Journey Into Jordan

About the Experience

EXPERIENCE JORDAN

Jordan is tightly-wrapped in mystical mystery, isn’t it? The enormous and ancient ruins are overwhelming. Everything is deeply-dug in yesteryear from the fragrant za’atar and sumac spices to the Bedouin camps and goat herds that pepper the dramatic landscape.

This trip delivers everything from the warm embrace of the Red Sea to the saline Dead Sea to the iconic Wadi Rum. You’ll jump from Jeeps to camels to boats in this itinerary that spoils at every turn with unmatched opportunities to completely submerge yourself in the Jordanian culture.

Participate in lively cooking workshops at the Beit Khayrat Souf, a unique women-owned and managed cafe. At Iraq al-Amir Cooperative, you’ll be able to participate in a paper-making or weaving project with local women of all ages who are gaining confidence through financial independence by creating and selling their handmade artisan projects.

You’ll sleep soundly knowing that you are supporting socially and environmentally responsible, low-impact stays in Jordan like the solar-powered Fenyan Ecolodge and the Red Valley domes (that are akin to sleeping on Mars) at the Memories Aicha Luxury Camp in Wadi Rum.

This trip was designed to integrate the intimacy of community integration, Petra’s iconic sites and all the tempting flavours of Jordan. This trip is truly all-encompassing from mesmerizing sunrise camel rides to Dead Sea salt scrubs to Red Sea snorkeling. You can also have breakfast with Arabian horses at the Royal Stables!

Get your fill of falafels, biospheres bursting with biodiversity, old Roman roads, henna art and a little natural Kohl eyeliner for good measure.

Shall we reserve a camel and a candlelit room for you?

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Journey Into Jordan

About the Experience

EXPERIENCE JORDAN

Jordan is tightly-wrapped in mystical mystery, isn’t it? The enormous and ancient ruins are overwhelming. Everything is deeply-dug in yesteryear from the fragrant za’atar and sumac spices to the Bedouin camps and goat herds that pepper the dramatic landscape.

This trip delivers everything from the warm embrace of the Red Sea to the saline Dead Sea to the iconic Wadi Rum. You’ll jump from Jeeps to camels to boats in this itinerary that spoils at every turn with unmatched opportunities to completely submerge yourself in the Jordanian culture.

Participate in lively cooking workshops at the Beit Khayrat Souf, a unique women-owned and managed cafe. At Iraq al-Amir Cooperative, you’ll be able to participate in a paper-making or weaving project with local women of all ages who are gaining confidence through financial independence by creating and selling their handmade artisan projects.

You’ll sleep soundly knowing that you are supporting socially and environmentally responsible, low-impact stays in Jordan like the solar-powered Fenyan Ecolodge and the Red Valley domes (that are akin to sleeping on Mars) at the Memories Aicha Luxury Camp in Wadi Rum.

This trip was designed to integrate the intimacy of community integration, Petra’s iconic sites and all the tempting flavours of Jordan. This trip is truly all-encompassing from mesmerizing sunrise camel rides to Dead Sea salt scrubs to Red Sea snorkeling. You can also have breakfast with Arabian horses at the Royal Stables!

Get your fill of falafels, biospheres bursting with biodiversity, old Roman roads, henna art and a little natural Kohl eyeliner for good measure.

Shall we reserve a camel and a candlelit room for you?

DAY 1 WELCOME TO JORDAN

DAY 1 WELCOME TO JORDAN

Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Amman, the uber modern capital of Jordan! You’ll feel the immediate embrace of the country’s deeply-carved history–it’s visible in the hillside juxtaposition of ancient ruins, stone amphitheater and contemporary buildings like the Jordan Museum (built in 2014), touted as the best in the Middle East.

You will be met by a smiling Wild Women representative at the airport and promptly transferred to your hotel while taking in the surprising and buzzing density of the largest city in Jordan. Amman is a popular launching pad for the red carpet stars (Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea) but is a necessary and mood-setting experience of its own accord.

You will be surrounded by many tempting wafts this afternoon! We’re talking falafel, fattet hummus, kofte (lamb or beef shish kebabs) or the local version of pizza, manakish, traditionally topped with olive oil and za’atar. Don’t spoil your appetite! We’ll gather for our first dinner together at a local restaurant in Amman.

Tonight’s zzz’s: Ambassador Boutique Hotel or similar

 

 

DAY 2 JERASH RUINS

DAY 2 JERASH RUINS

After a sound sleep we’ll gather for breakfast before driving north to Jerash (50km/31 miles).

