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Jordan

Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea

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Discover the ancient kingdom Jordan

Let us help you build a bespoke adventure across Jordan which weaves together archaeological sites, Bedouin camps, desert wadis, star gazing and mud baths.

Think Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones with a splash of The English Patient and you'll be somewhere close to the vibe of this adventure. It had us smitten on day one as we tested the acoustics in an ancient Roman amphitheatre and tasted exotic fruits and spices in the local market. Only 5 hours away from the UK, and voila, we were transported into another culture and ancient civilisation, which inspired, invigorated and challenged our souls throughout our 7-day journey.

Logistically Jordan is a breeze - all the major sites are close by, so you can literally nip from Amman, to Petra, to Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea in a perfect circular route. However, due to this ease the coach holidays are abundant so finding ways to navigate away from mass tourism is critical, and only possible with the right guides who will lead you to hidden gems via an old Toyota truck driven by Bedouin elders.

So - pack your khakis, and let us help you experience this stunning country "Leap style" which will intertwine elements of culture, adventure and community as you marvel at ancient civilisations, meet one of the last Bedouin communities at Wadi Feynman, complete the 13kms hike to Petra, explore Wadi Rum by jeep and rejuvenate your body and mind in the mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea.

We recommend you have 7 full days in-country, and your accommodation can be juggled to work within your budget.

This is your chance to visit Petra, dust down your inner Harrison Ford in the desert and float away your worries on the Dead Sea.


Suggested Itinerary

Top recommendations

Day 1 - 2

Amman Ancient History

Amman

Travel day: The flights from the UK arrive in Amman at about midnight so we will arrange for our guides to fast track your visa approval and get you to your hotel in record speed. FYI - you will love this service as you bypass the queue, feeling rather smug.

Day 1: The following day you will head north from Amman to explore the famous Roman town of Jerash, the Graeco-Roman city [ancient Gerasa], and close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan. Boasting an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years and hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash is a fine example of the grand, formal, and provincial Roman towns found throughout the Middle East. One can walk beneath four imposing gates or down the "Street of Columns" north from the “Oval Plaza” while stepping over the tracks of chariot wheels still visible in the paving stones. Continue westward to Saladin's 12th century Arab castle, Qalaat al Rabad (Ajloun), one of the finest examples of military architecture

Day 2: Up early for a guided tour of the old city of Amman, which will include the Roman Theatre, Archaeological Museum and the Citadel, containing the remains of the massive Temple of Hercules. Intertwined will be time to explore the local food market - trying out the 101 olive varieties and experience a delicious lunch of houmous and falafels in a chilled, local hangout, tucked away from the chaos of street life.

After lunch you will make your way to the desert based Feynan Eco Lodge for the night, which will be your first off-grid experience of desert, dust and toyota trucks. This is a candle-lit lodge is tucked away in Wadi Feynan, deep in the heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve. Here you will enter an enchanting world of authentic Bedouin hospitality who will take you out for sunset hikes, cook you delicious food and teach you about the stars.

Feynan eco-lodge is supported by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, set up to protect the Kingdom’s finest natural landscapes and one of the last Bedouin communities. Through the lodge you will be contributing to the preservation of the Bedouin culture.

Accommodation

Night one: Landmark Amman Hotel - http://www.landmarkamman.com/en/index.php
Night two: Feynan Eco Lodge - https://ecohotels.me/feynan

Please note we are using 4 or 5 star hotels throughout this trip and the hotels may vary depending on availability and your budget.

Food

Breakfast only included in Amman.
Breakfast and supper included in Feynam Lodge.

Day 3

Feynam + Petra Community and Culture

Feynan to Petra

Trust us you will be up early in Feynam as the goats will be skipping about outside your bedroom window, so we recommend you head out with the local guide to hike along the old river bed to explore the old copper mines, before having a delicious breakfast outside on the terrace. Mid-morning you will hop back on the trusty toyota's to reach Petra.

In Petra we recommend you stay at the Old Village Resort which is outside the town of Petra, so it is peaceful and away from the coaches. The afternoon is for relaxing pool-side before your big challenge the next day.

One of your nights here you must join "Petra's Kitchen" where you will be taught how to cook a local 3 course meal. Great fun and utterly delicious - if you listen to their instructions.

Accommodation

The Old Village Resort

Food

Breakfast and supper/cooking lesson included.
Lunch is extra.

Day 4

Petra Hiking the old path to Petra

Petra, the Rose City

Today is all about Petra, and we promise it will not disappoint. It is indeed glorious and magical, carved by the Nabateans into the rose-red Sharah Mountains, hence its name the Rose City.

Being a true Midlifer you need a little challenge to keep you on your toes and to be honest it is so worth it as you enter the site without the crowds. So, brace yourself for an early 15km, 3 hour, hike via the old Bedouin trail which weaves through the stunning mountainous landscape and open farmland - providing huge views across the Great Rift Valley. Utterly stunning.

The hike will eventually lead you up to the stunning Monastery which will suddenly appear in the desert, taking you by surprise. From here you will wind your way along ancient paths to the Treasury, The Roman Theatre, the Courts, Qasr Bint Pharaoun, Temple of the Winged Lion and other monuments before you arrive at the main Siq (the famous narrow and winding fissure between the cliffs) which gives you the iconic view of the Treasury. This will be your "ta dah" moment.

Accommodation

The Old Village Resort

Food

Breakfast and supper included

Day 5

Little Petra + Wadi Rum Desert Adventure

Little Petra and Wadi Rum

Ok - next up is the start of your Lawrence of Arabia moment but on the way you will take a little detour to enjoy ‘Little Petra’, which is an important suburb to Petra itself and is entered through a narrow opening, similar to a Siq, but on a much smaller scale. The site includes tombs, temples, water channels and cisterns carved out of the rock as well as the remains of plaster frescoes. Personally I loved this site as it was crowd free and had a lovely peaceful vibe to it.

