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National Geographic Expeditions - Jordan

From the Old Testament to modern times in Jordan - with National Geographic

Highlights

  • On the tracks of the Old Testament and long gone cultures with National Geographic

  • Walk through Wadi Musa (the "Valley of Moses") and the ancient city of Petra

  • Enticing experiences in the Dana Biosphere Reserve

  • Overwhelmingly beautiful landscapes in Wadi Rum and at the Dead Sea

  • Immersion in Jordan's culture and history with locals

Description

Biblical sites, ancient Roman and Greek buildings, and the remains of one of the first civilizations - Jordan's history date back to the early settlers from 8,000 BCE. Today, the Kingdom is a land in transition, under the influence of different cultures and faiths. But it remains a country that cherishes its cultural and environmental treasures. Join us on a journey through history that could hardly be more exciting!

Destination

Orient

Amman - Dead Sea - Mabada - Wadi Dana - Petra - Wadi Rum - Amman

March 2021 - Expert TBA

Upon arrival at Amman International Airport, you will receive a warm welcome and get your first taste of the characteristic Jordanian hospitality. By the time the short drive to your hotel ends, your private driver will have convinced you that there is hardly any other country where you are more welcome.

2 nights at Landmark Hotel***** with half board in Premium Room, Amman, Jordan

After breakfast, you will set off for the ancient city of Gerasa. It is located about 55 km north of Amman and was part of the Decapolis, the great Roman cities of the East. Many of the buildings are very well preserved to this day - they are an example of Roman art and architecture, which is why Gerasa is often called the "Pompeii of the East". The most famous buildings are the theater, the temples of Zeus and Artemis, and the nymphaeum.

Strengthened by lunch with a local family, you will head for the next historical stop, the medieval Ajloun Castle. It will only take you about an hour to immerse yourself in another era here. This construction from the 12th century is said to have been commissioned by Sultan Saladin, who achieved almost mythical status in the Arab world after taking Jerusalem back from the crusaders in 1187.

In the afternoon, you will reach Umm Qais, one of the most famous ancient excavation sites in the region. In Roman times, the city was known as Gadara. It was one of the hubs and assembly points for many trading caravans on the route between Syria and Palestine. From the viewpoint near the ruined city, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Jordan Valley, which Jesus of Nazareth is said to have admired at one time.

Journey time from/to Amman: approx. 3.5 hours / 200 km

After checking out at the hotel, you will head east, your destination being the most famous of Jordan's desert castles. Qasr Amra looks rather inconspicuous at first sight, and some of its features resemble those of a fortified complex. Inside, however, you will find numerous frescoes, which are still well preserved even after 1,300 years. A Roman bath is also part of the furnishings, along with the richly decorated throne room.

The castle of Qasr Al-Azraq was built almost entirely of dark basalt stone, which gives the iron fortress a defiant and forbidding appearance. The ruins of the present castle were of particular strategic importance due to its location in the middle of the Azraq oasis, the only permanent source of fresh water in the desert region.

After lunch, you will reach the Ma'in hot springs, where you will also find your hotel - at almost 264 meters below sea level. Probably the most beautiful desert oasis in the region is fed by water from the nearby mountains. Before it gushes out in numerous waterfalls and small streams, it is heated to sometimes over 140°F by underground lava springs.

Once you're back in the hotel, you're welcome to experience the healing effects of the hot springs, mud packs, and other wellness treatments.

Duration of the trip: approx. 4 hours / 300 km


2 nights at Ma'in Hot springs Resort**** with half board in Deluxe Room, Sowayma, Jordan

Your first stop of the day is the Dead Sea, where, due to its sheltered location in the Jordan Valley, it is sunny all year round with little rainfall. The vast salt lake is 428 meters below sea level and is known for its very high salt content.