It is known as one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of precious Roman architecture outside of Italy. The Greco-Roman ruins and ancient walled town is a remarkable (and resilient) evocation of life 2,000 years ago.

Star-struck by history and the time warp that it induces, we’ll dig even deeper into Jordan’s story with an elaborate, traditional lunch at Beit Khairat Souf. We’ll experience the piquant flavours that are intricately braided into Jordanian life in the company of local women. Beit Khayrat Souf is a unique women-owned and managed café in Souf that was established as a creative solution to women’s unemployment. The project continues to inspire a sturdy community of women leaders to network and propel the café’s success. Founded by Sumia, a Jordanian woman, the empowerment initiative that she funded with a personal loan is a sweet feel-good start to our trip!

We’ll continue on the tangy spice trail and return to Amman for a Levant-style cooking class and dinner at Beit Sitti, located in a stone house in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Beit Sitti (Arabic) translates to “in my grandmother’s house” and the three entrepreneurial sisters who started the cooking school have attracted the attention of BBC News, CNN Travel, Conde Naste Traveler, Vogue…and Wild Women for good reason! Our menu will depend on the seasonality of the market vegetables and the whims of the galley staff. With a few fool-proof recipes up your sleeve you can also purchase Beit Sitti’s Arabian “Big Guns” trio (tahini, za’atar and sumac) to woo your future dinner guests.

Tonight’s zzz’s: Ambassador Boutique Hotel or similar

 

DAY 3 AMBLING AROUND AMMAN

DAY 3 AMBLING AROUND AMMAN

We get to horse around this morning! We’ll have breakfast at the Royal Stables with the noble, Arabian horses of HRH Princess Alia Al Hussein. This muscular regal breed is a big bragging right of Jordan’s cultural heritage and valued for its speed, stamina, intelligence and gentle demeanor. 

Fun fact: Arabian horses typically only have 23 vertebrae while other breeds usually have 24.

We’ll explore Amman today on a city tour and visit the electric vibe of the Amman market if time permits. Afterwards, we’ll head to Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative (“Caves of the Prince”) to share lunch with the women who run the cooperative. The co-op, founded by the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation in 1993, allows local women financial independence in addition to actively preserving heritage. Iraq al-Amir is managed and run by local women and has introduced handicraft workshops to more than 150 women from all villages of Wadi Seer. Women of all ages continue to learn how to create artisan products which are then sold in the gift shop and online. We will have an opportunity to participate in either a paper-making or weaving project with them and have time to check out the store’s colourful shelves and support the co-op.

After our artsy afternoon, we’ll proceed to Dana (194km/121 miles) and the Dana Guest House, panoramically located on the cliffs of Wadi Dana and the Dana Nature Reserve. Each room has a terrace so you can gaze away until the stars pinprick the night sky! Spoiler alert: The glass walls of the shower offer an unexpected view of the expansive valley vista while washing your hair! 

Arabic 101: Wadi means “valley” or “river that is created in the valley” when the rain falls heavily. For example, Wadi Rum translates to “ Valley of the Moon.”

Tonight’s zzz’s: Dana Guest House

DAY 4 DANA BIOSPHERE RESERVE

DAY 4 DANA BIOSPHERE RESERVE

After a nourishing breakfast we’ll start our trail to the Feynan Ecolodge, sharing the mostly downhill path with local Bedouin tending to their goats. We’ll exchange warm greetings and perhaps stop to rest and enjoy the comfort of sweet tea on our 15km (9 mile) walk (note: there is a shuttle option for women who would prefer not to walk to Fenyan). We’ll experience the four radically different biogeological zones of Dana Biosphere Reserve and observe the many rare forms of flora and fauna that flourish in each landscape. This 320-square-kilometre (199-square-miles) reserve was a prized target for future mining so the conservation efforts are to be celebrated! More than 700 plant species, 190 bird species, 37 mammal species and 36 reptiles species have been documented in Dana. We’ll be on high alert for the endangered sand cat, Syrian wolf, Lesser kestrel and spiny tailed lizard! 

Fenyan is accessed by foot as it’s snuggled deep in the beating  heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve. At the dead end of a rugged track, the fairy tale candle-lit lodge appears like a mirage in the surreal folds of the Wadi Feynan.

The 26-room solar-powered lodge has been named as one of the best 25 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine and that’s a gigantic deal! The Ecolodge’s concept was inspired by the historical caravanserai or camel caravans. The Silk Route’s exhausting, winding journey across China, Central Asia and Europe was peppered with inns for restocking supplies and resting before the next daunting leg. We have a few more sleeps before riding camels of our own in Wadi Rum at sunrise!

