Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 18
Accommodation: 3 to 5-star hotels, sleeper train, felucca sailboat & Bedouin camp
Transport: AC minivan/minibus & Bedouin jeep
Highlights: Jordan's desert castles, Jerash Roman ruins, Ajloun & Shobak castles, Dead Sea swim, Dana Nature Reserve, Petra tour, Wadi Rum safari & camp, Pyramids & Sphinx, Philae temple, Felucca cruise, Valley of the Kings, Karnak temple.
This two-week Jordan and Egypt tour is packed full of iconic highlights mixed in with some different activities and experiences to really bring these fascinating countries to life.
We start in Jordan with a tour into the desert to discover some of Jordan's famous Umayyad 'Desert Castles', before exploring Downtown Amman on foot, trying local food, walking through the markets and learning some simple Arabic phrases for the tour ahead. Next we head north to visit of the best preserved Roman cities in the region at Jerash, and then seeing the imposing Ajloun castle and taking a short hike through the surrounding hills and forests to some Bronze Age dolmens. A night in a friendly local village homestay follows before we descend to the Dead Sea for a swim and float in its incredibly salty waters.
Another beautiful walk follows as we explore the surroundings of the restored Dana village amidst the hills and canyons of the Dana Nature Reserve on a stop en-route to Jordan's biggest highlight, the hidden city of Petra. We have a full day to explore the site and then head into the desert sands and towering cliffs of Wadi Rum where we'll camp with the Bedouins and learn about their nomadic desert lifestyle.
The tour then flies to Egypt to start our exploration of the country's Pharaonic history and Nile Valley. We'll tour the Pyramids, Sphinx and Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and take a boat trip to the beautiful Philae temple in Aswan. Then we take to the Nile on a traditional felucca sailboat for a relaxing overnight cruise down the river, watching rural Egyptian life pass us by as we chat with the friendly Nubian crew. We'll sleep on the deck of the boat, with a hotel upgrade available for those who want some more comfort.
Our final guided sightseeing is then in Luxor, home to one of the largest concentrations of ancient monuments in the world. We'll see the huge columned temples and halls at Karnak, delve into the Pharaonic tombs in the Valley of the Kings, see the imposing temple of Queen Hatchepsut and walk around Luxor temple as it is beautifully lit up at night.
Finally we take the sleeper train back to Cairo where this tour will come to an end after a walk through the back streets of the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar.
After arriving at Queen Alia International Airport just outside Amman, one of our staff members will be there to meet and greet you before transferring you to your hotel in Amman. You have the rest of the day free to relax in your hotel or to start exploring Amman.
Extra day in Amman - pre-tour
Single room supplement (JOSGJE18)
Your first full day of our Jordan tour starts after breakfast, as we make our way to Jordan's famous 'desert castles', before we head out on a city tour of its capital - Amman.
Jordan's desert castles are located on the old trade routes created during the Umayyad era and still house some of its ancient remnants including frescoes, bath houses and wells - giving us great insight into how they were built during the 7th and 8th centuries. We'll explore the desert castles of Qasr al-Kharrana, Qal'at al-Azraq and Qseirr Amra before we head back to Amman for lunch at a local eatery, with falafel and hummus on the menu.
After lunch, we'll explore downtown Amman on foot, visiting the impressive Amphitheatre, the Jordan Folklore Museum as well as the Citadel. We'll also visit some of Amman's busy markets, tasting Knafeh - a tasty sweet - while our guide teaches us some basic Arabic greetings and phrases to use during our Jordan tour.
If there's time left, we may visit a few traditional handcraft and art galleries, before we return to our hotel in Amman.
Leaving Amman this morning, we head north to the ancient city of Jerash - known for being one of the largest and well-preserved Greco-Roman cities outside of Europe. Once we arrive in Jerash, we'll visit the Forum, explore its Roman colonnaded streets, the Nymphaeum and the Temple of Artemis - built on one of the highest points in the city.
From Jerash, we'll make our way to Aljoun Castle, built by the Ayyubids in the 12th century and extended by the Mamluks in the 13th. It also served as the base for Saladin's Arab forces when he defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century. The countryside of the Ajloun Forest Reserve around the castle is picturesque and green and a popular place for avid hikers, with its hills, mountains and forests just waiting to be explored.
After a visit to Aljoun Castle, we head to the village of Rasoun to meet our homestay hosts for the night. After settling in and being shown through the village, we'll walk through hills covered with scrub and forest to see some Bronze Age Dolmens - which are megalithic tombs formed by placing a huge stone slab atop two or more standing stones.
We'll return to our homestay in Rasoun this evening, where we'll be treated to a home-cooked traditional Arabic meal which will be prepared by our host Jordanian family, and we spend the evening chatting with them about life in Jordan.
