Day 1 – Saturday 14th April 2012

Today we fly from London Heathrow Airport to Jordan with British Midland. On arrival we take our private transfer to the first-class Intercontinental Hotel in the heart of Amman. We check in for two nights on room and breakfast basis.


Day 2 – Jerash

After breakfast we visit the medieval town of Ajlun with its 12th Century hilltop fortress with beautifully preserved towers, galleries and staircases. We have a lunch at the Green Valley restaurant before continuing to the city of Jerash, one of the  most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. Standing on one of the ancient world’s trade routes the city has been inhabited for nearly five thousand years. (BL)


Day 3 – Dead Sea

A morning tour of the city including the Citadel, the Roman Theatre and the National Archaeology Museum. Then to The Dead Sea, at 400 metres below sea level this is the lowest point on earth. We check in to the Marriott Hotel for one night on room and breakfast basis. This afternoon there is free time to relax and enjoy the amazing natural elements of this sea so devoid of life. (B)


Day 4 – To Petra

Our day begins with the ride to Mt Nebo where there are magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Here Moses looked over the Jordan River towards Palestine, across the Sinai towards the Promised Land. We stop in the city of Madaba where we see the mosaic map of the Holy Land. Our journey continues through the Wadi Mujib, Jordan’s Grand Canyon, where we will stop to study the geology and take photographs. Lunch today will be at Kerak where we will explore the ruins of the castle with its seemingly insurmountable defences. Late afternoon we arrive at Petra and check in to the Marriott Petra Hotel for three nights on room and breakfast basis. (BL)


Day 5 – Petra 1
Today we are to experience one of the most stunning archaeological experiences, the Siq. This long narrow chasm leads into Petra, and we will see the magnificent Treasury through a giant fissure in the rock. Our walk today will begin at the Treasury, Royal Tombs, and the Theatre. After taking lunch at the Basin Restaurant, those who wish to, can join us and ascend the long staircase up to the Monastery, el Deir. Five minutes further and you reach ‘the view at the end of the world’. Alternatively, take more time to gently wander the city itself. (BL)


Day 6 – Petra 2
We walk back through the Siq into Petra, The Rose Red City and then climb the long staircase leading to the High Place of Sacrifice. In the distance, we can see Aaron’s tomb and the mountains beyond. We then descend into the Wadi Farasa and the most beautiful colour sandstone formations to be found in Petra. Here, too, we find the Garden Tomb and the Roman Soldier Tomb. We return to the hotel for a lunch time rest before a late afternoon visit to view isolated Shobak Castle as the sun sets over the mountains. (B)


Day 7 – To Wadi Rum
Our day begins at Little Petra, with its myriad of rock chambers and cisterns to explore, and Beidha a Neolithic village. A picnic lunch before heading to the famous Wadi Rum. We transfer to local vehicles and head in to the Wadi itself, stopping at Lawrence’s Well, the Seven Pillars and much more. We spend the night in the desert in a comfortable private camp and our dinner will be in a Bedouin tent under the desert stars. (BLD)


Day 8 – To Egypt
This morning, we drive to Aqaba where we will have lunch in a local restaurant. Then we board the ferry to cross the Red Sea for Nuweiba and Egypt, for the second week of our tour. On arrival we check in to the Nuweiba Hotel for one night on half board basis. (BLD)


Day 9 – Colour Canyon
After breakfast we set out to explore some of the most magnificent rock formations in the world, starting with Coloured Canyon. Next we take the track to Ain Hudra, an oasis with gardens of date palms surrounded by steep mountains and cliffs. A picnic lunch today before continuing towards St Catherines. We see some of the tombs known as Nawamis, dating back five thousand years. We spend the night at St Catherine’s Monastery Guest House close to the walls of the monastery itself. (BLD)


Day 10 – Gebel Moussa
A very early start this morning, to climb to the summit of Mount Sinai in time for the sunrise. After breakfast back at the guest house we visit the historic monastery. Then we drive through Wadi Feran and have a picnic lunch in the lush oasis. On to Wadi Mukattab, where the steep rocky walls are home to ancient writing and graffiti mostly dating to the time of the Nabateans. This evening we return to St Catherine’s Monastery Guest House for the night. (BLD)


Day 11– Serabit el Khadim
To Serabit where we climb the rocky outcrop to view the famous Temple of Hathor and ancient turquoise mines. On returning to the cars we visit Wadi Maghara, where we find the main seam of turquoise-bearing rock. The inscriptions bear testament to the importance of the turquoise and copper found in this area. After a picnic lunch we drive to Gebel Fuga with one of the most interesting geological oddities of Sinai, the Forest of Pillars. We then head to the coast for the night at the Green House Hotel Suez. (BLD)


Day 12 – Faiyum
This morning we continue our journey and take the road to Cairo but bypass the city and head for the Faiyum and Lake Qarun. We have a picnic lunch and explore the Lake before arriving at our hotel The Auberge, where we check in for two nights. (BLD)


Day 13 – Valley of the Whales
A day in the Western Desert looking at the power of wind and water on the landscape while visiting the Wadi el Hitan Protected Area and the Valley of the Whales. We view the fossil remains of mammals and vegetation left in the sediment as the Tethys Sea receded. We have a picnic lunch while exploring the lakes and a Saharan waterfall in the Wadi el Ryan. (BLD)


Day 14 – North Shore
This morning to the north shore of the lake and the temple at Qasr el Sagha before heading to Dimai with its processional way known as the Avenue of Lions. We have lunch and then continue to Karanis, Kom Ushim, an ancient city founded by the Ptolemies in the 3rd Century BC where we see Roman baths and temples dedicated to Sobek. This afternoon to Cairo where we check in to the Iberotel for one night on room and breakfast basis. (BL)


Day 15 – Saturday 28th April

This morning the short drive to Cairo Airport where we board our EgyptAir flight to London. (B)


Expert: Colin is a Chartered Geologist whose studies have focused on issues as diverse as the age of the Great Sphinx, the geological evolution of the Egyptian landmass, pyramid building, ancient quarrying techniques and the rich mineral wealth of Egypt’s Eastern Desert. 


(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner