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Jordan & Egypt on a Shoestring Tour 2020
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13 Days / 12 Nights Trip | Explore Amman and Jerash, Drive to Petra, Stargazing in Wadirum, Swim In The Dead Sea, Visit Cairo, Pyramids & Sphinx at Giza

Jordan & Egypt on a Shoestring Tour 2020

Incredible ancient cities, Martian landscapes and world wonders await.
This is it! Walk in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, Tutankhamen & Indiana Jones during this epic, one-of-a-kind journey across 2 countries: Egypt & Jordan. 
With a fun group of travellers, you'll explore ancient wonders and otherworldly landscapes. You'll stand in front of the iconic Great Pyramids and reimagine the lives of legendary Pharaohs. You'll discover the lost city of Petra just like Indiana Jones and drive through the Martian landscapes of Wadi Rum.And all throughout, you'll enjoy shopping in local bazaars, eating traditional dishes and making new friends.
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  • Duration
    13 Days
  • Starting From
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    Encounters Travel
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Amman for the urban adventurer
Highlight #1
Amman for the urban adventurer
Jordan’s capital has a pulsating energy, where remnants of the past blend with the modern.
The Battle of the Bagpipers: Jerash
Highlight #2
The Battle of the Bagpipers: Jerash
Jerash is Rome, outside of Rome. Its ancient ruins were ruled by an empire famous for tales of nobility, love & betrayal, with arenas hosting epic battles between gladiators and beasts. But today, we return to Jerash for a slightly different battle - that of bagpipers. Any guesses on who will win?
Visit the Great Pyramids of Giza
Highlight #3
Visit the Great Pyramids of Giza
Sure, you’ve seen the photos as a child and dreamt of visiting for years – but you’ll still pinch yourself when you finally see them in real life.
Go hot air ballooning in Luxor!
Highlight #4
Go hot air ballooning in Luxor!
Climb into the basket and floating upwards, take in an unbeatable birds-eye view of temples and the glittering Nile far below.

Dead Sea

There's something in the water and it won't let you sink. What does it take to swim in the Dead Sea? (Tip: don’t swim like you normally would and never, ever shave before you get into the water!) Are you ready for the Dead Sea challenge?

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Welcome to Amman. Airport to hotel transfers included

Once you arrive at the airport, one of our staff members will be there to meet you and take you to your hotel in Amman. After helping you check in and pointing you to any local shops, cafes or restaurants, you're free to explore Amman independently before our sightseeing starts tomorrow.

 Exploring Amman and Jerash

We start the day by heading north out of Amman to nearby Jerash, one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. Fondly referred to as the 'Jewel of the North', Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years.

Jerash was hidden for centuries in sand, evacuations and restorations over the past 70 years have revealed a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East.

After returning from Jerash we spend the afternoon exploring Amman, commonly known as the 'white city' due to its sheer number of white limestone buildings. Amman's rich history dates back many millennia, with numerous excavations and renovations uncovering remains from the Neolithic period as well as the Hellenistic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages.

Our tour will include the Citadel - the former home of the ancient Temple of Hercules, The Umayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. We'll also visit the 6000-seat Roman Theatre - which dates to the Roman period, when the city was known as Philadelphia.

Mosaics, Castles & Wadis en-route to Petra

We say goodbye to Amman today as we drive to Petra via the King's Highway. The drive to Petra is a scenic one, as we cross deep Wadis, pass through olive groves and remote rural villages.

Before we reach Petra, we'll stop at Madaba, where we'll visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George - famous for its 6th Century Byzantine mosaic map of the Holy Land and other biblical sites. We'll also make our way up Mt Nebo, which provides spectacular views of the Holy Land, which is known as the burial place of the prophet Moses.

After exploring Madaba, we'll once again cross a few deep Wadis, including the impressive Wadi al-Mujib, where the road winds through olive groves before rising up the side of a spectacular 1-kilometre deep canyon.

We'll also stop at Kerak Castle, which is one in a chain of Crusader fortresses built across Jordan in the 12th Century on the ancient Egypt-Syrian caravan route. Built in 1132AD by the Crusader King, Baldwin 1 of Jerusalem, the castle fell to Saladin in 1188AD. It is still a hugely impressive building with commanding views over the surrounding hills & plains. Once we arrive in Petra, we'll help you check into your hotel and the evening is free for you to relax and explore. An option is available to get a first taste of Petra itself with the atmospheric Petra by Candlelight tour through the Siq to the Treasury.

Exploring Petra, camping in Wadi Rum

We enjoy a full day today inside the world famous Nabatean site of Petra. The ancient capital of the Nabatean commercial empire until the Romans finally took over in 106AD, Petra was largely forgotten, except by the local Bedouins, until it was 'discovered' in 1812 by a young Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.