After a splendid night with the Jordanian family, we say goodbye after a shared breakfast and head south to Madaba, where we'll marvel at the Byzantine mosaics and the 'Madaba Map' - which is the oldest preserved map of the Holy Land. From Madaba, we'll make our way to Mount Nebo, the place where the prophet Moses looked across the Promised Land and is also his burial place. On a clear day, which is most of the time, you get great views towards Jericho and beyond from here.
After a tasty lunch, we'll make our way down to our resort right on the banks of the Dead Sea, where you have some free time to swim - or rather float - in its incredibly salty waters and to relax by the hotel pool. Don't forget a newspaper or magazine for your iconic Dead Sea photo!
Dead Sea Spa Resort
Today, we'll make our way down the Dead Sea coastline, passing lots of deep canyons and gorges as they meet the sea. After we pass some salt flats at the southern end of the Dead Sea we head up through the mountains towards Petra, stopping for a short walk in the beautiful scenery and hills of the Dana Biosphere Reserve along the way. This is Jordan's largest nature reserve, and there are great views of the valleys and hills on the various trails around the restored Dana village. Spring is a particularly lovely time to visit with the terrain surprisingly green and full of flowers. We'll stop for lunch and take a walk before continuing to the imposing crusader castle at Shobak, finally arriving at Petra in the evening.
You have the option for a spectacular and atmospheric introduction to Petra tonight, with the Petra by Night tour. Here you walk through the Siq to the Treasury, the whole way being atmospherically lit up by hundreds of candles.
Today is all about exploring the Nabatean site of Petra. It was once the ancient capital of the Nabataean commercial empire until the Romans finally took over in 106AD. For a long period of time, Petra was forgotten - except by the local Bedouins - before it was rediscovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Petra can be found at the edge of the Wadi Aruba desert, where canyon walls and towering hills make it virtually impossible to reach, except via a narrow cleft in the rock, known as the Siq. There are very few free-standing buildings in Petra, as the Nabateans chose to carve their dwellings into the multi coloured sandstone cliffs. Petra has become one of Jordan's main tourist attractions and the Jordanian Government is well aware of this. The tourism infrastructure in the adjoining village of Wadi Musa is booming, though, thankfully, once you enter through the Siq, the site is protected, there aren't that many touts or souvenir sellers, and all the building feels miles away.
We have most of the day available today to explore this ancient city (2-3 hour guided tour, then free time to explore independently). We start by making our way through the Siq, which rises to 200 metres above us and narrows to just 2 metres wide in certain sections. Keep an eye out for the ancient Nabatean water channel which is still visible on one wall and there are remnants of the terracotta pipes that brought water into the city as well. We'll turn a corner and suddenly - one of the most familiar sights of Petra will be in front of you - 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 also discuss the spiritual significance of the building style.
From the Treasury, the valley opens out, and you'll see tombs carved into the rock on both sides. You'll get a glimpse of the ruined Roman amphitheatre and colonnaded streets and during your free time, you can walk up a steep and narrow winding gorge to the towering 'Monastery' - which is 50 metres high and 45 metres wide, giving you breath-taking views of the Wadi Aruba desert and the Jordan Valley. Another climb takes you to the High Place of Sacrifice, and Lion Fountain. All in all, this is a full and tiring exercise, but hugely rewarding day touring one of the world's most famous ancient sites.
Walking distances today are an absolute minimum of 3km through the Siq to the Treasury and back and to see a few tombs, 8km to take the trail on as far as the main basin, plus an additional few km to the Monastery and back (over 800 steps up and down). For those with less mobility or who are worried about the distance, horse carriages are available for around 20JD (USD 28) to take you on the 1.2km journey through the Siq to the Treasury and back again at an agreed time. They will also take you further in through the site for an extra fee. We do not recommend riding the horses that are available. Donkeys are available for the steps up to the Monastery - if you want to use them, we'd reommend doing this on the way up, not on the way down.
Later 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.
Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
After breakfast in the camp, we take a jeep safari through the sands and beneath the towering 'jebels' of Wadi Rum, stopping to climb sand dunes and to see some of the strange rock formations, including a spectacular rock bridge.
We'll also do some local activities inspired from the Bedouin traditions, walking with a local shepherd with his sheep and goats to a Bedouin tent where we'll participate in making lunch.
We can also join in and learn about other traditional Bedouin activities such as shearing the sheep & goats' hair, milking, grinding grains, making bread and roasting coffee until our lunch is ready. Finally, after really getting a feel for nomadic Bedouin life, we return by jeep to our camp and then drive north on the Desert Highway back to Amman. If you would like to add a few days to your tour and spend some time by the Red Sea, then an extension to Aqaba is available after you finish in Wadi Rum.
