We start at our hotel in Amman. Those on group flights from London will arrive in the evening; your leader will leave instructions for you at the hotel. *Comfortable Hotel*
There is free time to relax this morning before heading south to the Dead Sea for a memorable 'float' in the thick saline waters. We then head to Madaba where we spend the afternoon. Known as 'The City of Mosaics', Madaba is best known for its spectacular 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We will stop at Mt Nebo on the way, according to the Bible this is the final resting-place of Moses; from here he looked out onto the Promised Land. Thousands of years later, you can do the same. *Comfortable Hotel*
Today we have a spectacular drive down the King's Highway, which winds its way up and down many 'wadis' (valleys). We stop en route at Kerak, a formidable Crusader castle that overlooks a long, winding road down to the Dead Sea. It is a prime example of the Crusaders' outstanding ability to construct impregnable defensive fortifications in the 11th - 13th centuries. Amazingly, after 850 years a great deal of the structure remains intact including dungeons, passages, refectory and kitchens all for you to explore. We then head south to reach Jordan's premier historical site and one of the world's most outstanding ancient cities, Petra. *Comfortable Hotel*
The whole day is spent at Petra, the 'Rose-red city, half as old as time', which was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burkhardt made his great discovery in 1812. Petra was founded by the Nabateans, an Arab tribe which arrived here in the 6th century BC and is an incredible site to explore. Building at Petra began in the 3rd century BC and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied on the desert caravans. Two features of Petra are unique: firstly, it is a city made defensible by being built down a series of chasms, rather than on a hilltop. Secondly, it is built directly into the rock - beautiful red and yellow sandstone carved into the most impressive facades which glow in the brilliant sunlight. To enter mystical Petra we must begin by walking down the Siq, the narrow chasm providing the only entrance to the city, and come out directly in front of iconic El Khazneh, the Treasury. Continuing to the centre of the city, we pass the houses and tombs of the rich citizens and the amphitheatre. A long walk beyond the centre is El Deir, the Monastery, a vast structure with its superb facade topped by a huge urn that rivals the Treasury. You will have an informative guided tour providing background and historical information about this incredible site and some time for independent exploration. *Comfortable Hotel*
We now join the modern desert highway and make our way to Wadi Rum, a stretch of beautiful sand and rock desert. This is where Lawrence of Arabia and Prince Faisal assembled the Arab tribes for the attack on Aqaba in the First World War and also where sections of the film of 'Lawrence of Arabia' were shot. Night skies can be spectacular here and we take a four-wheeled drive vehicle far into the desert for an exciting desert adventure. We camp here for the night after enjoying the unique hospitality of a Bedouin family at a semi permanent campsite and we experience the desert at its best. *Basic Camping*
Beyond Wadi Rum, the road drops sharply through dramatic scenery to Aqaba, Jordan's port and holiday resort, famous for some of the most beautiful coral reefs to be found anywhere in the world. Our hotel is based in Aqaba city centre, close to many restaurants and shopping places. Over the next two days we have time to lounge on the beach, swim, go snorkelling around the coral or relax by the hotel pool. Your transport and entrance to a beach are included. You can add to the experience with optional snorkelling and lunch packages which your leader will explain. Please note there is a cost for these extras. *Comfortable Hotel*
Today you have some extra time to enjoy what Aqaba has to offer or, alternatively, just to relax at the beach. There are several good restaurants in Aqaba, along with a vibrant market that really comes alive in the evening. Transport and entrance to the private beach is included. *Comfortable Hotel*
The day begins with a fairly long (approx. 4 hours) drive back to Amman. This afternoon you have free time; those with enough energy may like to take a taxi to explore Jerash, that was one of the ten wealthy, self-governing cities of the Decapolis, or visit Bethany beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was said to have been baptized. *Comfortable Hotel*
Our trip ends in Amman.
* 7 nights comfortable hotels all en suite, 1 night private camp with running water and plumbed WC * Travel by air-conditioned minibus and 4x4 jeep * Flights direct with Royal Jordanian
All breakfasts are included, as are lunch and an evening meal in Wadi Rum. Throughout the trip your leader will facilitate meals; these are usually taken in local restaurants and on some occasions the leader will take those who wish to a restaurant for a 'mezze' style meal. These allow fast service with a variety of good quality food for the group and usually cost 10-18 JOD pp. Allow about £200-250 (approx. US$320-400) to cover these meals (obviously this will be less for children). If you are vegetarian, please note that main meals are limited in choice; however, mezze is almost always available in restaurants and is a good, filling choice. There is also a good choice of seafood available when at the Red Sea.
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