Back on the road and you'll head further South to reach the famous Wadi Rum - and wow, it took our breathe away, literally as we were in a sand storm, which eventually cleared to reveal a stunning moonscape terrain of ancient riverbeds, wind-sculpted mountains, vast desert vistas and smooth and pastel-coloured sands. On arrival you will all hop into another trusty toyota to reach your camp via a few stop offs to meet the long-skirted legionnaires offering cardamom-spiced coffee at the "Beau Geste" outpost and famous rock formations.

Knowledge of the right camp is critical here so please get in contact - there are 100 camp options BUT only 2 worth staying in. You can also experience a camel ride (USD 25 per head) and sandboarding (USD 25 per head) while you are here.

Accommodation

TBC

Food

Breakfast and supper included.

Day 6

Wadi Rum + Dead Sea Hiking and floating

Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea

After breakfast in your desert camp you will head off for your final phase at the Dead Sea BUT along the way we highly recommend you tackle a 2 - 3 hour hike along the Siq Trail, starting at Mujib Bridge, where you follow the course of the river between towering sandstone cliffs to the base of a large waterfall. Depending on seasonal rainfall levels, the gorge may contain pools deep enough for swimming, so pack your swimmers.

After this you will be driven to the Dead Sea to experience being at the lowest point on earth, whilst trying out an invigorating mud bath to cleanse away the desert dust. Here you will watch the sunset over the hills of the Holy Land with Jerusalem in the distance, before heading home the next day. A perfect ending to your desert experience.

Accommodation

Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea

Food

Breakfast and supper included.

Day 7

Amman Airport Job Done

Airport Transfer

After breakfast, you will transfer to Queen Alia International Airport for your flight home.

Trip Details & Costs

From £2500pp, depending on hotel choices. Single supplements apply in all hotels.

Min 6, max 12. Any questions email at: info@theleap.co.uk

Costs

Jordan Midlife
Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, from £2500 pp

Challenge

Trek the old path to the pink city of Petra.

Culture

A journey through ancient civilisations

Adventure

Exploring the desert by jeep, camel or pony.

Rejuvenation

Float all your worries away on the Dead Sea.

Time in, Time out

The itinerary will be fast paced but we promise a little down time.

Leaper's Highlights

Have a read of what our current Leapers are doing around the world to get a flavour of Leap life...

Misaotra and veloma Madagascar Ellie Harland

Day trips in Cusco and the final project begins Aela Morris

Farming and Teaching in the Karina Community Aela Morris

Namibia week 1: Camera traps, hiking and tree babies Millie Edwards

Settling into Madagascar Life Ellie Harland

Ex Head-Hunters and Mulu National Park Ellie Walton

" I would highy recommend this trip"

This was the first time either of us had been to a Middle Eastern and/or desert country. The Leap prepared us very well both culturally and practically - we were advised what kit we would need, what the temperatures and terrain would be like and consequently we had everything we needed.

From the moment we landed in Amman we were swept up in the special Leap cocoon - totally safe and supported but with a sense of adventure and wonder. We had the ease of being part of a group but the luxury of our individual needs being met - at one point, the group split due to fitness differences and both groups enjoyed and experienced the wonder of Petra. Owing to the Leap's Jordan-based contacts, we were able to change and adapt our itinerary on the go and never was this too much trouble. After Petra and Wadi Rum, we ended our trip in indulgence at the Dead Sea having had a fabulous adventure. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone.

- Charlie and Annie Redmayne

"We took in the breathtaking sights of Petra arriving on horseback and foot"

We have wanted to visit Jordan for a long time, but weren’t quite sure how to go about organising the right type of trip. One taking into account the culture, the temperatures, terrain and distances between places. So when we came upon this trip we knew it covered all we needed and more. It had just the right mix of history, sightseeing, adventure, new experiences and rest and relaxation at the end.

We took in the breathtaking sights of Petra arriving on horseback and foot. Our group had split to take into account differing abilities, giving everyone in the group the support they needed. From walking in wadis to a night in the desert, the thrills and adventure continued. The Jordan based team that the Leap have, meant that we were supported at all times and given information that we would not have been party to had we been travelling alone. The trip was rounded off with some rest and relaxation in a Dead Sea resort. Time to reflect on what had been an amazing adventure. Memories made to last a lifetime.

We would highly recommend this trip and the services of Midlife Leap.

- Mark and Tina Foster

"Jordan was more than I expected in so many ways"

The Jordanians we met were friendly, polite and cheerful and helped us at every stage of the journey. After a whistle stop tour of Amman where we visited roman temples and markets with a huge variety of spices and the largest radishes I have ever seen (the size of apples), we headed down to the desert and at one point below sea level.

This was our first encounter with the Bedouin tribe as we were led on a trek by a Bedouin tribesman who taught us how to make soap from a rubbing a natural plant with water on a rock. As we headed further to Wadi Rum we went past a re enactment of the famous railway attack from the Lawrence of Arabia film, complete with Bedouin horseman attacking the train.

After a night in Petra we left early and started our 15 kms trek from Little Petra to Petra through the desert and along the rock cliff tracks which were stunning due to the scenery and the peace of being alone with a small group and our lovely guide Annas. Petra and the various temples is incredible, justifying the 40 years it took for the workers to build it.

My favourite experience however was Wadi Rum, arriving in the back of a Toyota pick-up truck driven by a 13 year old Bedouin the scenery was like nowhere else I have ever been. Desert flanked by incredible huge rocks and cliffs .. camel trains, completely magical and I wish we could have stayed longer here.

Loved it - add it to your bucket list.

- Guy Whitehead

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