This evening we'll walk out to a coffee shop or cafe near our hotel in Downtown Amman to enjoy a shisha, a game of backgammon and to reminisce on our Jordan tour.
Your time is free in Amman today until we pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for flight to Egypt. On arrival in Cairo you're met and transferred to your hotel where our rep will help you settle in and introduce you to the local area.
Cairo 5-star hotel
Our tour of Egypt begins with a trip to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. Home to the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibit the museum hosts a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts. One of our local Egyptologist guides will be accompanying you on this and all of your other sightseeing tours, and you'll find them a wealth of knowledge and full of enthusiasm about Egyptian history, and their country in general. Following on from the museum we then head to Giza on the outskirts of Cairo to visit the Sphinx and the three great pyramids of Egypt. At 500 feet high and 750 feet wide at its base the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is an awesome man-made structure constructed of giant stone blocks with a hard limestone casing. The casing has, over the years, been stripped away to leave exposed the inner block structure. Together with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the majestic sight of these enormous structures rising out of the desert is a breathtaking spectacle. You will have the opportunity to climb down right inside the pyramids if you wish, though your guide cannot accompany you (a limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid).
This evening we transfer to the station for the overnight sleeper train to Aswan (approx. 12 hours).
On board train
Internal flights upgrade
This morning we arrive in Aswan and transfer to our hotel overlooking the Nile which is at its most picturesque here, with cascading rapids, lush green islands, and feluccas sailing to and fro. Aswan itself is a melting pot of African and Middle Eastern cultures, most easily experienced by wandering through the busy markets. It's also part of the ancient region of Nubia, which comprised parts of present day southern Egypt and northern Sudan around the Nile rivers. Many descendants of the Nubian people still live here and we'll visit a local Nubian village to see their colourful houses, simple way of life and to enjoy a traditional lunch.
We continue our tour this afternoon with a visit the Temple of Philae, a beautiful island complex dedicated to Isis and reclaimed from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, which we reach by a scenic boat ride. The evening is then free to look around Aswan's spice and general markets, and to walk up and down the popular Corniche, on the banks of the Nile. An option is also available to take a camel ride through the sands on the far bank of the Nile to St. Simeon's monastery. If you've chosen the Abu Simbel option then head to bed early this evening to be ready for a very early start tomorrow morning.
Aswan 5 star hotel
This morning we have the option of taking an early start for the drive to the UNESCO world heritage site at Abu Simbel. These amazing temples built by Ramses II are one of Egypt's main highlights and attractions. Those not visiting Abu Simbel can explore Aswan's markets this morning, walk up and down the Corniche on the banks of the river or visit the Nubian Museum which has a fascinating collection covering the development of the Nubian people in the region.
We board our traditional Nile felucca at lunchtime to enjoy an afternoon sailing down the Nile. Floating down the Nile on a felucca is one of Egypt's most enjoyable activities and you'll be able to watch local rural Egyptian life pass you by on the banks of the river as you drift past. Our Nubian crew will sail the boat and entertain you on the way, as well as preparing meals for you. Our separate facilities boat will join with us from time to time during the day and moor up with us at night. This boat has a welcome toilet and showers on board as well as a hygienic kitchen where the crew will prepare a delicious evening meal. You sleep on the deck of the boat tonight (mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided). You can upgrade your upcoming felucca sailboat trip to an additional night in the Aswan hotel, and in this case you'll spend tonight in Aswan and re-join the group tomorrow morning when they leave the Felucca at Komombo. All other touring remains the same.
On board felucca
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Abu Simbel overland
Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan
After breakfast on-board we bid farewell to our felucca crew and visit the nearby temple Edfu before continuing on north to Luxor. The town of Luxor is built on and around the ancient site of Thebes, and boasts the largest concentration of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley, if not the world. To the west of the Nile lies the City of the Dead, with its mortuary temples and rock-hewn tombs, whilst to the east lie the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. This evening we'll take a walking tour of the smaller Luxor Temple which is right in the middle of town and beautifully lit up at night.
We cross the Nile early this morning to begin our tour of Luxor’s West Bank. Home to the Valley of the Kings, the dusty tombs in this ancient burial site are still revealing their secrets today and so it remains one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Our tour includes several of these Pharaonic tombs, as well as the temples of Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu, and the huge Colossi of Memnon.
A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is available this morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).
