Journey to the Lost City Trip Notes
Trip code: FFJO
Trip length: 8 days
- Desert camp in Wadi Rum
- Float in the Dead Sea
- Play traditional games with locals
- Rock-cut temple city of Petra
For centuries the deserts of Arabia have held a special fascination for Western travellers. You will visit the ancient Roman city of Jerash, which has survived an incredible 2,300 years. Take to 4WD vehicles to explore the towering sandstone landscapes of Wadi Rum and camp Bedouin-style, under vast, star-filled skies. Petra, the superb 'pink city' of the Nabateans which was hewn by hand from solid rock is a highlight of the trip. Explore Kerak - a key staging post for the Crusaders and descend to the lowest point on Earth, the incredible Dead Sea, where you'll swim in its salty and amazingly buoyant waters - an amazing end to an amazing trip.
The tour starts at the Amman hotel. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. Amman is a modern city with an ancient history and is the starting point for your exploration of this desert kingdom.
Hotel (AAA) - 2 nights
Jerash & Amman
This morning you head 50km north to Jerash. With a history stretching back at least 2300 years, Jerash is one of the finest examples of a provincial Roman town anywhere in the world. Although it was inhabited in pre-Roman times, it was with the coming of Alexander the Great that things really took off! As one of the league of ten cities known as the Decapolis, Jerash (otherwise known as Gerasa) grew in importance until, in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, it was home to more than 25,000 people. The extraordinarily complete remains, which include a forum, a nymphaeum, hippodrome, two theatres (complete with numbered seats!) and several temples, date mainly from this period. Along the famous Colonnaded Street, grooves in the paving stones show where chariot wheels once rolled - kids will love playing gladiators! Elsewhere, remnants of exquisite mosaics still cover some floors.
You have ample time to wander the site and imagine life in ancient times, before returning to Amman with time to relax, or the opportunity to visit some of the city sights, including the Citadel. (B)
Madaba, Mount Nebo & Kerak, Petra
This morning you head south towards Petra, taking the Desert Highway. En route you drive to Madaba, famous for its 6th century mosaics set in the ground like giant jigsaws. Just beyond is another biblical site, Mount Nebo, which overlooks the Jordan Valley. The Bible tells us this is the final resting-place of Moses; from here he looked out onto the Promised Land and, thousands of years on, you can do the same.
On your journeys today you may see the black ‘beit ash shar’ tents of the hardy Bedouin who still wander throughout the Middle East as they have for centuries. Moving between the few grazing spots which dot the parched landscape, they survive by breeding goats, sheep and camels. Although the traditional nomadic way of life is starting to disappear as some Bedouin succumb to the lure of fixed accommodation, many adhere stolidly to the old way - albeit with the occasional addition of a 4WD vehicle for transport! Living in such a hostile environment has taught them the importance of a friendly welcome and the ancient code of hospitality to travellers still survives today.
Next, you drive to the small town of Kerak. Here a formidable Crusader castle overlooks a long, winding road down to the Dead Sea. The Crusaders had a huge impact on the region in the 11th - 13th centuries, and fought the forces of Islam in a long campaign, which saw many atrocities committed. Their temporary successes can be attributed - at least in part - to an outstanding ability to construct impregnable defensive fortifications, of which Kerak Castle is a prime example. Amazingly - given that it is over 850 years old - a great deal of the structure remains intact, and you can explore the dungeons, passages, refectory and kitchens of the castle, which also houses a small museum.
Continue on to Petra and visit Little Petra along the way, a great introduction before to explore this majestuous site. Uncovering Little Petra's secrets will also be the opportuntiy to have fun learning some new traditional games such as '7 stones' with locals and share tea with bedouin famillies.
Hotel (AAA) - 2 nights Swimming Pool (B)
Petra's exact location was unknown in the West until 1812, when the Swiss explorer J.L. Burckhardt, a convert to Islam, made a short detour to sacrifice a goat at the nearby meli (tomb) of the prophet Harun. As he picked his way towards the foot of the mountain, he stumbled across the siq, the narrow defile that leads to Petra - and the rest is history. Since that day many others have made their way along the same path and, as Burckhardt must have done, gazed in awe at the splendid monuments that adorn this remote valley.