After extensive sightseeing, you will proceed towards Mount Nebo. According to Islamic belief, the tomb of Moses is supposed to be there. Even though some researchers dispute that idea, they at least agree that this is the place where Moses first saw the Holy Land. From the summit, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. The border with Israel is only ten kilometers away from the mountain top.

Along the King's Road, you will continue to Madaba, where you will find the oldest map of the Holy Land, which was not made on paper or papyrus. The Church of St. George looks quite unobtrusive from the outside. But it holds a real treasure within: A mosaic on the floor of the church, which dates back to the 6th century CE, shows the most important pilgrimage sites on both sides of the Jordan River.

During a cooking class, you will learn a lot about Jordan's simple cuisine before you finally make your way back to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Journey time: approx. 1.5 hours / 100 km

After breakfast, you will follow the King's Road again, this time to Kerak, a crusader castle. Built in 1140, it was the scene of a decisive battle of Saladin against the crusaders almost 40 years later. The castle served as a shield for the crusaders in the area around Jerusalem. The crusaders' defeat at Kerak paved the way for Saladin to take Jerusalem in 1187.

After a short drive south, you will reach Dana Village, on the edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, at noon. The open-air museum is located near a cliff. It offers fantastic views over the valley and the adjacent nature reserve. The 70 clay buildings of the small village are still partly inhabited today. The inhabitants are happy to introduce you to their life, culture, and traditions. On a hike through Nawatef, you will discover the ruins of the ancient city nestled between the high hills and the gently gushing spring of Nawatef.

After lunch, you will make your way to Petra, probably the most famous site in the country. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and is an essential attraction on any trip to Jordan. In the late afternoon, you will check-in at your hotel in the nearby town of Wadi Musa.

Journey time: approx. 4.5 hours / 360 km

2 nights at the Mövenpick Resort Petra***** with half board in the Classic Room, Wadi Musa, Jordan

Petra, the ancient capital of the Nabataean tribe, stands in a broad valley basin in the Edom Mountains, where early settlers established themselves over 10,000 years ago. Thanks to its strategic location, it was the crossroads of many caravan routes that connected Egypt with Syria and the Arabian Peninsula with the Mediterranean.

Besides the early inhabitants of the valley, it was mainly the Greeks and Romans who left their mark on the ancient city and the region. You can visit the remains of the Roman theater and other monuments from different cultures.

Even earlier than the Romans, the Nabataeans settled in the valley and left traces that are still preserved today. The Al-Khazneh, the king's treasury, is just one of the many buildings carved into the red rock, whose facades are magnificently decorated. On your privately guided tour of the valley, you will learn all about the history, significance, and inhabitants of this outstanding monument to early civilization.

In the late afternoon, you will return to your hotel in Wadi Musa.

Only about 15 minutes from Petra are the outposts of the ancient city, Little Petra and the Neolithic city of Beidha. A walk through the 8,000-year-old ruins of the flourishing trading post of Little Petra, at the gates of the city, awaits you. The remains of the Roman fort in Udruh are also worth a visit.

You will reach your desert camp in Wadi Rum in time for lunch. The picturesque natural landscape, which ranges from barren lunar landscapes to lush oases, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. On a three-hour drive in a 4x4 vehicle, you will learn how the Bedouins survive in this desert landscape and visit one of the locations of the famous film, "Lawrence of Arabia".

You will spend the night in one of the luxurious tents at Memories Aicha Luxury Camp. Sleep under the clearest starry sky you could imagine.

Travel time: approx. 2 hours / 135 km


1 night at Memories Aicha Luxury Camp**** with half board at a Panoramic Tent, Wadi Rum, Jordan

Sunrises in the desert are an extraordinary experience. The rising sun bathes the horizon and all the surrounding trees, bushes, and rocks in warm hues. And the colors are even more impressive from above - which you will find out for yourself on a 30-minute hot-air balloon ride over the vast landscape of Wadi Rum.

Around noon, you will arrive in Amman, where you will enjoy your lunch at the famous Windmill Restaurant. Afterward, you will take some time to have a closer look at the capital.