Your afternoon is then free to relax and enjoy the facilities of your 5-star hotel on the banks of the Nile. You can also explore Luxor further, do some shopping or browsing in the market, visit the mummification museum or enjoy a felucca trip to nearby Banana Island. Additional sightseeing is also available if you'd like an even more in depth exploration of Egyptian history. For example, the Rammesseum, Workers Village and Valley of the Queens on the west bank of the Nile are all worth a visit. Your tour guide will be happy to arrange any extra visits for you (an extra cost will apply to cover transport, entrances and the guide's services).
Hot air balloon in Luxor
Your morning is free today and you can enjoy a welcome lie in after several early starts. After lunch we'll tour the huge temple complex at Karnak , once the religious centre of Thebes and Upper Egypt. It was linked to Luxor by an extensive avenue, lined with sphinxes, and the whole complex was in turn linked to the Nile via a canal through which moved the sacred boats of the god Amun. Entering through a smaller sphinx-lined avenue, built by Ramesses II, you come to the immense pylon entrance. Inside the huge Courtyard are three chapels dedicated to the gods Amun, Khous and Mut. The remarkable Hypostyle Hall has 134 towering columns, each carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and hieroglyphic inscriptions adorn the walls.
Later this evening we transfer to the station for the overnight sleeper train back to Cairo (approx. 9 hours).
On board sleeper train
Hot air balloon in Luxor
We arrive back into Cairo this morning and transfer to our hotel. Most of the day is then free to explore Cairo as you choose or you may take an optional tour. These include a city tour in Cairo which visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, or a half day tour to Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis to learn more about the history and evolution of pyramid building. Other full day options further afield include a visit to the colonnial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.
In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We'll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt's unofficial national dish, Kushari before returning to the hotel.
Alexandria day trip
Cairo city tour
Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)
Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis
Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight.
Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - pre-tour
Regular small-group departures run throughout the year and the tour can also be booked privately on any other date and customised to fit your personal requirements.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Al Qasr Metropole
Located in the Shmeisani area of Amman, the Al Qasr Metropole is often regarded as one of the best 4-star hotels in the city.
The hotel offers guests comfortable and well-appointed rooms which feature flat-screen TV's, en-suite facilities, free WiFi and some rooms also feature a balcony with city views. In addition to spacious, modern rooms, the hotel has a choice of 4-restaurants to choose from and a cocktail bar.
This is a friendly local homestay in Rasoun village near Ajloun Castle. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. Bathrooms are separate and shared. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable and very welcoming experience.
This is a friendly local homestay in Rasoun village, near to Ajloun Castle and the RSCN's Ajloun Forest Reserve. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. There are a number of homes in the village that will accommodate guests, so depending on our final group size we may split across several houses. We will all eat together in one house with the hosts. All beds and bedding are provided. Bathrooms are separate and shared but quite basic. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable, and very welcoming experience with good food and interesting insights into local village life in rural Jordan. The RSCN's Soap House is also nearby and worth a visit. Here local women use a variety of local natural ingredients, including lavender, geranium, mint and pomegranate, to create high-quality handmade natural olive oil soaps.
Dead Sea Spa Resort
The Dead Sea Spa hotel is a comfortable resort style hotel located on the banks of the Red Sea. Access to the Dead Sea itself is directly from the hotel, with spa treatments and Dead Sea mud to lather yourselves with before swimming also available.
The Dead Sea Spa hotel is a comfortable resort style hotel located on the banks of the Red Sea, around 1 hour's drive from Amman and Amman airport. There are several pools, and the hotel has great direct access into the Dead Sea itself, with the famous Dead Sea mud available on the beach to lather yourself with before swimming (if you wish!). Various treatments are also available in the hotel spa. Meals are generally buffet style with a good selection of different options including several vegetarian options. There are more luxurious 5-star resorts on the Dead Sea, but we feel the Dead Sea Spa hotel provides an very good mid-range option, ideal for short stays.
This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location on the desert sands against the cliffs in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Accommodation is in permanent goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. The food is generally excellent.
This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location and setting on the desert sands right up against the cliffs within the Wadi Rum Protected Area. We like it for its spectacular and remote location well away from the main road, and for the excellent food and friendly welcome the Bedouin hosts always provide.
Accommodation is in permanent traditional goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. We book the standard tents with shared bathrooms, though some en-suite tents are also available and subject to availability you can upgrade to these locally if you wish. You can also bring a sleeping bag if you wish, and find a sheltered spot on the rocks on the edge of the camp and sleep under the stars.
WiFi is available throughout the camp. Meals are traditionally cooked, with a delicious underground 'BBQ' prepared nearly every night. Alcohol is not available.
Sunrise and sunset camel rides are available to book locally (around US$30).
Petra Elite Hotel
Located in Wadi Musa, just 1.2km from Petra, the Petra Elite Hotel offers guests comfortable 4-star accommodation.