This morning you'll make your way to the fabled site, following the same path as Burckhardt, which funnels you through the banded rock walls that tower above. At the end of the kilometre-long path, you are rewarded by a glimpse of the most beautiful building of all - the Khazneh or Treasury - so-called because the Bedouin believed that the urn crowning the edifice held a cache of gold and jewels. The first sight of this perfectly proportioned tomb, carved from the towering rock, is truly unforgettable, but there's much more to come!
Some 2,400 years ago the Nabateans taxed the trade caravans that plied between Arabia and the eastern Mediterranean and, using the proceeds, built the first houses and temples here. Later these taxes proved even more rewarding, and today the Nabatean legacy includes houses, tombs, temples, a (Roman-built) amphitheatre and much more.
Although it is a tiring walk for kids, it is well worth making the hour or so ascent up the rocky path, which leads to the Monastery, a vast structure rivalling even the Treasury. Time should also allow you to climb to one of the High Places, the mountain-top altars where ritual sacrifices were made; from here there are spectacular views of the mountains, valleys and canyons below. (B)
NB - Watch out for donkeys on the walk up to the Monastery, they can be quite pushy so take care.
Today you drive to Wadi Rum which offers some of the most extraordinary desert scenery. From a distance, Wadi Rum's sheer sandstone cliffs appear to hover like a shimmering mirage on the horizon. It's only from close quarters that you can fully appreciate just how large some are, rising to a height of 1800 metres. It's hard to describe the majesty of this setting without sounding too effusive, suffice to say that the beauty that captivated Lawrence of Arabia is just as evident today. To the Howeitat Bedouin, who have taken it as their own, the area is known as the Valley of the Moon. These people are reputedly the remainder of Lawrence's Arab army who marched with him from Azraq in the north, then stayed behind once battle was done.
You will enjoy a 4WD desert discovery, stopping to enter a narrow siq where many inscriptions can be seen. Passing Thamud nomads from Saudi Arabia and the Nabatean people have both left their mark on the surrounding rocks. Nature provides a number of rock bridges that offer some stunning views. There is also the opportunity to explore by camel (additional charge). What best than the vast desert land of Wadi Rum to challenge the local bedouins over a football game...
You camp in the protected area of Wadi Rum, surrounded by high mountains and sand dunes and in true desert fashion, you can sleep in a traditional Bedouin tent or under the stars. As the sun sets on the rocky outcrops - the sandstone changes hue, passing through a spectrum of yellow, gold, orange, red and finally purple, as the shadows lengthen and the stars come out. Children (and adults!) will love camping in the desert - the skies are clear and stars stand out brightly. The Milky Way, satellites and shooting stars can be clearly seen - a great way for kids to learn a little about the solar system.
Bedouin-style private camp (CC) - communal sleeping arrangement - 1 night (BLD)
You then transfer to Aqaba on the coast of the Red Sea, where you will have free time to relax or take an optional boat trip (additional charge) to go snorkelling. The warm and relatively shallow waters of the Red Sea support a series of coral reefs unsurpassed outside Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Over the years, successive generations of minute polyps have deposited the calcium they extract from the sea as limestone external skeletons on to the fossilised remains of their predecessors.
Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (BD)
Leaving Aqaba, travel along the King's Highway, a winding road which follows the contours of the rocky hills, occasionally passing nomadic shepherds as they tend their flocks in the few areas where there is water. You descend lower and lower until eventually you arrive on the shores of the Dead Sea - at 400 metres below sea level it's the lowest place on earth. Here the mineral content of the water is so dense that anybody attempting to swim finds that they float, rather than sink! It's a remarkable feeling and one you'll be able to experience for yourself as you relax this afternoon.
This evening you can meet up with the rest of the group for a final meal together, and reflect on your adventures in this fascinating country! Hotel (AAAA) – 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
The tour ends after breakfast. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAncient Civilisations
Beach / coastal
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Relatively short journey times make Jordan an ideal destination for a family adventure. In Wadi Rum, desert tracks are rough and although we provide all necessary camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags) conditions are, as one would expect basic, with limited facilities. Please note: swimming pools at some of the hotels in Jordan may close during the winter season, especially if they are outdoor pools. If they are open, outdoor pools in Jordan don’t usually have heating and so swimming may be cold! Minimum age: 5 years.
