Jordan & Oman

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 Sultanate of Oman, a country of breathtaking natural beauty, interwoven with ancient history and legends. We spend three nights in the gorgeously lush city of Salalah before flying north to Nizwa and continuing by road to Wahiba Sands, the spectacular ‘Grand Canyon’ of Oman, the coastal town of Ras Al Hadd, and the exciting Omani capital, Muscat. We then fly to 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. Leaving Petra we head south to the great desert of Lawrence of Arabia, Wadi Rum, where we enjoy an overnight stay in a luxury tented Bedouin camp, before continuing on to Aqaba, the final destination on our tour. These ancient desert kingdoms seamlessly blend traditional and modern culture that is the last real essence of Arabia!

Tour Fitness Level: Moderate

Highlights

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.

Itinerary

11/10/2020 Australia – Dubai

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

12/10/2020 Dubai – Salalah (D)

On arrival in Dubai connect with the flight to Salalah.

Depart Dubai Emirates EK 2026, 17.00

Arrive Salalah 19.00

On arrival in Salalah we transfer to our hotel.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Salalah

13/10/2020 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.

14/10/2020 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.

15/10/2020 Salalah – Muscat – Nizwa (BLD)

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for the flight to Muscat.

Depart Salalah Oman Air WY 904Y, 11.20

Arrive Muscat 13.00

On arrival in Muscat we board our coach for the 90 minute drive to Nizwa. The capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD, Nizwa is still regarded as its cultural capital, and this afternoon we enjoy a walking tour including the 17th  century  fort and the souk.

Golden Tulip Hotel

Nizwa

16/10/2020 Nizwa – Jebel Akhdar – Nizwa (BLD)

Today we drive to around 3,000 metres to the Jebal Akhdar. Meaning ‘Green Mountain’  and part of the mighty Al Hajar mountain range, Jebel Akhdar area encompasses the Saiq Plateau. The area has been designated a nature reserve to protect its biodiversity and although a stark and dry landscape, it is also home to flourishing orchards growing apricots, pomegranates and walnuts, as well as other fruits.

17/10/2020 Nizwa – Jebel Shams – Nizwa (BLD)

After breakfast we head north through the mountains to 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.

18/10/2020 Nizwa – Wahiba (BLD)

Leaving Nizwa, we drive south east and soon begin to cross the incredibly barren sands that are actually home to a phenomenal amount of life and 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. 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

19/10/2020 Wahiba Sands – Ras Al Hadd (BLD)

Early this morning as the last of the desert mists begin to fade, we leave the shifting sands of Wahiba behind us and begin our drive to the coast and Ras Al Hadd. This is one of  the few nesting places of the giant green sea turtle, and this evening we head down to the beach to watch these majestic creatures come ashore to lay their eggs under the light of the stars.

Turtle Beach Resort

Ras Al Hadd

20/10/2020  Ras Al Hadd – Sur – Muscat (BLD)

This morning we leave the resort for the short walk to the turtle nesting ground. This gives us the opportunity to see the turtles in daylight as they make their way back to the ocean. We then begin our drive north to Muscat stopping first at the fishing village of Ayega, once a stronghold of rebellious sheikhs, but now a quiet community of old merchant houses. Next stop is 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 continue our journey north along the rugged coastline before turning inland and arriving into Muscat late afternoon.

Intercontinental Hotel

Muscat

21/10/2020 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.

22/10/2020 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.

23/10/2020  Muscat – Amman (BLD)

This morning is at leisure. Late morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Amman.

Depart Muscat Oman Air WY413, 14.50

Arrive Amman 17.30

On arrival in Oman we transfer to our hotel.

Le Grand Hotel

Amman

24/10/2020 Amman (BLD)

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. This morning we take a city tour. After lunch 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.

25/10/2020 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

Dead Sea

26/10/2020 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

27/10/2020  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.’

28/10/2020 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

29/10/2020  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

30/10/2020 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.

31/10/2020 Aqaba – Amman – Dubai – Australia (BL)

After breakfast we drive north to Amman and transfer to the airport for our homeward flight.

Depart Amman Emirates, EK 904, 17.10

Arrive Dubai 22.00

01/11/2020 Dubai – Australia

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