The 4-star Petra Elite hotel offers rooms featuring private bathroom, safety deposit box, TV and many rooms offer city views of Wadi Musa. The hotel also features an onsite restaurant, bar and indoor swimming pool.
Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel
It features two pools, several restaurants and bars, free WiFi, a spa and fitness centre, and both classic and family rooms. The rooms overlook the gardens and feature air-conditioning, TVs, safes, and minibars. The hotel offers an airport shuttle.
Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel is a 5-star establishment located on the doorstep of one of the most famous landmarks in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza. Modern yet classic, the hotel is set amongst leafy gardens. It has been recently taken over and upgraded by Steigenberger, and now offers improved service and standards. Free WiFi is offered throughout the hotel, and there are two swimming pools. Several bars and restaurants are situated on site, serving a variety of flavours from around the world, as well as offering a taste of local cuisine. A wellness centre features modern fitness equipment and machines, while the spa offers a variety of treatments to help you relax after a day of touring.
Accommodation is offered in the form of classic rooms, as well as family suites. The classic rooms are available with either double or twin beds, and look out onto the gardens. The family rooms can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children. Amenities in all rooms include en-suite bathrooms, TVs, minibars, safes, and air-conditioning. There are also several bungalow-style rooms set within the gardens.
The hotel’s location is ideal, just 3km from the Pyramids and the Sphinx and directly opposite the New Egyptian Grand Museum. Two international airports are within driving distance, and a shuttle service is available on request. Choose from a variety of landmarks and sites to visit in the surrounding regions.
Cairo, Luxor & Aswan
On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included.
On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included. The carriage steward will make up and put away your beds in the evening and morning. All transfers between your hotel and the station are also included (these may well be separate to the main group if train times are very different on your dates). Single cabin supplements apply.
Note: We can arrange an internal flight upgrade for anyone not wishing to use the sleeper train.
Tolip Aswan Hotel
Tolip Aswan Hotel overlooks the Nile and sits close to several tourist sites. Rooms have en-suite bathrooms, TVs, minibars, WiFi, and balconies with river views. Facilities include a pool, bar, gym, and sauna.
The Tolip Aswan Hotel (formerly the Helnan) is located in downtown Aswan, on the banks of the Nile River. It comprises 195 air-conditioned rooms, each featuring en-suite bathrooms, satellite TVs, minibars, and furnished balconies with river views. In-room WiFi access is also available. An array of facilities is on offer, including a pool, bar, gym, sauna, massage treatments, children’s playground, and 24-hour front desk. The hotel is within close driving distance of several tourist sites including Philae Temple, the Unfinished Obelisk and the Nubian Museum, and is also a short drive from Aswan International Airport.
Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and make for an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to travel down the river.
Feluccas are simple boats without cabins or electricity and you sleep on deck on mattresses with blankets and cushions provided. Canvas walls, mosquito netting and a roof are erected at night. You may want to bring a sleeping bag or extra blanket during the winter months (November to February) when it can get cold a night. Mosquito repellent is recommended for the evenings and early mornings, and wearing long sleeves at night is a good idea. Life jackets are provided for non-swimmers. Unfortunately, swimming in the Nile is not recommended both for health reasons and due to the strong currents - there are pools to enjoy in your Aswan and Luxor hotels.
Our Nubian crew will man the boat and prepare & cook all your meals on board or on our facilities boat. The food is simple but varied and filling and they will also serve Egyptian tea and Nubian cake. Water, soft drinks and beer can also be purchased. You keep a tally of what you've had and then pay for them at the end of the trip. The crew will also entertain you in the evenings when we may sing songs or just sit and chat around a camp fire.
Feluccas are dependent on the wind, and occasionally if the winds are too light or strong we may need to adjust the itinerary slightly.
Our new facilities boat makes the whole felucca experience more enjoyable, with a clean toilet and hot showers on board, as well as massage beds and a hygienic kitchen.
The boat doesn't shadow the felucca all the way, as we don’t want to spoil the peaceful experience of sailing down the Nile. It will however join up with you as and when required through the day and moor with you at night.
As well as the toilet, showers and kitchen facilities, there is also a sun deck where traditional Nubian massages are available.
The boat also helps us ensure that we do our bit to protect the Nile and its surroundings. Over the years, some areas on the banks of the Nile have been somewhat spoiled by the number of people staying overnight on feluccas and not using proper toilet tents or being respectful to their local environment.
We've had some great feedback from travellers using the boat so far, and we feel it really improves the experience of what is already many people's highlight of their trip to Egypt.
Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel
This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor.
Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.