The origins of Amman go back to the Old Testament city of Rabbah, whose inhabitants called themselves Rabbat-Ammon. After the conquest of the region by Alexander the Great, Rabbah gained importance and named itself Philadelphia - after King Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Not much later, it even became a member of the Decapolis, one of the ten ruling cities in the east of the Roman Empire. To this day, many of the city's buildings bear witness to the rich culture and influences of this epoch. A visit to the Roman theater, the citadel, and the archaeological museum are on the program.

Back at the hotel, you will finally come together as a group for one last dinner and share your impressions and experiences of the day.

Duration of the trip: approx. 3.5 hours / 250 km


1 night at Landmark Hotel***** with half board in Premium Room, Amman, Jordan

You have walked in the footsteps of one of the oldest cultures in the world and visited sites of outstanding historical importance. But now it is time to say "goodbye". Your private driver will be waiting for you after check-out at the hotel and will take you to the airport.

Landmark Hotel *****, Amman, Jordan (3 nights)

This elegant and modern hotel in the diplomatic quarter of the city has a large outdoor pool, a first-class wellness center, and rooms with high-quality furnishings. Its central location, about 5 minutes from the Roman Theater, makes it ideal for exploring the city. With a total of six restaurants and bars, you will be spoiled for choice.

Ma'in Hot Springs Resort ****, Sowayma, Jordan (2 nights)

Located directly at the Ma'in hot springs, in the most scenic part of the region, the hotel offers a wide range of wellness services at the Cascade Spa and excellent service. The exclusive location at about 264 meters below sea level guarantees bathing temperatures almost all year round. The rooms are comfortably furnished and warm colors create a feel-good atmosphere.

Mövenpick Resort Petra *****, Petra, Jordan (2 nights)

The only 5-star hotel in Petra blends seamlessly into its surroundings. The overall concept of the hotel is based on authenticity and sustainability. The mix of Arab and modern influences is noticeable in many details. The center of Wadi Musa is within walking distance. Here you will find numerous local restaurants and shopping facilities.


Memories Aicha Luxury Camp ****, Wadi Rum, Jordan
(1 night)

Located in the heart of Wadi Rum, this luxury camp is one of the best in the region. The camp's location at the foot of a mountain, in the middle of the desert landscape, protects both from the sun and from stormy winds. The tents offer a cozy atmosphere and high-quality products. The camp is also an ideal base for exploring the impressive natural landscape of Wadi Rum.

Closest airport: Queen Alia International Airport

Duration of the trip: March 2021

Minimum number of participants: 2 people

Including

  • Meet & Greet at Amman airport
  • 8-night stay in the aforementioned accommodations
  • Catering according to program
  • English-speaking guide
  • Expert
  • All transfers
  • Entrance fees to all sites mentioned
  • 3-hour excursion in Wadi Rum
  • Nawatef Trail in Wadi Dana
  • Guided tour of Petra at night
  • Half board including 7x lunch
  • Hot-air balloon ride in Wadi Rum (approx. 50 minutes with pre-flight prep)

Activities included

  • Gerasa city tour
  • Ajloun Castle guided tour
  • Gadara city tour
  • Entrance to Qasr Amra
  • Cooking course near Mabada
  • Guided Nawatef Trail & Dana Biosphere Reserve hiking tour
  • Guided tour through Petra
  • 3-hour 4x4 Wadi Rum Tour

Excluding

  • International flights
  • Optional excursions
  • Airport fees on departure
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks during meals, if not explicitly mentioned
  • Voluntary tips
  • Luggage fees at the airport
  • Visa and possible fees

Services & Notes

  • Please note that as a US citizen, you will need a visa to enter Jordan.
  • In order to apply for a visa, you need a passport, which must be valid for at least 6 months on the day of departure from Jordan. In addition, concrete details of the arrival flight are required for the visa application. For further information, please contact your personal travel consultant.