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Ancient Encounters Tour

Well organized with good guides. Small groups and well paced and decent time for departure from one city to another.

Jagdev, Aug 2017

reviews proof

Ancient Encounters OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

16 days

Amman to Cairo

From

US$2629

Country(ies): Egypt & Jordan

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 18

Accommodation: 3 to 5-star hotels, sleeper train, felucca sailboat & Bedouin camp

Meals:

Transport: A/C car/minibus/coach, sleeper train, felucca sailboat & flight

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, Red Sea.

With a newly designed itinerary for 2018, 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, Nile valley and beautiful Red Sea coast. 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 head to the Red Sea for some well earned relaxation and down-time in a 5-star resort on the coast. Options for snorkelling, scuba-diving and other water sports are available before we fly back to Cairo to finish the tour.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Welcome to Amman, airport to hotel transfer included

Once you arrive at Queen Alia International Airport, one of our staff members will meet you and transport you to your hotel in Amman. They'll help you settle in, let you know the plan for tomorrow and then you have the rest of the day to rest or explore your new surroundings independently.

OVERNIGHT:

Amman hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Amman - pre-tour
Single room supplement (JOSGAE18)


Day 2 Visiting Jordan's Desert Castles & touring Amman

After breakfast, we'll make our way to Jordan's famous 'desert castles' of Qasr al-Kharrana, Qal'at al-Azraq and Qseirr Amra. These imposing structures can be found on the old trade routes built during the Umayyad era and remnants of this period can still be seen today in the form of frescoes, bath houses and wells.

We'll head back to Amman for lunch at a local restaurant, enjoying falafel and hummus, before we enjoy a walking tour of Jordan's capital city. We'll visit some of its top tourist attractions such as the Amphitheatre, the Folklore Museum as well as the Citadel. We'll also browse through its busy markets - giving you a chance to taste Knafeh - a tasty sweet treat - all the while being taught some basic Arabic terms to use throughout the rest of our tour through Jordan.

If there's time left, we may visit a few traditional handcraft and art galleries, before we return to our hotel in Amman.

OVERNIGHT:

Amman hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Explore ancient Jerash & hike to Bronze Age dolmens

We'll say goodbye to Amman for now, as we travel north to Jerash - the one of the best examples of a Roman provincial city in the whole of the Middle East. We visit the spectacular Forum, Roman colonnaded street, the Nymphaeum and Artemis Temple.

Also on the agenda today is a visit to the towering Aljoun Castle - which was crafted in the 12th century by the Ayyubids and extended in the 13th century by the Mamluks. The castle also once served as the hub for Saladin's Arab forces, who defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century. The mountains, hills and forests around Aljoun Castle are surprisingly lush and tree covered and are very popular with hikers from Jordan and abroad.

Our next stop on our Jordan tour is a visit to Rasoun village, where we'll meet a Jordanian family - our homestay hosts. After settling into our accommodation for the night, we'll take a walk through the hills to see some Bronze Age Dolmens, which date back around 5000 years. Dolmens are stone burial chambers formed by a huge stone slab atop two or more standing stones.

For dinner, a delicious, home-cooked traditional Arabic meal will be prepared by our host Jordanian family, and we spend the evening chatting with them about life in Jordan.

OVERNIGHT:

Rasoun homestay

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 From Ajloun to Madaba, Mount Nebo & the Dead Sea

We reluctantly say goodbye to our hosts in the Rasoun village after a shared breakfast, as we journey south to Madaba to see the amazing Byzantine mosaics excavated from throughout the town. We'll see the 'Madaba Map', the oldest preserved mosaic map of the Holy Lands before heading to Mount Nebo and wonder at the view where Moses looked across to the Promised Land and later died and was buried.

After lunch, we'll head to the Dead Sea where you have the afternoon to float in the sea, try the invigorating properties of the mud by the beach, and rest by the resort pool. Swimming in the Dead Sea is a strange and wonderful experience and one you'll never forget.