This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor. The hotel has views of the Nile and the Valley of the Kings on the opposite bank. The outdoor pool, restaurants, cafes and shops are all located in a central courtyard area.
The location and the high standards within the hotel make this one of our first choice hotels for stays in Luxor on our small-group tours, and for private & tailor-made trips (together with the Sonesta St. George hotel).
The hotel is centrally located next to the Nile in the heart of the tourist area of Luxor with shops and bazaars within a short walk. It is just 1.5 kilometres from the train station and 10 kilometres/15 minutes from Luxor International airport.
The hotel offers excellent standards of accommodation and the rooms are spacious and modern. The 302 rooms and suites are located on 6 floors built around the courtyard. The standard rooms overlook Luxor or the courtyard area and upgrades to Nile view rooms are available on request for a small supplement. There are also disabled and non-smoking rooms available.
All rooms have deluxe en-suite bathroom, private balcony, air-conditioning, Satellite TV, mini-bar, safety deposit box, telephone, hairdryer and electrical sockets.
The hotel has a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. The main hotel restaurant is the Nubia which is open from 6.00-10.00 am for breakfast and then 6.00-10.00pm for dinner, serving local and international dishes. There are two other restaurants within the hotel which are open for both lunch and dinner. These are the Casa de Napoli Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta and El Tarboush serving Lebanese dishes.
For light meals and snacks during the day there is the Tropicana poolside bar and the Cafe des Delices which is located in the courtyard.
In the evening there is the Nile bar & lounge, which is open until 2.00am, and you can enjoy views of the Nile while trying out the various cocktails on offer.
Pasha's Pub also has views of the Nile and has regular evening entertainment.
The freeform outdoor pool which is heated in winter has views of the River Nile and the Valley of the Kings and is the perfect place to relax after a day spent sightseeing or exploring Luxor. Guests also have free use of the leisure centre and gym within the hotel and other activities such as golf are available nearby. The are various shops within the hotel including gift and souvenir shops, a beauty salon and foreign exchange services.
Other services include:
Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino
The Sheraton Cairo is located in Cairo's Dokki district, close to the Egyptian Museum. It consists of a casino, night club, and 5-star hotel. The hotel offers a full range of services and amenities, as well as fully-equipped luxury rooms.
Sheraton Cairo Hotel and Casino is a 5-star establishment found in the Dokki district of Cairo. A number of attractions are close by, including the Egyptian Museum. Included among the many facilities and amenities are a spa, fitness centre, sauna, library, and indoor and outdoor pools. Rooms are fully-equipped and feature mini bars, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary toiletries. The hotel offers several services, including 24-hour room service, a turndown service, and a paid airport shuttle.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
The hotels used on this tour are rated at the 3 and 4-star level in Jordan, and 5-star level in Egypt. This gradual increase is intentional to improve your comfort as your time away goes on. Local star ratings may vary from international standards but we ensure we use some of the best hotels available at the level stated. Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will have a private double room.
A friendly local homestay is included for one night in Rasoun village. Accommodation here is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. There are a number of homes in the village that will accommodate guests, so depending on our final group size we may split across several houses. We will all eat together in one house with the hosts, who will also provide a tour of the village. All beds and bedding are provided. Bathrooms are separate and shared but quite basic. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable, and very welcoming experience with good food and interesting insights into local village life in rural Jordan.
In Wadi Rum we use a Bedouin camp located inside the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Accommodation is in permanent traditional goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. Bathrooms are separate, though some en-suite tents are also available and subject to availability you can upgrade to these locally if you wish. You can also bring a sleeping bag if you wish, and find a sheltered spot on the rocks on the edge of the camp and sleep under the stars.
Please see the Felucca note for more information on the overnight Nile felucca cruise.
One night is also included on a sleeper train in Egypt (see Transport).Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.
Many of Egypt and Jordan's hotels arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.
This tour features an overnight felucca cruise. Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and are a fun and relaxing way to travel down the river. You sleep on the deck of the boat (mattresses and some blankets are provided, but we suggest that you bring a sleeping sheet, blanket or light sleeping bag during the winter months of November-February). There are no toilet facilities on board, but you will be joined several times each day and at night by our support boat where a toilet and warm showers will be available. Mosquito nets are provided for use while you are sleeping but you should bring mosquito repellent for the evenings and early mornings. Your Nubian boat crew will cook all your meals while on board and entertain you in the evenings.
If you would prefer some more comfort in place of the felucca cruise, then an upgrade to an extra night in the hotel in Amman is available. You then rejoin the group the next morning after they finish on the felucca, and carry on with them to Luxor.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour.