Transport - Minibus, 4WD, on foot, (camel).
Accommodation - Comfortable Hotels (5nts), guesthouse (1nt), camp (1nt, possible multi-share).
Meals - 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 2 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 135.00 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
Clothing and Footwear
Although you may see other travellers dressed otherwise, as in any Muslim country, tight or skimpy clothing should not be worn by adults out of respect for local customs. Although long, loose shorts are acceptable, you should be aware of local sensibilities - it’s best to carry a pair of lightweight trousers to slip on if visiting mosques or churches. For women no halter neck or sleeveless tops, whilst a headscarf is useful – it’s both a local custom and useful for shielding against the strong sun.
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store.
- Lightweight cotton clothing is the most practical Mar - Sep
Between October and February you’ll need warmer clothing
- Windproof/waterproof jacket/kagoul, winter only (Oct - Feb)
- Warm mid-layer (fleece or wool) for those cold nights and early mornings in the desert (at all times of the year)
- Strong, comfortable shoes, trainers or trail boots
- Sandals for relaxing
- Mattresses, blankets and sheets are provided in Wadi Rum. However desert temperatures can fall to almost freezing point at night, even in the summer, and you may wish to consider bringing thermal clothing or a sleeping bag for your overnight stay. Sleeping bags are available for hire locally in Jordan at a cost of USD 17 (approx. £10) per person. This is payable in dollars cash to your local Group Leader upon arrival in Jordan. If you wish to bring your own sleeping bag, we would recommend a 2/3 season bag for May-Sep departures and a 3/4 season bag for departures Oct-Apr.
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses, high factor sunscreen & lipsalve
- Personal first aid kit & insect repellent
- Scarf for dust protection
- Binoculars for star-gazing in Wadi Rum
A laundry service may be available in some hotels, but we recommend you take biodegradable travel detergent so that you can wash clothes when you choose.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Make sure you try a glass of the local Bedouin tea whilst you’re in the south. Made with mint and lots of sugar, it’s very refreshing even on the warmest of days.
Your Child’s Health Abroad – M. Ellis and J. Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt)
Travel with Children – M. Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
Arab Folktales - Inea Bushnaq
Kingdom of the Film Stars; Journey into Jordan – Anne Caulfield
Do you have vegetarian food available here?
Hal Ladaika taam nabaty?
Is the weather always so nice in Jordan?
Hal al taqs dayman jameel hakaza?
Thank you, I would like to have tea with you.
Shukran, ana owad an ashrab al shai maak
Did Lawrence of Arabia ever tread here?
Hal Lawrence al Arab kan hona?
Is that camel comfortable?
Hal haza al jamal moreeh?
Local Costs - Jordan
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment. The below guideline is in Jordanian Dinar (1 JD is approx 1 GBP)
Coffee/tea JD 2.00
Soft drink JD 2.00
Water JD 1.00
Medium beer JD 5.00
Local snack lunch JD 5.00
3-course dinner* JD 10-15.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Jordan
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. A group manifest (free visa) is available for groups of 5 or more who arrive and depart on the same flight. You will be met by a local representative prior to going through immigration who will advise you if a visa is required. If your group is less than 5 or you are travelling on different flights you will need to arrange your own visa, this also applies to Land Only clients. A visa can be obtained on arrival at the applicable port of entry for a fee. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Jordan
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Typhoid † Tetanus
NB: Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required if travelling via an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and you will be expected to tip to reward service. Your Group Leader will be able to give you an indication of when and how much is appropriate. This can vary widely, but please allow £20 per person for this trip. Also, if you wish to tip your Group Leader (in recognition of their contribution towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday) a suggested guideline would be approximately £1 to £2 per person, per day. The following can be used as a guide:
$3-4 pppd for the guide
$2 pppd for the driver
$15-20 per group per hotel
$1 pp for waiters
$1 pp for airport representative
$1 pp for the 4x4 trip
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.