OVERNIGHT:

Dead Sea Resort

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Dana Biosphere Reserve & Shobak Castle en-route to Petra

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 hike 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 a home-made lunch in the village and take a walk before continuing to the imposing crusader castle at Shobak, finally arriving at Petra late in the evening.

An option is available this evening to get a first taste of Petra on the atmospheric Petra by Night tour, during which the Siq Trail and area outside the Treasury are lit up with hundreds of candles.

OVERNIGHT:

Petra hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Petra by night


Day 6 A full day in Petra & overnight Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Today is all about exploring the rose-red city of Petra - the former capital of the Nabataean Kingdom and has since become one of the Modern 7 Wonders of the World. We'll walk through the Siq to get here, until we reach the Treasury - which is carved out of solid rock and stands over 40 metres high.

We'll learn about the history of this magnificent site and the Nabataean people who built it, exploring its caves and tombs carved into the sandstone cliffs around us. You'll be given some time to do some exploring on your own - you could hike up to the towering Monastery which offers breathtaking views of the Jordan Valley or take a walk to the High Place of Sacrifice.

Late this afternoon, we'll head into the nearby Wadi Rum desert, where we'll spend the night under the stars, staying in a comfortable Bedouin camp situated amongst the sand dunes and against the rocky cliffs, well away from the busy roads and traffic. If you'd like, you can even take a sleeping bag to a secluded spot and sleep outside, underneath the starry skies above.

OVERNIGHT:

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 A jeep safari and Bedouin experience in Wadi Rum, travel to Amman

Today we head out on a jeep safari through the sandy terrain of Wadi Rum, beneath the towering 'jebels' - stopping every now and then to marvel at its sand dunes, strange rock formations and rock bridges.

We'll also participate in a few activities derived from Bedouin traditions such as walking with a local shepherd with their sheep and goats to a Bedouin tent, where we'll help make lunch. You can also choose to do other activities such as shearing sheep and goat's hair, grinding and roasting coffee beans and making bread.

Afterwards, we'll head back to camp before driving north on the Desert Highway back to Amman. Tonight, we'll head to the local coffee shops and cafes near our hotel, where you can try a sheesha or a game of backgammon as we enjoy our last night in Jordan.

OVERNIGHT:

Amman hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Fly to Cairo, free time

We transfer you to Amman airport today to board your flight to Egypt's busy capital of Cairo (not included). Once you arrive in Cairo, one of our staff will be there to meet you before taking you to your hotel, situated close to the Great Pyramids. We'll have some time to settle in before being introduced to the local area and we'll also arrange tomorrow's collection time.

You have the rest of the day to explore Cairo independently. Options are also available to head out on an evening dinner cruise on the Nile River or enjoy a mesmerising sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).

Note: the Amman-Cairo flight is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to book all your international flights, just this 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 help keep the group together we recommend Egypt Air MS720 which departs Amman between 09.30-10.30. However, you can also fly at other times during the day - all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.

OVERNIGHT:

Cairo hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Amman to Cairo flight


Day 9 Visiting the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza

After your first night in the capital, we start the day with a local Egyptologist guide, visiting the Great Sphinx of Giza, one of the largest and oldest statues in the world. Archeologists believe that it was carved around 2500 BC.

Towering behind the Great Sphinx are three Great Pyramids of Egypt, the largest being the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which stands at 500 feet high and 750 feet wide, It's a man-made structure full of wonder and secrets still to be discovered. Khafre and Menkaure's pyramids are smaller and simpler in design than Khufu's massive structure, but still hugely imposing structures. When first built, the pyramids were covered in reflective white limestone, much of which eroded over the years.

From the pyramids, we head to the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo, which houses the Tutankhamun exhibit as well as a host of other ancient artifacts. Your guide will show you around and then there's more time to explore independently, perhaps taking in the dedicated Mummy Room. This evening, we'll head to the local station for the overnight sleeper train to Aswan (approx. 12 hours - flight upgrades available).

