Jordan & Oman

Tour Cost ($AUD): $13,950

Tour Dates: 14 October 2018 - 4 November 2018

Single Supplement ($AUD): $3,880

Tour Duration: 22 days

Jordan & Oman is a remarkable 22-day journey to two culturally and architecturally rich desert nations sitting at opposite ends of the Arabian Peninsula. Join us as we follow in the footsteps of prophets and kings on a journey of discovery to these ancient kingdoms of the desert!

Our tour begins in the Jordanian capital, Amman from where we visit the ancient Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash. Moving south we arrive at the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea – a vast natural spa of salt and minerals shimmering in the shadow of Mt Nebo. We then continue on to the lost caravan city of Petra – one of the world’s most visually stunning archaeological sites. Petra (meaning ‘the rock’ in Greek) is an abandoned necropolis of temples and tombs cut into towering cliffs of red, pink and orange sandstone, accessed via a narrow, almost impenetrable, chasm. A visit here is never to be forgotten. Leaving Petra we head south to great desert of Lawrence of Arabia, Wadi Rum, where we enjoy an overnight stay in a luxury tented Bedouin camp. From Jordan we fly to the Sultanate of Oman, a country of breathtaking natural beauty, interwoven with ancient history and legends. We begin in the capital, Muscat, before heading south to Ras Al Hadd, the magnificent Wahiba Sands, Nizwa, the spectacular ‘Grand Canyon’ of Oman, and the gorgeously lush city of Salalah. Here the footsteps of prophets and kings have left their mark on a majestic land that seamlessly blends traditional and modern culture that is the last real essence of Arabia.

Tour Fitness Level: Moderate

Jordan

  • Go snorkelling in the clear waters of the Red Sea
  • Share morning tea with Bedouins in the spectacular Wadi Rum valley
  • Visit the 2,000-year-old rock-carved city of Petra
  • Float in the ‘largest natural spa’ in the world – the Dead Sea
  • Enjoy a barbeque on the shores of the Dead Sea at sunset
  • Visit King Hussein’s car museum
  • Explore the Roman ruins at the ancient city of Jerash

Oman

  • Wander through the Labyrinthine souk of Mutrah
  • Enjoy dinner on a dhow cruise at sunset on the Gulf of Oman
  • Watch giant green sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach
  • Enjoy a night of luxury amid the stars and dunes of a desert camp
  • View the amazing ‘Grand Canyon’ of Arabia near Jebel Shams
  • Gaze at pastures where rare frankincense trees are found
  • Discover Salalah, the ‘perfume capital’ of Arabia
  • See the wonderful Yemeni architecture of Mirbat

Inclusions

  • All international flights
  • Internal flights in Jordan and Oman
  • All ticketable air taxes (may be subject to change)
  • All accommodation (twin share)
  • All transfers
  • All local transportation
  • All meals as specified
  • Expert local tour guides
  • Travel Directors’ Tour leader throughout
  • All entrance fees in specified sightseeing
  • Visas and courier fees
  • All tips and gratuities

Please note that whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the above pricing, currency fluctuations beyond our control can affect final tour costs. A booking form is to be completed by all passengers, and a non-refundable deposit of AUD $3,000 paid at the time of booking. All escorted tours are based on a minimum group size of 10 people travelling.

14/10/2018 Australia – Dubai

Depart from your chosen Australian airport on the flight to Dubai.

15/10/2018 Dubai – Amman (LD)

On arrival in Dubai connect with the flight to Amman.

Depart Dubai Emirates EK 901, 07.25

Arrive Amman 09.45

Amman is a city straddling seven hills where modern buildings blend with the remnants of ancient civilisations. The mass of gleaming white houses, kebab stalls and tiny cafes where rich Arabian coffee is sipped, conjure up a mood straight out of 1001 Nights. On arrival in Amman we transfer to our hotel, and after lunch we take a city tour.

Le Meridien Amman Hotel

Amman

16/10/2018 Amman (BLD)

Today we embark on an excursion to the ancient city of Jerash – a close second to Petra on the list of must-see destinations in Jordan. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world.

17/10/2018 Amman – Dead Sea (BLD)

After breakfast we head south to the Dead Sea. En-route we visit Madaba and Mt Nebo for stunning views across the sea to Israel. Continuing on our journey, we arrive at the Dead Sea. Described as the ‘largest natural spa’ in the world, the Dead Sea, at 400m below sea level, is the lowest point on earth. Possessing its own micro-climate, it contains more salt and minerals than any other sea in the world.

