Dead Sea Panoramic complex with its spectacular views over the Dead Sea and the Holy Land and where you will visit the Dead Sea Museum which exhibits samples of rocks and minerals and displays the unique geological features of the Dead Sea and the Rift Valley.

Continue to Ma’in, which is set dramatically amidst the mountains around a series of hot springs and waterfalls, for a two night stay.

DAY  08  :   MA’IN ( FREE ) – DANA NATURE RESERVE ( RUMMANA CAMPSITE )

Morning at leisure to enjoy the hot springs and hyper-thermal waterfalls of Hammamat Ma’in that cascade into natural mineral-rich hot pools.

At noon drive to Dana Nature Reserve, one of the largest and most beautiful protected areas in the kingdom, famed for its spectacular scenery and commanding views overlooking the Rift Valley below. Enjoy the wide variety of tree cover including juniper, citrus and desert acacias, home to 180 species of birds including the crested lark, chukar, Sinai rosefinch and crag martin. Overnight at Rummana campsite in the upper areas of the reserve with its remarkable views of the valley below (open from the 15th of March till the 31st of October).

DAY  09  :   DANA RESERVE ( GUESTHOUSE … HIKE … FEYNAN ) – STAR GAZING

After breakfast transfer to Dana Guesthouse where you may enjoy a full day moderate hike ( 14 km / 5–7 hrs. ) starting from the guesthouse at an elevation of 1,200 m, descending along Wadi Dana rugged trail through the scenic Dana Biosphere Reserve, to the magnificent desert landscape of Wadi Feynan at 325 m, where some of the oldest copper mines in the world have been unearthed. Encounter local Bedouins, and enjoy the different flora and fauna along the route while marvelling at the colourful sandstone rock formations carved by wind and floods. Overnight at the candle-lit Eco-Lodge of Feynan at the lower part of the reserve and enjoy an evening of telescope star observations.

DAY 10 :  FEYNAN – LITTLE PETRA s/s – ROCK CAMP (DINNER) – PETRA BY NIGHT

After breakfast drive to the legendary city of Petra along one the most spectacular routes in Jordan, the narrow winding road of Wadi Nemelleh with its spectacular views. Arrive at Little Petra area where you would check in at The Rock Camp Petra.

Explore the extraordinary site of Little Petra, which is hidden in a peaceful valley, amidst white sandstone domes (known in Arabic as Siq el-Barid); a miniature Petra with its own small gorge “siq” and impressive rock-hewn facades of monuments, water reservoirs, aqueducts and stairways. Little Petra was probably the major caravanserai of the Nabatean capital Petra. Just a short distance to the southwest of Siq el-Barid, is one of the region’s most important archaeological sites, the 9,000 year old Pre-Pottery Neolithic village of Beidha which was inhabited, long before the Nabateans, by the New Stone Age people where over 60 stone-built structures have been discovered among the ruins of this early farming community.

Enjoy dinner at The Rock Camp which is set on an ancient site of a Nabatean winery and where 2,000 year old water channels are still visible and lit at night. The camp offers an insight into the Bedouin’s way of life. Enjoy their hospitality while dining under lamp-lit, hand woven tents. Share in authentic Shraak bread baking, and relax around the campfire under the starlit skies. Tantalize your senses with the taste of fresh cardamom-spiced coffee grinded and roasted in front of you. Get adorned with temporary Henna tattooing; traditionally thought to have magical powers & Kohl eyeliner, still popular amongst the Bedouins as a natural protection against the harsh desert sun.

Join the Petra by Night evening excursion where the ‘rose-red’ city is transformed into a world of magic with only the flickering light of candles to guide your way to the Treasury (Petra by Night operates on Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays). Return to the camp for the overnight.

DAY  11 :   THE ROCK CAMP – BEIDHA … ( HIKE )… PETRA s/s – CAVE BAR – HOTEL 

After breakfast, transfer to Beidha area the starting point of a unique trail with stunning views over Wadi Araba that leads you to the breathtaking Nabatean city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago, from an unusual entrance visiting en route the magnificent 1st century AD monument of the Monastery. Descend 900 steps cut into the colourful rock, to the heart of the hidden city at the mighty monument of Qasr el-Bint Faroun.

The once bustling colonnaded market street, leads to the Great Temple and to the beautiful 5th century AD Byzantine Church. The impressive collection of Royal Tombs, leads your way to the remarkable 3,000 seat rock carved Theatre and Petra’s most famous 1st century BC monument, the spectacularly carved Treasury appears dramatically as you pass the numerous stunning ruins of tombs, known as the Street of Facades. Exit the hidden city through the magnificent 1.2km narrow Siq (gorge).

Enjoy a drink at the Nabatean Cave Bar in the evening. Overnight in Petra at your chosen hotel.

DAY  12  :   PETRA ( FREE ) – WADI RUM ( 4X4 ) ( CAMELS )

Morning at leisure.

At noon drive to Wadi Rum one of the world’s most magnificent and unique landscapes of endless desert and breathtaking mountain scenery. Explore its stunning landscape and venture far into the magnificent desert by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles while marveling at the massive mountains, beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring rock formations and bridges. Enjoy a camel ride on the vast golden dunes at sunset time before heading to your camp for the overnight in the desert.

DAY  13  :   WADI RUM ( HOT AIR BALLOON ) – AQABA ( FREE )

Early morning soar silently at first light on a hot air balloon to enjoy the tranquility of the boundless empty desert and the magnificent landscape of Wadi Rum from up in the air. Return to the camp for breakfast.

Drive to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba where you may enjoy and relax at the palm-fringed beaches of Aqaba.

DAY  14  :   AQABA – PHARAOH’S ISLAND ( TRIP )

Join a full day cruise to Pharaoh’s Island in the Red Sea where you can explore the Crusader’s castle and enjoy a barbecue lunch aboard the yacht and snorkeling amongst the pristine reefs.

DAY  15  :   HOTEL – AQABA AIRPORT

Transfer to Aqaba Airport for departure to Amman to connect flights.