OVERNIGHT:

Sleeper train to Aswan

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Cairo to Aswan flight upgrade


Day 10 Aswan, Nubian Village and the Philae Temple

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.

OVERNIGHT:

Aswan hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11 Abu Simbel option, then Nile felucca cruise

This morning, you have an option to visit the imposing Abu Simbel Temple complex, built by Ramses II and rescued much more recently from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Abu Simbel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we'll head out early to witness sunrise over this magnificent monument. Transfers, guiding, and entrance fees are included. If you don't visit Abu Simbel, then your morning is free to explore Aswan further, perhaps visiting the Nubian Museum which explores the history and heritage of the Nubian people in the region.

This afternoon, we'll board a traditional felucca and set sail along the Nile River, giving you time to relax and take in rural Egyptian life pass you by as you drift past. Our Nubian crew will be on hand to entertain and prepare meals for you, with a separate facilities boat joining up every now and then, which houses a welcome toilet a shower on board as well as a hygienic kitchen where your meals will be prepared.

We'll overnight on the felucca, sleeping on the deck with mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided. If you wish you can upgrade this overnight felucca sailboat trip to an additional night in the Aswan hotel, and in this case, you'll spend tonight in Aswan and rejoin the group tomorrow morning when they leave the felucca at Kom Ombo. All other touring remains the same.

OVERNIGHT:

On board felucca

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Abu Simbel overland
Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan


Day 12 Exploring the Edfu Temple

We'll have breakfast on-board the felucca before we say goodbye to our Nubian crew and head to the nearby temple of Edfu before we head to Luxor. Set on the east bank of the Nile River, Luxor is known for having possibly the largest concentration of ancient temples and sites in the world. Highlights are Karnak and Luxor temples, and the tombs of the pharaohs, queens, and nobles on the opposite (west) bank of the Nile.

We'll have some lunch, before visiting the towering Karnak Temple, which once served as the religious centre of Thebes and Upper Egypt. Karnak is an open air museum, which consists of huge pillars, towering columns, massive avenues of sphinxes, and an obelisk that stands 97-feet tall and weighs 323-tons. Karnak's Hypostyle hall stretches for 54,000 square feet and featuring 134 columns - making it the largest room of any religious building on the planet.

Tonight, we'll head out on a walking tour of the smaller Luxor Temple, which is lit up at night, making for spectacular viewing.

OVERNIGHT:

Luxor hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 13 Exploring the Valley of the Kings and other sites

We start early today, crossing the Nile River as we head to Luxor's West Bank, which is home to the Valley of the Kings - a burial ground for the Pharaohs. In and around 1500 B.C. the Pharaohs decided to no longer construct great pyramids in which to be buried, but rather to be buried in the hidden tombs we find here today. 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.

As an optional extra, you can enjoy a breathtaking hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile River this morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).

We'll say goodbye to the Nile River this afternoon as we head to the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, checking into a 5-star resort. Your stay here is on a 'soft all inclusive' basis, with all meals, soft drinks and snacks included but not alcoholic beverages.

OVERNIGHT:

Hurghada resort

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Hot air balloon in Luxor


Day 14 Free time at the Red Sea

After a busy few days exploring temples and tombs, you have some free time to relax by the Red Sea. It's a great place to try your hand at watersports such as snorkelling, scuba diving, kite surfing, sea fishing and a host of other adventure activities. Or you can just sit back and relax by the resort pool. Our local rep based in Hurghada will be on hand to help make any arrangements you'd like to add. If you wish, we can book extra nights in the resort in Hurghada for you to extend your time here - please contact us for details and prices.

OVERNIGHT:

Hurghada resort

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 15 Fly to Cairo, Khan-el-Khalili bazzar & Al Guri sufi show

We fly back to Cairo this morning and you then have some free time to explore Cairo as you choose or subject to the flight timings 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. Finally we visit the evening Al Guri Sufi show at the Wikalat al Ghuri, a 16th centry market place with a domed roof and some beautiful Islamic architecture. A colourful and flamboyant show packs crowds of locals, and some tourists in here twice a week with displays of dervish inspired dance, sufi vocals and vibrant percussion. This makes a thrilling and entertaining end to our time in Egypt (during peak periods when queues and waits to get in can be very long we may arrange an evening event at a hotel or restaurant instead of attending this show).