In Jordan we use private AC minivans/minibuses for all the transfers and journeys throughout the tour, depending on the number of travellers in the group. The jeeps used in Wadi Rum are provided by the local Bedouins we work with, and while suitable for your desert safari, they may fall below the normal safety and quality standards for vehicles we use during the rest of our tours.
In Egypt we again use AC minivans/minibuses/coaches, many of which are fitted with speed limiters, and all are inspected and checked daily.
For the overnight train journey from Cairo to Aswan (approx. 12 hrs) and Luxor-Cairo (appprox. 9 hrs) this tour uses the overnight sleeper train. This train has private twin berth cabins with large seats and fold-down beds with sheets, pillow & blanket. The lockable cabins also have a washbasin and storage cupboard, and an airline tray-style evening meal and breakfast is included. If you wish you may upgrade this journey to an internal flight.
Amman to flight
The connecting flight from Cairo to Amman is not included in the price of this tour. It is left out of the set tour price as it is sometimes more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to assist with all your flights, just the Amman-Cairo flight, or none of them at all, whichever works best for you. Direct flights are available with both Egypt Air and Royal Jordanian Airlines. To try to keep the group together we recommend Egypt Air flight MS720 which departs Amman between 09.30 and 10.30, though if necessary you can fly at other times too - all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.
Our Egypt and Jordan tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Amman and Cairo airports, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers.
On arrival in Jordan our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Amman airport, before passport control. They will assist with visa formalities and then help you with your luggage and take you to your hotel.
On arrival in Egypt, our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Cairo airport before you get to passport control. They will assist with visa formalities before helping you collect your luggage and taking you to your hotel.
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
On our Shoestring group tours we do offer optional hotel upgrades in Jordan. This may mean that additional pick-up and drop-offs are required each day. We do endeavour to ensure that all hotels used are close to each other and to streamline and time arrangements to limit any extra driving time as much as possible.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.
On tours combining Jordan and Egypt we do not include the connecting flight between the two countries in the tour price (normally between Amman (AMM) and Cairo (CAI) - see the inclusions/exclusions or extension option sections for details). This flight can often be built into your main international flight ticket, or we may be able to book this flight for you separately if you prefer - please contact us and we will advise you on available airlines, times and prices.
We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued.
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket.
We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There's no point in us providing great guides if you've got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, on our small group tours we won't ever put you in a full size coach packed with other people and just one guide. Having a smaller group size also allows us to stay in more interesting accommodation, like the homestay in Rasoun, and to include some activities and experiences that just wouldn't be possible with large numbers.
This tour has a minimum group size of 2, and maximum of 14 for the Jordan section, and 18 in Egypt where we may join with other travellers doing one of our Egypt only tours.
To accompany you on the tour in Jordan we provide an English speaking local tour leader/driver and specialist guides in Jerash, Amman and Petra. Groups of 5 or more will have both a driver and a professional guide throughout the trip. In Egypt a professional Egyptologist guide will accompany you for all the tours in Cairo, and then from Aswan to Luxor. We also have representatives in all the major towns/cities en-route who will look after the practical arrangements for the tour.
At Encounters Travel we only use local Jordanian and Egyptian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
This tour includes several walks or hikes in Jordan and while you do not need to be super fit by any means, you should bring suitable footwear.
In the Ajloun Forest Reserve we will hike through scrubland and forest for several hours in the afternoon. The guide will vary the route and duration of the walk based on how everyone is feeling and the current weather.
In Dana Biosphere Reserve we'll take a short walk through the hills around the restored Dana village. Trails are generally always dry and a little rocky but we won't be taking one of the longer more challenging hikes here.
In Petra, you will be doing a lot of walking to explore the site. The minimum distance you'll walk, from the entrance to the Siq, through the Siq to the Treasury, through the site to the Theatre and Byzantime church, and then back out again, is around 8km. If you would like to hike up to the Monastery, or High Place of Sacrifice, you should expect to add another 2 or 3km, much of it up or down. You can take everything at your own pace, but do be prepared for a long day. Again comfortable walking shoes and a daypack are required.
There are no walks of similar durations on the Egypt section of the tour. However, access on and off the feluccas is by way of planks and steps, and you do need to be fairly mobile for this part of the trip.
The tour price does not include entrance fees to the sites visited on the tour.
We strongly recommend that you purchase a Jordan Pass prior to your travel to Jordan. This is a special package that has been designed by the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for tourists visiting Jordan. As well as including a discounted package of entrance fees covering all the sites in Jordan that you will visit on this tour (plus many others), the Jordan Pass also provides free downloadable digital brochures on each attraction, plus a free tourist visa for entering the country (40JD if obtained on arrival in Jordan).