Movenpick Resort & Spa (BLD)

Dead Sea

18/10/2018 Dead Sea – Petra (BLD)

This morning we have the chance to float in the Dead Sea and experience the healing and rejuvenating properties of its famous black mud. After lunch we board our coach for the three hour journey south to Petra.

Movenpick Resort

Petra

19/10/2018 Petra (BLD)

Hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains, the 2,000-year-old rock-carved city of Petra is full of mystery. The approach through the cool gloom of the Siq, a long narrow chasm, provides a dramatic contrast to the magic that follows. Suddenly the gorge opens into a natural square dominated by Petra’s most famous monument, the Khasneh, with its unmistakable intricate facade. British explorer, Rose Macaulay, wrote in 1953: ‘If ever a dead city held romance it is Petra … hewn out of ruddy rock in the midst of a mountain wilderness … this lost caravan city staggers even the most experienced traveller.’

20/10/2018 Petra – Wadi Rum (BLD)

After breakfast we drive south to the spectacular valley of Wadi Rum. This is a magnificent desert with uniquely shaped mountains rising out of the rose-red sand. We enjoy a camel ride before sharing lunch with the desert-dwelling Bedouins. Our home for the night is a luxury tented camp nestled amongst the red rocks and sands of the desert.

Sun City Bedouin Camp

Wadi Rum

21/10/2018  Wadi Rum – Aqaba (BLD)

This morning we experience the thrill of waking up in the tranquillity of the desert, before heading out on a three hour jeep safari through the red sands of Wadi Rum. Later we drive to Aqaba and transfer to our hotel. After lunch we enjoy an afternoon city tour of Aqaba.

Movenpick City Hotel

Aqaba

22/10/2018  Aqaba – Pharoah Island – Aqaba (BLD

The Red Sea has some of the most beautiful coral in the world and today we have a chance to experience this amazing part of the world as we take a relaxing boat ride to Pharaoh Island. The blueness and clarity of the Red Sea is dazzling: it is truly one of the planet’s most exotic and fascinating natural seascape environments. We have the opportunity to go snorkelling in the clear waters, which is a truly remarkable experience.

23/10/2018 Aqaba – Amman – Muscat (BLD)

After breakfast we begin our journey north to Amman. On arrival we transfer to the airport for our flight to Muscat.

Depart Amman Oman Air WY414, 19.20

Arrive Muscat 23.55

On arrival in Muscat we transfer to our hotel.

The Chedi Muscat

Muscat

24/10/2018 Muscat (BLD)

Lying on the Arabian Sea, the historic port of Muscat is the capital of Oman and the largest urban settlement in the country. Contrasting with the sleepy and sparsely inhabited deserts of Oman’s interior, it is easily the Gulf’s most attractive city. Muscat is an old walled town and is surrounded by a horseshoe ring of mountains that is a natural barrier to expansion of the city. The seaward face of Muscat is dominated by the Portuguese fortresses of Merani and Jalali which were built in 1587. This mix of ancient and modern is a constant theme of Muscat as we see houses, gates, old markets, small shops and small winding roads, side by side with modern markets, shops, buildings and streets with an eclectic mix of architecture. Oman thus preserves its historic character and at the same time enjoys a contemporary spirit. On arrival into Muscat we transfer to our hotel. After lunch we stroll along the waterfront of Mutrah, Muscat’s oldest quarter, and into the labyrinthine passageways of the Mutrah souk, which has the best fish markets on the Gulf as well as a multitude of jewellery and craft stalls.

25/10/2018 Muscat (BLD)

After breakfast we visit the beautiful Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which houses the second-largest carpet in the world. This hand-made marvel contains 1.7 billion knots, weighs 21 tonnes and took 400 weavers more than four years to make. Later we explore the superb Natural History Museum and the colourful local bazaar before taking a dhow cruise on the sparkling waters of the Gulf.

26/10/2018 Muscat – Sur – Ras Al Hadd (BLD)

This morning we leave Muscat and follow the rugged coastline south as we head for Qahid, pausing en-route to visit the Port of Sur. Once a major trading port with East Africa, Sur embodies the seafaring origins of Oman. We visit the shipbuilding yard where traditional dhow boats, used throughout the 19th century, are still built today. We then continue onto Ras Al Hadd, stopping briefly at the fishing village of Ayega, once a stronghold of rebellious sheikhs, but now a quiet community of old merchant houses. Tonight we head down to the beach to one of the few nesting places of the giant green sea turtle and watch these majestic creatures come ashore to lay their eggs under the light of the stars.

Turtle Beach Resort

Ras Al Hadd

27/10/2018 Ras Al Hadd – Wahiba Sands (BLD)

This morning we leave the coast behind us and drive deep into the heart of the shifting sands of Wahiba. Like a great ocean of sand, the endless dunes are an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. Red at the base and honey coloured on the top, the dunes can rise to 200 metres in height and are home to the Bedu nomadic tribesmen who roam the land with goats and camels. An exhilarating drive across the dunes brings us to our desert camp in the Wahiba Sands where we enjoy a spectacular sunset as we prepare for a night under the desert sky.

Desert Night Camp

Wahiba

28/10/2018 Wahiba – Nizwa (BLD)

Early this morning the last of the desert mists begin to fade. We continue across the incredibly barren sands that are actually home to a phenomenal amount of life. As well as the Bedu people, they are home to an exotic diversity of fauna including dragonflies, wolf, two species of Ruppell’s fox, wild cats, and white-tailed mongooses. Some 115 species of birds have also been recorded here including the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles. We reach Nizwa this afternoon, the capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD, and still regarded as its cultural capital.

Golden Tulip Hotel

Nizwa

29/10/2018 Nizwa – Jebel Shams – Nizwa (BLD)

Today we explore Nizwa and the surrounding area. Nizwa was the centre of Imam resistance right up until the 1950s when the Sultan called upon the British to help quell the rebels. We visit the 17th century Nizwa Fort, built to guard the Sumail Gap during the struggle between the Sultan and the radical Imams. Heading north through the mountains, we pass the dramatic craggy peaks of the Jebel Akhdar range, the highest mountain range in Oman. Despite its desolate and barren nature, small settlements cling to the plateaus, nestling in the lunar-like landscape as they have for thousands of years. En-route we stop to view the Al Hamra mountain range and the highest peak in Oman, Jebel Shams (3,000m). Along the track to the summit of Jebel Shams we encounter an astonishing view down a sheer drop of 1000m to the bottom of the ‘Grand Canyon’, Oman’s own and equally spectacular version of its American counterpart. Late afternoon we return to Nizwa.

30/10/2018 Jebel Shams – Muscat – Salalah (BLD)

After breakfast we head back to Muscat through the stunning Wadi Bani Awf. Leaving the smooth roads behind, we head into a narrow canyon with steep sided cliffs. Here the palm trees, scattered dwellings and interrupted streams create a tranquil atmosphere. We continue on to Muscat and the airport, for our flight south to Salalah.

Depart Muscat

Arrive Salalah On arrival in Salalah we transfer to our hotel

Hilton Hotel

Salalah

31/10/2018 Salalah (BLD)

Salalah is the second largest city in Oman and is the capital of the southern province of Dhofar. Known as the ‘perfume capital of Arabia’, Salalah has many attractions, both natural and man-made. Outside of the city herds of cattle graze on lush green pastures that are lined with magnificent frankincense trees from which the aromatic resin is used in the production of oils and incense. Today we explore the Heritage Souk, where we find different types of Omani crafts and incense burners, while the New Souk is a great example of a modern Arabian market. Passing typical Dhofari houses with caravan windows and doors, we reach the Old Souk which has a vast array of Frankincense, Dhofari traditional clothes and cosmetics.

01/11/2018 Salalah (BLD)

After breakfast we drive across beautiful mountains where we see the real beauty of Dhofar. At Job’s tomb, where the remains of the Old Testament prophet are said to be buried, we enjoy a unique panoramic view of the Al Garbib Plain. Afterwards we reach a beautiful sandy beach flanked by sculpted cliffs and blowholes where jets of water can reach heights of 30m or more. Here we see the most dramatic section of the Dhofar Mountains, which rise up steeply from the strong currents of the sea. Later we head to the top of the mountain plateau as we return to Salalah.

02/11/2018 Salalah – Mirbat – Salalah (BLD)

Today we drive east of Salalah to the sardine-producing village of Taqa, renowned for its 19th century castle, and not far from the ruined palace of the Queen of Sheba. We take the coastal road to Mirbat, formerly an important breeding centre for Arabian horses, and centre of the slave trade. Here, at the foot of the Qara Mountains, the streets are lined with old merchant houses, notable for their classic Yemeni style architecture of carved doors and windows. This is the home of the Jebali people who own the huge camel and cattle herds that now surround us. Late afternoon we return to Salalah.

03/11/2018 Salalah – Dubai – Australia (BL)

This morning is at leisure in Salalah. In the afternoon we farewell Oman and transfer to the airport for our homeward flight.

Depart Salalah Fly Dubai, FZ34, 19.50

Arrive Dubai 21.50

04/11/2018 Dubai – Australia

On arrival in Dubai connect with the flight to your chosen Australian capital city.