OVERNIGHT:

Cairo hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Cairo city tour
Nile dinner cruise in Cairo
Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis


Day 16 Free time in Cairo, hotel to airport transfers included

You have the day free to do some last minute sightseeing and shopping before we transfer you to the airport to board your flight back home. If you have a late flight, you can head out on one of our optional Cairo city tours or add a few extra nights to your time in Cairo to explore the colonial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Alexandria day trip
Cairo city tour
Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)
Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - post-tour


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Included:
  • 5 nights in 3 to 4-star hotels in Jordan
  • Jordan village homestay in Rasoun, and Bedouin desert camp in Wadi Rum
  • 6 nights in 5-star hotels in Egypt
  • Overnight sleeper train from Cairo to Aswan in private twin-berth cabins (flight upgrade available)
  • Overnight Nile felucca sailboat trip (hotel upgrade available)
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • All transport and transfers in private AC vehicles (plus Bedouin jeeps in Wadi Rum)
  • Internal flight from Hurghada to Cairo
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Services of an English speaking tour leader and local guides in Jordan
  • Services of a local Egyptologist guide in Egypt
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Amman to Cairo flight (available on request or bookable with your international flight ticket)
  • Jordan Visa fees (free visa available with your Jordan Pass - see tour notes)
  • Egypt Visa fees (available on arrival for US$25 for most nationalities)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees in Jordan (included in your Jordan Pass, approx. US$99 - see tour notes)
  • Entrance fees in Egypt (allow approx. US$85)
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tipping kitty in Egypt (allow US$45) plus tour guide tips
  • Tips in Jordan
  • Hotel gala dinners (see Tour notes)
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Hotel Gala Dinners:
Many of Egypt and Jordan's hotels and Nile cruise boats 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.

Gallery


Dates and Prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

8th of Jun 2019

23rd of Jun 2019

US$2629

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6th of Jul 2019

21st of Jul 2019

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3rd of Aug 2019

18th of Aug 2019

US$2629

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7th of Sep 2019

22nd of Sep 2019

US$2629

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21st of Sep 2019

6th of Oct 2019

US$2629

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5th of Oct 2019

20th of Oct 2019

US$2769

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19th of Oct 2019

3rd of Nov 2019

US$2769

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2nd of Nov 2019

17th of Nov 2019

US$2769

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16th of Nov 2019

1st of Dec 2019

US$2769

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7th of Dec 2019

22nd of Dec 2019

US$2769

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21st of Dec 2019

5th of Jan 2020

US$2919

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28th of Dec 2019

12th of Jan 2020

US$2919

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Accommodation

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 Waleed Hotel

Amman


The Al Waleed is rare in Amman in that it is a decent mid-range hotel located within easy walking distance of lots of shops, cafes and restaurants. This is ideal if you have any free time before or after the main tour, and also in the evenings.

Local rating

Our rating

The Al Waleed is rare in Amman in that it is a decent mid-range hotel within easy walking distance of lots of shops, cafes and restaurants. The hotel is located in the Sweifieh district, just a few setps away from Wakalat Street which is very popular with Jordanians for shopping and eating. The location is ideal if you have any free time before or after the main tour, and also for going out to eat in the evenings. Unfortunately nearly all other 3 and 4-star hotels are situated in more obscure areas and on main roads with nothing much around them, meaning you either need to eat in the hotel or take taxis if you want to explore during your free time.

Rooms are comfortable and all en-suite and air-conditioned. There is a good Italian restaurant on the ground floor.

Rasoun Homestay

Rasoun


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.

Local rating

Our rating

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

Dead Sea


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.

Local rating

Our rating

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.