Petra is situated on the edge of Wadi Aruba, whose canyon walls and surrounding hills make it almost impossible to approach except through a narrow, winding cleft in the rock, called the Siq. The city itself has very few free-standing buildings, as the Nabateans chose to carve their homes, buildings and tombs into the multi-coloured sandstone cliffs.

Nowadays, the Jordanian government and local people are aware of Petra's interest to tourists, and the tourism infrastructure in the adjoining village of Wadi Musa is booming, though, thankfully, once you enter through the Siq, the site is protected, and all the building feels miles away.

We have a whole day today to tour this fascinating city (2-3 hour guided tour, then free time to explore yourselves). We start by walking through the Siq, which rises to 200 metres above us, and narrows to just 2 metres wide in certain places. The ancient Nabatean water channel can still be seen on one wall, as well as some remnants of the terracotta pipes that brought water into the city. Suddenly, a now classic view appears around one corner, and one of Petra's most impressive monuments, the Khazneh (Treasury) comes into view. Our guide will explain how this, and the other buildings here, are mainly elaborate facades carved into the rock from the top down and discuss the spiritual significance of the building style.

From the Khazneh, the valley opens out, with tombs carved into the rock on both sides. We'll see the ruined Roman amphitheatre, and colonnaded street, and during your free time you can walk up a steep and narrow winding gorge past beautifully coloured sandstone cliff walls to the huge and imposing 'Monastery'. The biggest of Petra's carved monuments at 50 metres high and 45 metres wide, this is truly spectacular, as are the distant views west across Wadi Aruba and the Jordan Valley. Another climb can take you to the High Place of Sacrifice, and Lion Fountain.

Late in the afternoon, we leave Petra and drive into the spectacular desert scenery of Wadi Rum, where friendly Bedouin hosts are ready to greet us at a comfortable camp beneath the towering rocks and cliffs. We spend the evening and night relaxing at the camp, watching the stars and enjoying a delicious traditional Jordanian meal.

 A Jeep safari in Wadi Rum & a swim in the Dead Sea

After breakfast, we explore the spectacular desert and mountains of Wadi Rum via a Jeep safari. The desert here, with its towering rust coloured rocky 'jebels' awed TE Lawrence during his visits during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18 and was later made famous in the film Lawrence of Arabia.

We'll leave Wadi Rum and drive north up the banks of the Dead Sea, one of the world's most amazing places. As well as being the lowest point on earth at over 400 metres below sea level, the Dead Sea region is one of the most spiritual landscapes in the world as well as being full of dramatic natural beauty.

The Dead Sea itself receives several incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a rich cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.

The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost otherworldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela). We stop along the way to enjoy a 'swim', though the intensely salty waters lead to a very strange swimming experience. In fact, normal swimming is not possible, and it is easier (and more photogenic!) just to float, sitting or lying in the water. Be careful not to get any water in your eyes, as it will sting - you'll also discover various tiny cuts you never thought you had!

We finish the day back at our hotel in Amman.

Amman to Cairo. Hotel transfer included

We leave Jordan today and transfer you to Amman airport for your flight to Cairo. Once you arrive, we'll meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel for the start of your trip. We'll help you check in before giving you some free time to relax or explore Cairo independently. An optional dinner cruise on the Nile is also available tonight.

Cairo, Pyramids & Sphinx at Giza. To Luxor

We start our exploration of Egypt with the iconic three great pyramids at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Probably the most recognizable ancient buildings in the world, these three pyramids were built pyramids were built by the Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure around 2500 years BC. Our Egyptologist guide will start your introduction into Egyptian history here with information on how and why pyramids were built and how they fit into the whole ancient Pharaonic story. You’ll have the chance to climb down inside one of these pyramids if you wish (and if you’re not claustrophobic!).

Our next visit is the majestic Sphinx, which nestles nearby, and was uncovered completely only in the 1920s.

In the afternoon we then drive south through towns and villages along the banks of the River Nile to Luxor where we check into our hotel.

Luxor to Aswan. Overnight in Nubian village

This is free to relax in your hotel, or perhaps take an optional tour to Luxor Museum, which has a beautifully displayed collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts and includes some very important and impressive specimens. There are also some items from the period after the end of Pharaonic times in Egypt. We then continue our drive south following the Nile to Aswan where we spend the night in a Nubian village staying in a local guesthouse. The ancient region of Nubia comprised an area around the Nile in parts of present day southern Egypt and northern Sudan.

Many descendants of the Nubian people still live around Aswan and during our stay we’ll see their colourful houses and enjoying a typical meal this evening.