Rest assured, this is one of the most socially and environmentally responsible, low-impact stays in the world! Enjoy every dreamy wink, but first, be sure to get star-struck on the Ecolodge’s rooftop. A telescope allows for an even closer inspection of the dazzling constellations.

Tonight’s zzz’s: Feynan Ecolodge

DAY 5 FENYAN ECOLODGE

DAY 5 FENYAN ECOLODGE

We’ll spend the day hiking and exploring the dynamic area around Feynan and choose trail difficulty and duration according to the group’s pace and enthusiasm. Depending on the ecolodge’s daily activity calendar, we might be able to tour an ancient Roman and Byzantine copper mine, partake in a cooking class or lay back under the star-studded sky for an astronomy tour. Other potential activities include a village and museum visit, mountain biking, weaving goat-hair tents or how to make Arabic coffee or arbood bread with a local Bedouin family. 

Fenyan partners with Bedouin families providing them with a reliable means for financial security. Bedouins are typically a wandering community, however they are often found in this valley because there is a school for the children. 

The Ecolodge’s remote location allows travellers to completely disconnect from the world, recharge and support the Bedouin community in an empowering way.

Please note: The availability of these activities is dependent on Fenyan’s schedule which is subject to change but reliably full of awesome opportunities!

Later in the afternoon we will drive to the city of Petra (64km/40 miles) where we’ll be staying for the night. This transfer will likely take 1.5 to 2 hours as local Bedouins assist in shuttling guests out of the valley to meet the transfer vehicle to Petra.

Tonight’s zzz’s: The Old Village Hotel or similar

 

DAY 6 PETRA’S ALLURE

DAY 6 PETRA’S ALLURE

After breakfast and perhaps an extra cup of sweet tea to revive the senses, we’ll crack open the secret of Petra (“Red Rose City”) on our hike to absorb the iconic view of Al Khazna’s (“the Treasury”) remarkable facade, glimpsed from a narrow cleft known as the Siq. This is perhaps the single-most striking sight of the entire region so have your iPhone or camera charged and revved for a workout. The 40m (131ft) facade and the Corinthian columns, friezes, intricate carvings, echoey chambers and funerary urn are oozing with mysticism, graveyard ghosts and speculation.

Dizzy from amazement, we’ll embark on a slow and steady 3-hour hike up to a vista where we will have a birds eye view of the Treasury. This is where we can snap the million dollar selfie shot with one of the seven wonders of the world.

We’ll also see the old Roman road, amphitheater and several ancient tombs. History will surround and wow us in a way that high school history class never did! We’ll have free time after lunch to wander and wonder amidst the ancient Red Rose City. 

Today’s lunch will be boxed but sometimes you gotta think outside the box! Later tonight we’ll be welcomed into a local home where we will have the intimate joy of sharing stories and experiences with the family while enjoying some incredible, classic Jordanian eats.

Later, we will have the option of participating in the Petra by Night candlelight tour which begins at 8:30pm from the Petra Visitor Centre and finishes at 10:30pm. This event is a magical way to experience the old city by buttery candlelight. The tour involves walking the entire Siq to the Treasury which is aglow with over 1,500 candles.

Please note: The Petra by Night experience will be dependent on availability as the tour only runs three days a week.

Tonight’s zzz’s: The Old Village Hotel or similar

 

DAY 7 PETRA’S BACK DOOR

DAY 7 PETRA’S BACK DOOR

After a filling breakfast (feeding our butterflies of anticipation), we’ll wake early and make our way to the site of Little Petra which is the starting point of the hike on the back trail that will loop us back to Petra. This 8km (5 mile) hike is referred to as the “back door to Petra.” The first half of the hike is flat but does become gradually steeper.

Upon arrival, we will meet with a local expert guide who will accompany us. The landscape today is ever changing from sandy plateaus to stone staircases. We’ll pass Bedouin campsites and random goat herds on our guided tour that will culminate at the Monastery. This impressive seven-storey structure has a doorway that’s 8m (26ft) high. Though less ornate than the Treasury, the sheer scale of this building painstakingly carved into a mountainside makes it an unmatched site. It’s believed that it was used as a temple by Christians in the Byzantine period. 

High on the WOW factor, we’ll transfer to a family-run farm for a feel-good organic lunch and crackling fire. If time permits, Wild Women who have experience riding horses will be able to go for a ride while those who haven’t earned their Girl Scout equestrian badge can opt for a hike before retiring at tonight’s incredible posh stay. It’s opulent. It’s otherworldly. The Red Valley dome site is akin to a Mars colony with guaranteed “Martian views” during the day.