La Maison

Petra


La Maison is a comfortable, mid-range hotel in Petra with an excellent location less than ten minutes walk from the Visitor Centre and entrance into Petra.

Local rating

Our rating

La Maison is a comfortable, mid-range hotel in Petra with an excellent location less than ten minutes walk from the Visitor Centre and entrance into Petra. The 76 en-suite rooms have been recently rennovated and all ll have air conditioning, free internet and TVs.

The hotel has a lobby lounge and bar, a restaurant and an Arabic styled roof terrace where you can enjoy traditional Jordanian snacks, drinks and shisha pipes. 

Rahayeb Camp

Wadi Rum


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.

Local rating

Our rating

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).

Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel

Cairo


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.

Local rating

Our rating

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.

Sleeper train

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.

Local rating

Our rating

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.

Helnan Aswan Hotel

Aswan


coming soon

Local rating

Our rating

coming soon

Felucca Sailboat

Aswan


Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and make for an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to travel down the river.

Local rating

Our rating

Felucca Sailboats

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.

Facility Boat

Our felucca suport boatOur 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

Luxor


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.

Local rating

Our rating

Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.

Introduction:

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).

Location:

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.

Accommodation:

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.

Bars & Restaurants:

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.

Facilities & Services:

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:

  • 24-hour room service
  • Babysitting (on request)
  • 24hr Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Business centre
  • Porters
  • Games room
  • Library
  • Lifts

Sunrise Royal Makadi Aqua Resort

Hurghada


The Sunrise Royal Makadi Resort is an excellent Red Sea resort option with a great beachfront location and lots of different activities and facilities available on site. The hotel is located near Makadi Bay, around 30km from the centre of Hurghada.

Local rating

Our rating

The Sunrise Royal Makadi Resort is an excellent Red Sea resort option with a great beachfront location and lots of different activities and facilities available on site. The hotel is located just outside Makadi Bay, around 30km from the resort centre of Hurghada. One of the hotel's main features is an aquapark with five pools to relax beside and a range of 11 different water slides. You can also play tennis, football, table tennis, darts, do aquaerobics or use the on-site gym. The spa facilities include massages, sauna, whirlpool and a range of treatment options. Scuba-diving and snorkelling trips can be arranged through the hotel or through our local representative. A hotel-run kids club operates from November to March. There are eight restaurants and bars to choose from offering a wide variety of different cuisines (gentlemen should wear long trousers for dinner).  Rooms are spacious and comfortable with either a large double bed or twin beds, plus an extra bed for children if required. A very limited number of family rooms for up to three adults and two children are also available.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re 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.

Single room supplement (JOSGAE18)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.

Price from
$649.00
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

Extra day in Amman - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$59.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - post-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$59.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Petra by night

Min numbers: 1 person


This magical experience takes you in through the narrow and winding Siq to the Treasury at the entrance to Petra. The whole route and the sand in front of the Treasury is lit up by numerous candles.

Price from
$29.00
per person

This magical experience takes you in through the narrow and winding Siq to the Treasury at the entrance to Petra. The whole route and the sand in front of the Treasury is lit up by numerous candles creating a beautiful and atmospheric sight. While at the Treasury you'll also enjoy some traditional Bedouin music and tea.

Amman to Cairo flight

Min numbers: 1 person


This flight is a required part of the tour. It is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket.

Price from
$249.00
per person

This flight is a required part of the tour. It is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to book 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. You can fly at anytime during the day - all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.

Cairo to Aswan flight upgrade

Min numbers: 1 person


This option provides an upgrade from the overnight sleeper train to an internal flight with Egypt Air.

Price from
$129.00
per person

This option provides an upgrade from the overnight sleeper train to an internal flight with Egypt Air. An extra night in the hotel in Cairo or Aswan is included in place of the train. Flight times vary and are subject to availability. Breakfast is included in the hotel, but you will miss the airline-style dinner provided on the sleeper train. Single room supplements apply.

Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan

Min numbers: 1 person


Although our overnight felucca journey is an amazing experience and often a highlight of the tour, the basic overnight accommodation is not for everyone. This upgrade is designed for those who would like a little more comfort.

Price from
$59.00
per person

Although our overnight felucca journey is an amazing experience and often a highlight of the tour, the basic overnight accommodation is not for everyone. This upgrade is designed for those who would like a little more comfort in place of the overnight felucca sailboat trip, where you sleep on the deck of the boat.

You may choose to sail on the felucca for a couple of hours with the main group, and have lunch and dinner on the boat and then get transferred back to your hotel in Aswan in the evening. Or you can remain in Aswan for the whole afternoon to look around the markets and Corniche independently, and not do any sailing at all, as you prefer (no meals are included if you remain in Aswan).
Your night in Aswan will be spent in a 5-star hotel. The next morning we will transfer you to rejoin the group after they leave the felucca, and the rest of your tour will continue as normal from there on. Prices shown are based on travelling in low season (April to September) and staying in a shared twin/double room. High season and single room supplements apply.

Abu Simbel overland

Min numbers: 1 person


This option takes you from Aswan to see the amazing temples built by Ramses II at Aswan. We travel overland and return to Aswan by midday.

Price from
$119.00
per person

The temples built by Ramses II at Abu Simbel are one of Egypt's highlights, and have a fascinating story behind them to go with their impressive size. When Lake Nasser was flooded, the final water level was going to submerge several temples, the most important of which being Abu Simbel. The temple was therefore dismantled completely and rebuilt further up the hillside where it sits today. The temple stands today as a testament to Ramses II and the great building prowess of the ancient Egyptians, as well as to modern engineering. We depart Aswan early in the morning to join an escorted convoy which departs Aswan at around 04.30. This gets us to Abu Simbel to see the temples in the light of the rising sun, and we then have a guided tour with one of our Egyptologists and some free time before we drive back to Aswan (approx. 3 hours drive each way, with around 2 hours at the temples). All transfers, guide, and entrance fees are included. The tour itinerary is designed so you will not miss any other activities if you choose this option. Note - we choose the overland route to get to Abu Simbel as the flight times there are unreliable and the journey using the flight is much more segmented (you get more rest on the coach), not to mention it is much more expensive to fly.

Hot air balloon in Luxor

Min numbers: 1 person


A trully memorable, approx 1-hour, early morning flight over the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor.

Price from
$119.00
per person

This popular optional tour starts early in the morning so that you experience the sunrise over the Valleys of the Kings & Queens, temples and desert. We endeavour to use the earliest flights of the day as they are timed to fit with the rising sun, this means that times may vary. You get around 1 hour in the air.

Cairo city tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This tour visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque before heading to the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar.

Price from
$49.00
per person

This half day guided tour of Cairo tour begins with Islamic areas including the Citadel of Saladdin, boasting the famous Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Then we head onto the Coptic area of Cairo where the Romans constructed the fortress of Babylon. The church of St. Mary was built over the ruins of two towers of the fortress whilst it is more commonly known as the Hanging Church next stop is St. Sergius which is said to be the resting place of the Holy Family. The tour finishes at the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar.

Prices shown are based on a minimum of 2 people travelling. Solo traveller supplements apply.

Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis

Min numbers: 1 person


This half day guided tour on the outskirts of Cairo tour provides more insight into the history and evolution of pyramid building, and of the Egyptian civilisation. Our tours are based in the area of ancient Memphis, a former capital of Egypt.

Price from
$69.00
per person

This half day guided tour on the outskirts of Cairo tour provides more insight into the history and evolution of pyramid building, and of the Egyptian civilisation. Our tours are based in the area of ancient Memphis, a former capital of Egypt. First we'll visit Saqqara, a huge desert necropolis which was built for the kings and nobles of the Old Kingdom. Here we see Zoser's 'step' pyramid and the adjacent Imhotep museum where we learn more about Memphis and the history of the region. Next we head to Dashour to see one of the next attempts at pyramid building. Dashour's moniker of the 'bent pyramid' shows they still had a bit to learn, but this is a fascinating site and the pyramid still has much of its original limestone cladding. We'll then return you to your hotel.