Aswan, Abu Simbel option, Philae Temple & felucca cruise

There is an optional tour early this morning to drive to the amazing UNESCO world heritage site at Abu Simbel which sits on the banks of Lake Nasser about 3 hours away from Aswan. The temples here were built by Ramses II and are one of Egypt’s most impressive and fascinating sites, especially because they are carved into the hillside rather than built independently, and were completely dismantled and moved to their present location when Lake Nasser was flooded. If you don’t visit Abu Simbel you can explore Aswan’s markets and Corniche this morning or visit the Nubian Museum which has an excellent collection covering the history of the Nubian people in the region.

This afternoon we’ll take a boat trip to visit one of Egypt’s most beautifully situated temples which was also reclaimed from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. This is the Temple of Philae, which was dedicated to Isis.

Later we board a traditional Nile felucca and sail a little way out of Aswan before mooring up for the night. Our separate facilities boat will join with us from time to time during the day and moor up with us at night. This boat helps us protect the environment of the banks of the Nile, having a proper toilet and showers on board as well as a hygienic kitchen. You sleep on the deck of the boat, with mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided. This is a fun but basic experience, and you can upgrade the two nights sleeping on the felucca to an additional two nights in hotels in Aswan if you prefer. In this case you will s case you'll spend two nights in Aswan and then drive to Luxor, rejoining the group when they arrive after the felucca cruise. All other touring remains the same.

Felucca sailing, to Luxor. Optional Luxor temple at night

We spend some more time sailing on the Nile this morning, and after lunch with the felucca crew, we bid them a reluctant goodbye and drive north to Luxor. Luxor is the jewel in Egypt’s crown with the largest concentrations of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley, if not the world. These are split across both banks of the Nile, with the City of the Dead on the West Bank with many mortuary temples and tombs cut into the rocky mountains, and with the Temples of Luxor and Karnak and their connecting Avenue of Sphinxes the highlights on the East Bank. Later this evening there is an optional tour available to Luxor Temple which is right in the middle of town and beautifully lit up at night. You'll can also head into town to explore some of Luxor's popular outdoor cafes, perhaps enjoying a few games of backgammon and trying a shisha pipe with the locals. We spend the night at a comfortable 4-star hotel with a pool on the banks of the Nile.

Luxor, West Bank tour. Optional Karnak temple tour

This morning we take a tour to the West Bank of the Nile, where we’ll visit the Temple of Queen Hatchepsut, explore several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, learn about the workers who made all this happen in Deir El-Medina (the Valley of the Artisans) and stop to see the huge Colossi of Memnon. Your afternoon is then free to relax in the hotel, or take an optional tour to explore the huge temple complex at Karnak. A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is also available today (expect another early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).

Dendara and Abydos, to Cairo

We leave Luxor this morning and drive back to Cairo, stopping at the temples of Dendara and Abydos along the way. These temples are much less visited by tourists than the sites in Luxor, but are hugely impressive. Dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, Dendara in particular becomes many people’s favourite site, and is incredibly well preserved. Nearby Abydos is another fascinating site, and was the cult center of the god of the dead, Osiris.

The necropolis here was a pilgrimage and burial site and at least ten temples were originally built here. We arrive back into Cairo this evening and check into our hotel in the centre of the city for a final evening together.

Cairo, Optional City & Museum tour. Departure airport transfer

Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. We recommend an afternoon or evening flight so that you can take a tour to visit the incredible Egyptian Museum this morning. Extra nights in Cairo are also available if you would like to extend your stay.


 Accommodation in 3 to 4-star hotels

 1 night in comfortable Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum

 1 night in a Nubian guesthouse in Aswan (2020 only)

 Overnight felucca sailboat cruise with accompanying support boat with toilet & shower (2019 2 nights, 2020 1 night)

 All transport and transfers in AC vehicles (plus Bedouin jeeps in Wadi Rum)

 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service

 4x4 jeep safari in Wadi Rum

 Services of a specialist tour guides for sightseeing tours

 Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

 International Flights


 International flights (available on request)

 Amman-Cairo flight (available on request or bookable with your international flight ticket)

 Visa fees (Free Jordan visa included in the Jordan Pass; Egypt US$25)

 Entrance fees in Jordan (included in the Jordan Pass, to be purchased in advance, JD70)

 Entrance fees in Egypt (allow approx. US$65)

 Tipping kitty in Egypt (allow US$45)

 Guide Tips in Jordan and Egypt

 Tips in Jordan

 Travel insurance

 Meals not indicated in the itinerary

 Hotel gala dinners (see Tour notes)

 Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)

 Any other items not mentioned above

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Dates and prices

Start date

28 Jan 2021

End date

09 Feb 2021

6+ Spots left

13 Days / 12 Nights



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