Explore Egypt & Jordan


From the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ to the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea, this immersive 19-day tour through Egypt and Jordan is awash with highlights. Lose yourself in sun-kissed Cairo, be dazzled by the grandeur of ancient Egypt, cruise down the iconic Nile River, and explore the fascinating cities of Alexandria, Aswan and Luxor. Fly to Jordan and discover the sweeping desert and echoing formations of Wadi Rum, the hand-hewn facades of Petra and the ancient Roman ruins at Jerash. This is a Middle Eastern odyssey to remember.

19 days, from

$4,696

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: XEKJC
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Egypt Jordan
Accommodation: Hotel (13 nights), Cruise ship (3 nights), Desert camp (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Transportation: 4x4 , Cruise Ship , Felucca , Overnight sleeper train , Plane , Private Vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 18 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 8 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • You’ll never forget your first glimpse of The Treasury in Petra. Spend a day taking in the majesty and mystery of this unforgettable place on a guided tour then enjoy free time to explore.

  • Set sail down the Nile – one of the world’s most iconic rivers. Relax in comfort as scenes of everyday Egyptian life stream by and experience day turn to night from your sundeck.

  • Experience the unique sensation of floating in the super-salty waters of the Dead Sea, then cover yourself in the mineral-rich mud for a spa treatment like no other.

  • Explore the magnificent temples at Abu Simbel and see the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile.

  • Meet Bedouin locals, learn about their ways, and sleep under the stars in a desert camp in the far-out destination of Wadi Rum.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Cairo

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt. You'll be met on arrival at Cairo International Airport and transferred to your hotel, before your Egyptian adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. If you have some time spare, perhaps get out and explore the busy city streets or visit the Cairo Citadel which dates back to 1176 and is home to multiple museums and mosques.

Day 2: Cairo

This morning after breakfast you’ll see two of the world’s most iconic sights – the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Explore these structures which have stood tall for over 4500 years, and for an additional charge, you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, although occasionally it’s closed to visitors. Afterwards, your adventure continues to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of ancient artefacts. The masses of gleaming artefacts recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun are an impressive sight – from jewellery to the famous golden death mask and his gilded sarcophagi, this pharaoh was certainly prepared for the afterlife.

Day 3: Alexandria

Jump in a private van today and drive to the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. Egypt's second-largest city and main port, locals call this vibrant city the Bride of the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek architect Dinocrates built Alexandria in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis. On arrival, head underground and delve into the mysteries of the Kom ash-Shuqqafa catacombs. This Roman burial site is the largest of its kind in Egypt. The crypts are 20 metres below street level, and what probably began as a small family tomb grew into a labyrinth of chambers that could accommodate more than 300 bodies. Afterwards, stop by the strikingly modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, inspired by the original great library of Alexandria and built to hold over eight million books. Take some time to stroll along the Corniche and around Fort Qaitbey and enjoy the fresh Mediterranean air.

Day 4: Alexandria - Cairo - Overnight Train

This morning, pay a visit to Wadi El Natron, a place used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans for extracting precious resources like salt, silica for making glass and carbonated sodium which was essential for the mummification process. Learn about the history of this fascinating place, view the lakes and soak up the surroundings before returning by private van to Cairo. Take some time to relax or get some snacks before you board an overnight sleeper train to Aswan.

Day 5: Aswan

The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas. You’ll pull into Aswan – Egypt's southernmost city – at around 9am. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. When you arrive, you’ll explore the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom), which was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – definitely one of the gems of Upper Egypt. This afternoon is yours to explore your way. You might choose to visit the excellent Nubian Museum, which showcases the history, art and culture of the Nubians. This evening you’ll experience modern Nubian culture firsthand with a visit to a nearby village. Join a local Nubian family for a memorable dinner where you’ll get to sample traditional dishes like okra stew or tagen, a tasty tomato-based tagen dish, with sanasel bread to mop up the delicious sauces.

Day 6: Abu Simbel - Nile River Cruise

This morning, make the drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel where you’ll explore some magnificent temples. Built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh's land and what was not. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. You'll have two hours to explore Abu Simbel before making the drive back to Aswan, where you’ll board your Nile cruise boat. Late in the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely sailing trip on a traditional felucca before dinner on the ship.

Day 7: Nile River Cruise

Enjoy a free morning in Aswan, perhaps enjoying coffee and exploration of the bazaar during the morning bustle. After lunch on board your ship, you’ll set sail for your first stop – Kom Ombo. This second century BC complex is unique because it has a mirror-image design, divided down the middle, with either side dedicated to a different set of gods. One half is known as the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god of fertility) and the other half is dedicated to Haroeris (also known as Horus the falcon god), and the whole temple is full of fascinating reliefs. Afterwards, return to the boat and travel upriver, with free time relaxing on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land. Enjoy dinner on board, before your ship docks in Edfu late in the night.

Day 8: Nile Cruise

This morning finds you moored near Edfu – a beautifully preserved temple also dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god. After breakfast on board, your ship will sail onwards to Luxor, passing through the Esna Locks. Ships often have to queue to proceed through the locks, a great opportunity to check out the process from deck with a cool drink in hand, listening to the shouts of the many captains as they navigate their way through the various small boats of merchants selling their wares to a captive audience. On arrival in Luxor, join your leader for an orientation walk of the town. You have the option to visit Luxor Temple, which looks incredible, lit up at night. Return to the ship for dinner and your last night on board.

Day 9: Luxor

Your Nile cruise comes to an end in the open-air museum of Luxor. From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs. After breakfast, depart the ship and drop your bags at your hotel in Luxor. From here, you’ll set off with your leader to explore Karnak Temple which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharaoh’s monumental works. One of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of some 200 years. Your guided tour of this vast temple of impressive pylons, obelisks and chapels will reveal its finest sections, such as the Avenue of Sphinxes and the Great Temple of Amun. The rest of the day is free for you to relax, shop in the excellent bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local teahouse.