Tonight’s zzz’s: Memories Aicha Luxury Camp

DAY 8 WADI RUM BY JEEP

DAY 8 WADI RUM BY JEEP

It’s usually the early bird who gets the worm but today, the early birds get camels! We’ll watch the sunrise from the best seat in the house–on a camel! Camels are often referred to as “the ships of the desert” as they were (and continue to be) instrumental in transporting awkward and heavy loads. 

We’ll then jump in a Jeep for a 4-hour ride in Wadi Rum, stopping for a BBQ in the desert. Wadi Rum means ‘Valley of the Moon” and we’ll spend the morning exploring this otherworldly landscape from the vantage point of the Jeep. We’ll make several stops to fully immerse ourselves in the lunar-like landscape with our feet on the ground, or “in the sand.” You’ll see! We’ll climb sand dunes, poke around Bedouin caves and marvel at the 12,000-year-old hieroglyphs as well. 

Later in the evening, we’ll be joined by local Bedouin women who will introduce us to the ancient art of henna and Kohl (and how to apply it just right). The natural Arabic eyeliner was invented long before MAC. cosmetics and Covergirl!

Tonight we will be in the company of the Bedouin and have a snap, crackly fire and dinner under the constellation of stars.

Tonight’s zzz’s: Memories Aicha Luxury Camp

 

DAY 9 THE RED + DEAD SEA

DAY 9 THE RED + DEAD SEA

We’ll depart the clutches of Wadi Rum for the city of Aqaba on the mesmerizing Red Sea. 

Kick back, relax. It’s a one hour drive to Aqaba where we’ll take advantage of one of the warmest and saltiest bodies of water on earth and pull on some fins and snorkel masks to see what lurks below. 

We’ll board our Wild Women boat for a 4-hour journey on the Red Sea. This body of water is truly “bathtub warm” unlike the promise of your friend’s backyard pool temp in June! Here we’ll have the opportunity to snorkel in the Red Sea, one of the world’s most biodiverse coral reefs. Lunch will be on the high seas!

The afternoon will be spent travelling to the Dead Sea (a super scenic 3-hour transfer). Once we arrive and refresh, we’ll plan to regroup in the evening for a farewell dinner (sigh) conveniently located at our hotel.

Fun fact: The Red Sea’s name is derived from the colour changes that are a result of extensive blooms of the Trichodesmium erythraeum algae dying off. The sea is usually margarita green but the algae tints the waters a temporary reddish-brown.

Another fun fact: We’ve reached the lowest point on Earth: the Dead Sea. We like to call it the Grateful Dead experience.

Tonight’s zzz’s: Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea or similar

 

DAY 10 DEPARTURE

DAY 10  DEPARTURE

After a reflective breakfast we’ll have a memorable morning lolling about in the Dead Sea. Soak, float and then enjoy a purifying mud and salt scrub.

This is the perfect send-off. Scrubbed and rejuvenated, we’ll transfer as a group to Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) for big hugs and heavy-hearted goodbyes.

The only unanswered question is, where next? 

 

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!

EGYPT HIGHLIGHTS BREAK (4 DAYS)

On this heritage-steeped Egypt extension, you will be quickly immersed in all things royal and ancient in the long shadows of the Queens, goddesses and female pharaohs before us. You’ll see all the staples: the Giza Plateau (by camel even!), the recumbent Sphinx, the Temple of Luxor and the stirring Valley of the Kings. You’ll have the opportunity to dig deep into the archives of the legendary Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and be in the company of an Egyptologist guide throughout this trip. This four-day break will give you a big, tempting taste of Egypt from an Islamic Cairo walking tour to opulent hotel stays–right on the mighty Nile in Luxor.

What’s included:

  • All authentic meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast Day 4
  • 3 nights of luxe accommodation in 5 star hotels
  • Awesome female, English-speaking Egyptian Egyptologist guides
  • Airport transfers for both arrival and departure
  • All entry fees to museums, temples and activities listed in the itinerary
  • Your domestic flight (Cairo-Luxor-Cairo)–this will be arranged by WWE

Please note: An optional $30USD tip (per Wild Woman) is suggested (for restaurant, hotel staff, drivers and tour representatives).

DAY 1 ARRIVAL

DAY 1 ARRIVAL

 

Upon arrival at Cairo International Airport, a smiling Wild Women Expeditions representative will assist you through Customs and Immigration. Choose a flight with an early morning or noon hour arrival so we can jump right into a 1.5 to 2 hour city tour of Islamic Cairo.

 

In this pocket of the city, we’ll marvel at ancient monuments constructed  by the Fatimid caliphs who founded the city of Cairo in the 11th century. It’s a bustling and buzzing center of worship, sweet shops, mopeds delivering fast food, distracted pedestrians with bundles of cotton being wheeled by. Yes, there are a lot of honking horns and animated vendors hollering out with offers of grilled corn or sugarcane juice.

 

On the thronging main street of Al Muizz, we’ll witness the collision of modern expansion and heritage witnessed in the centuries-old Islamic architecture. Our walk will include old medieval city gates like Bab al-Zuwayla and Bab Al Fetouh (‘The Gate of Conquest’) which was built in 1087. The flanking towers are an imposing 23m (75ft)! Bab al-Zuwayla was constructed a few years later (1091-92)–these gates are two of the three remaining gates of Fatimid Cairo.

 

After the sensory rush and crash course in North African architecture and minarets, we’ll linger over lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy our first big taste of Egypt.

 

After a savoury traditional lunch, we’ll check into the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino in the Zamalek district and have time to chill out before dinner. The city streets become even more full of life at night with the cooler temperatures. At the hotel you can take advantage of the outdoor lap pool or spa. Experience pure Arabian hospitality and indulgence with an Ayurvedic or herbal massage (not included in trip price).

DAY 2 PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

Day 2 PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

 

We’ll take advantage of a less-crowded early morning visit to the celebrated Pyramids of Giza which include Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinu. The Pyramid of Cheops (also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza or Pyramid of Khufu) is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

 

During this tour we will have the opportunity to climb inside one of the pyramids, a truly intimate and overwhelming experience. We’ll also visit the regal Great Sphinx and take pause (and a lot of selfies) in front of the famous limestone lion’s body with a pharaoh’s head adorned in royal headdress. It’s one of the world’s largest sculptures measuring 73m(240ft) long and 20m (66ft) high.

 

Our adrenaline levels will continue to operate on HIGH as we observe the unearthly presence of the pyramids of Giza by camel. On this short camel ride, we’ll feel the unforgettable gentle sway of the “ships of the desert”. Mounting a camel from its seated position to upright is a ride within itself. Hang on!

 

Today’s tour will also include a visit to the former mortuary Valley Temple which belongs to the Pyramids of Chephren. The fourth dynasty and impossibly intact burial temples bring ancient Egyptian civilization alive in a way that your encyclopedias never could.

 

We’ll swap camel riding stories over lunch in a local restaurant before continuing on to the massive Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. Doing inventory of the artifacts here would require a lifetime! The collection is incredible–we’ll be sure to visit the treasures of the young pharaoh Tutankhamon.

 

After our wander through the hallowed museum, we’ll head to the Cairo airport for a quick hopper domestic flight to Luxor. After checking into our hotel, Sonesta St. George Luxor (where we’ll be staying for the next two nights), we’ll take five before gathering for dinner. Be sure to take in the awesome panoramas of the mighty Nile from the hotel’s terrace or go for a dip in the outdoor heated pool. The hotel is located in the beating heart of Luxor’s shopping district if you want to wander and find some local handicrafts for your cat sitter!

Tonight we will sleep parallel to the storied Nile in the shadows of Kings and Queens!

DAY 3 LUXOR

DAY 3 LUXOR

 

This morning we will explore the West Bank of Luxor with visits to the tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings and the rock-cut tombs of the Princes & Queens in the Valley of the Queens. We’ll also visit the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut and tour the unbelievable Colossi of Memnon.

 

After lunch we’ll return to the hotel for a rejuvenating sweet mint tea fix or a bracing shower. This afternoon is all about the red carpet legends: the Temples of Luxor and the Temples of Karnak, Egypt’s greatest compound of temples.

 

Later, we’ll feast like Queens and have a royal sleep in Luxor, our last precious night in Egypt’s embrace.

 

DAY 4 DEPARTURE

DAY 4 DEPARTURE

 

After breakfast we’ll return to the airport for your morning flight back to Cairo and connecting flights home. Sigh. Or, alternatively, you can extend your stay and dig deeper into the deep pockets of Cairo! There’s the Khan Al-Khalili bazaar, The Cairo Cave Church (St. Simon “The Tanner”Monastery) or the Cairo Tower with its awesome 360s. Or, simply spend a few extra days attempting to find the very best shawarma, lamb kofta kebabs, fiteer (Egyptian pancakes).

Hug your amateur Wild Women Expeditions/Egyptologist-in-training group goodbye–but be sure to make plans for your next destination together!