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 people choosing the option. Solo traveller supplements apply.

Tour Notes

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.

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  1. Accommodation

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).

Gala Dinners
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.


  2. Felucca Sailboat

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.


  3. Transport

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) 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.

Hurghada-Cairo flight
We take an internal flight from Hurghada to Cairo at the end of the tour. This saves you a long 7-hour drive and gives you time to explore Cairo that day too. Our preferred flight on this day is around 08.30, however when this flight is unavailable or not operating we will also make use of the 05.30 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 book 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.


  4. Transfers

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.


  5. International Flights

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.


  6. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

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.


  7. Activity level

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.


  8. Entrance Fees & Jordan Pass

The tour price does not include entrance fees to the sites visited on the tour.

Jordan:
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

Egypt:
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.


  9. Passports and Visas - Jordan

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 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.

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.


  10. Passports and Visas - Egypt

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.


  11. Tipping

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.


  12. Health and Vaccinations

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.

More information is available here: Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon

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.


  13. Time

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.


  14. Voltage

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.


  15. Money - Jordan

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.


  16. Money - Egypt

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.


  17. What to take

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.


  18. Dates & Prices
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.

  19. Booking & Payment

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.


  20. Travel Insurance

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 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.


  21. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  22. Responsible Tourism

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.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  23. Follow Us Online

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.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  24. Before you travel

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.

'Travel Aware' campaign

Reviews

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Ancient Encounters & Country Reviews

Product Review


Posted 3rd of Jan 2019

Just amazing affordable price.

Product Review


Posted 14th of Aug 2018

Overall good. Need better transportation. Tour guide good but needs to be more respectful of the female guests less touchy feely

Product Review


Posted 21st of Nov 2017

A fabulous trip. Wonderful experience being part of a small group touring a truly amazing country. Sami, our guide, was fantastic - superb knowledge, delivered in a fun and relaxed style. A really outstanding, memorable trip.

Product Review


Posted 8th of Aug 2016

My only complaint was that the first hotel we stayed at in Jordan, the JAD Hotel was not the hotel in the itinerary. It was supposed to be the Imperial Palace, which looked like a substantially better hotel

Product Review


Posted 10th of Jun 2016

Except the first day of arrival without giving a briefing about the meeting time and gathering spot, everything else was excellent. I was a little bit lost on my first day of arrival and had to ask the hotel front desk about what time I should come down the next day to meet my group. If there can be a debriefing session, that would be nice.

Product Review


Posted 8th of Jun 2016

For the Egypt part - shout out to Aboudy, the best tour guide ive ever experienced! His passion and care made the trip!

Product Review


Posted 8th of Jun 2016

The tour on the whole was fantastic hotels were well above what was expected for the price paid the sites were amazing and the guide was knowledgeable but i did feel he rushed through things a bit compared to other tour guides I've encountered in the past. Unfortunately the tour was totally let down by the desert camp experience we were virtually abandoned at a so called desert camp at 11am with no tour vuide nobody who spoke English told us what was happening or what to do. At no time were we offered any excursions ie camal ride as stated in intinery. It was a complete waste of a day sleeping unxer the stars could of made up for it if we weren't next to a busy road. I definitely wouldn't recommend the desert night. However the rest of the tour and Jordan are spectacular.

Product Review


Posted 23rd of Oct 2015

Good

Product Review


Posted 23rd of Oct 2015

Overall loved my trip

Product Review


Posted 15th of Aug 2015

Is a great holiday for those people who have limited time but are wanting to see as much of Jordan as possible. I liked the fact that you could book the optional extras prior to going as opposed to being surprised with them during the trip.

Product Review


Posted 14th of Aug 2015

I loved Jordan. It is such a beautiful country!