Day 10: Luxor

Today you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover ancient Thebes. Your first stop is the Colossi of Memnon – two 17-metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Continue on to the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. With your leader, explore this place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics, still well preserved in the deepest tombs. You will visit three of the royal tombs, including Tutankhamun’s tomb where Tutankhamun is buried, then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut – a colonnaded building set against high cliffs that create a spectacular natural amphitheatre. The afternoon is yours to explore – perhaps you'd like to shop in the market or visit the world's first Mummification Museum where you can discover the secrets of pharaonic preservation.

Day 11: Cairo

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and catch a short flight back to Cairo. On your return to the capital, visit the Islamic parts of the city and the frenetic backstreets of the bazaar with your leader. A labyrinth of narrow streets and passageways, Khan is one of the biggest and oldest markets in the world. The 'Khan', sprawling around an old area known as Al-Azhar, is a quintessentially Cairo experience – a warren of alleys with stalls serving up a succession of intoxicating scenes. You might explore the gold market, ‘Perfume Street’ and the spice market, where heady aromas fill the air, or make a purchase next door in the cloth market. Or you could visit atmospheric El Fishawy, one of Cairo’s oldest cafes, and discover why it’s been operating for more than 200 years. Tonight, perhaps gather together your fellow travellers for a celebratory kebab, kofta, sheesha, or all three.

Day 12: Amman

This morning take a short flight from Cairo to Amman. You will be unescorted on this flight. On arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel, ready for your adventure to begin at 6 pm with a welcome meeting for the next stage of your trip. If you arrive early, feel free to head out and explore – highlights include the citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman, the Jordan Museum, which is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman. After the meeting, you may like to get to know your group over an optional dinner, or explore on your own and pick up a coffee from one of the cafes, partnering it with an ara’yes – a toasted sandwich filled with spicy mincemeat.

Day 13: Wadi Rum

After breakfast today, journey down the Desert Highway to the spellbinding Wadi Rum, a landscape of rugged sandstone mountains standing tall among an ochre desert floor. Meet your Bedouin hosts on arrival followed by free time for lunch, before heading into this desolate, romantic area. Transport into the Rum is by way of jeeps operated by the local Bedouin community, part of an initiative by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region. Visit several of Wadi Rum's distinctive rock formations and soak in the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. The Bedouins live in scattered camps throughout the area and you'll enjoy an evening under the stars at one of these sites.

Day 14: Aqaba

Enjoy a spectacular sunrise at your desert camp, perhaps checking out a few more of the local Wadi Rum sites or taking a scenic walk before you leave. Depart Wadi Rum mid-morning for the city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Check into your hotel on arrival and head out for a brief orientation of the town with your leader – the small Ottoman Mamluk Fort, dating from the 14th century and from where Lawrence of Arabia rode to Cairo, is worth a look – otherwise, most of the fun is to be found in the water. With great visibility and abundant marine life, this is an incredible spot for snorkelling, and the warm waters play host to clownfish, angelfish, sea turtles and coral formations. Speak to your leader if you’d like to arrange snorkelling, or you may prefer to acquaint yourself with the hotel's pool or head to the beach.

Day 15: Petra

This morning, enjoy some relaxation time in Aqaba before travelling to the fabled city of Petra. Dating back to the sixth century BC, Petra is considered the crown jewel of Jordan, featuring an impressive series of tombs and dwellings carved directly into the rock. The site remained unknown to the wider world until 1812 when it was visited by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. In 1985, Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and simply put, is one of the world’s most incredible ancient sites. On arrival, settle into your hotel and check out the village before enjoying an included dinner at your hotel.

Day 16: Petra

Petra is justifiably on most people’s list of ‘must-visit’ places. The iconic Petra view – the Treasury's glorious facade, glimpsed from the narrow cleft known as the Siq – is arguably the single most striking sight of the entire region. The Siq leads through the rock and is sometimes only a few metres wide, with walls soaring up to 180 metres on either side. Join your guide and explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs, before enjoying free time to experience Petra at your own pace. Maybe climb up to the Monastery, carved from a mountain summit, where you’ll find magnificent views of the entire site. To cap off a truly memorable day, be welcomed into a local home for dinner. On the menu will often be maqluba – a casserole with rice, vegetables and chicken which is cooked, flipped, then served with either yoghurt or an Arab salad with tahina sauce. Chat to your friendly family hosts about the delicious meal and what life is like in such a popular spot.

Day 17: Amman

After breakfast, drive to the ancient Crusader castle at Shobak, where your leader will show you the grounds, a small chapel and the original gatehouse. This ancient castle was originally built to protect the eastern flank of the Latin Kingdom and its trade routes to the sea before it fell to Saladin in 1189. Depart the castle and stop off at the viewpoint overlooking the Dana Nature Reserve before arriving in Madaba where you’ll visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and see an impressive ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land. Arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where your leader will recommend some great restaurants to sample the best of the city’s food scene.

Day 18: Amman

Take a short drive north to Jerash, once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world and now home to some of the best Greco-Roman ruins around. Jerash has a striking collection of archways, theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets, and is a beautiful place to spend a morning exploring. Then, drive to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This isn’t actually a sea, but rather a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties, so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Spend some time relaxing here before returning to Amman for the evening. Maybe spend tonight at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman or ask your leader about the traditional cafes dotted around the city where locals spend their evenings.

Day 19: Amman

Your trip comes to an end today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around noon and you are free to leave at any time.