The cost for the Jordan Wanderer Pass suitable for this tour is JD70 (approx. US$99). Passes are available by completing a simple online form before you travel, taking care to make sure your passport details are entered correctly as this doubles as your visa application. Your Jordan Pass will then be emailed to you as a pdf document, which you should print out and bring with you. You will then need to show this print out at the immigration desk on arrival in Jordan to obtain your free entry visa, and also at each attraction where it will be scanned to confirm your entry. Obtain your Jordan Pass here
Please check the Exclusions section above for a guide to the amount you should allow for this tour as these do vary from time to time(a 50% discount for minors or ISIC card holders is also often, but not always available). Your guide will be happy to collect payment for all the entrance fees at the start of the tour, and pay them for you as you go along if you wish.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
To promote tourism to the country, the Jordanian government has designed the Jordan Pass. This provides adults of most nationalities with a free single entry Jordan visa (for stays of 3 nights or more), a discounted package of entrance fees, and free digital brochures for the various sites in Jordan. Please check the Jordan Pass tour note for more information.
Double or multi entry visas for Jordan are no longer available and you will need to arrange two visas if you are doing a combination tour (eg. with Egypt and/or Israel) that visits Jordan more than once. Exceptions may occur if you are crossing to and from Israel via the King Hussein Bridge - please contact us for details.
If you wish to arrange your visa separately in advance, or if your stay will be shorter than four days/3 nights, then a visa fee of 40JD (approx. USD 57) will be due.
Families with children under 12 are recommended not to purchase the Jordan Pass as entrance fees are not charged in Jordan for children under 12. Our Jordan Family tour prices include your entrance fees and we will also arrange a free visa for you on your arrival into Amman airport.
Other nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival and to obtain this in advance, please contact your local Jordanian embassy or consulate or a visa agency for details. In addition, if you plan to enter Jordan via the southern Wadi Araba crossing (Eilat-Aqaba) or the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein border with Israel in the north, you will need to obtain your Jordan visa in advance as these are not available on arrival at the border.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.
In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, the cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) - you'll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don't need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.
All African & Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.
For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.
Jordan: Tipping is common practice in Jordan, as a sign of appreciation for services provided. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. US$3-8 per person per day would be appropriate.
Egypt: Tipping is also very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs, and many people you meet along the way will expect and make it clear they are waiting for a tip. To make it easier for you to budget and to remove much of the stress and hassle of tipping lots of people as you go along, we collect a 'Tipping Kitty' at the start of your time in Egypt. Your guide will manage this as the tour goes along and ask one or more of the group members to assist and make some of the payments. The kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you'll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc. Please check the Excluded section below the tour itinerary for a budget for this tour. Your Egyptologist guide is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided. Again you should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. As a guideline, approx. US$3-8 per person per day would be appropriate.
The local currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JD). You do not need to arrange to bring any Jordanian Dinar with you to Jordan as exchange facilities are available in the international airports and in most hotels, banks and bureau de changes in major towns. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Jordan you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Jordanian Dinar, though tips for guides and drivers may be paid in hard currency (GBP, USD, EUR).
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted 'LE'. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Egypt and Jordan. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.
Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.
Clothing: Most of your time in Egypt will be in a hot weather, while the climate in Jordan varies widely from hot days in the summer to cool and sometimes wet days in the winter months. However, at night, and especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required on the cruise boats or in 4 or 5-star hotel restaurants. Long sleeves are recommended to protect from mosquitoes if you are on the felucca. Modesty rates highly in Egypt and Jordan, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of Cairo and Amman, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.
Other items: We recommend that you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, small towel, money belt, small torch, camera & charger. If you will be travelling on a felucca sailboat in Egypt then we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round for comfort, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February). If your tour includes an overnight Bedouin camp in Jordan then bedding (sheets, blankets, pillow) is provided but we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner for comfort all year round (even with the best efforts, sand does find its way pretty much everywhere). In the winter months, or if you think you would like to sleep under the stars instead of in your tent, then we recommend you bring a sleeping bag with you as it can get very cold at night.
Footwear: For tours that are going on board a felucca sailboat, or walking on the Siq Trail in Wadi Mujib, we recommend that you bring some footwear that you don't mind getting completely wet. As there is a fair amount of walking involved on many of our tours in Jordan and Egypt, whether that be just sightseeing or some hiking, we recommend you bring comfortable walking shoes with you. You do not need any smart dress shoes, unless you want to visit some fancy restaurants and to dresss up accordingly.
We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Saturdays throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 18. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request. Please do check our website for special offers on particular dates.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website.
We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A
Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.
Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using 'black henna' instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.
The time in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon is GMT plus 2 hours and in UAE GMT plus 3 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.