09 days and 08 nights
Arrival at Amman airport. Handling of border formalities and transfer to the hotel in Amman with local assistant. Dinner & overnight.
Breakfast, drive towards the desert. Our goal is the so-called desert castles, hunting lodges of the Umayyad princes from the 8th century. The Qasr Kharanah is considered the best preserved of the castles. We will then visit the Qasr Amra, the red castle, which stands out for its pleasant color and compact barrel vault. It is now protected as a World Heritage Site. We continue through the desert area to Azraq. Here we hop on bikes and cover about 23 km in 4 hours. For lunch, we visit a local Druze family in their village and have the opportunity to listen to stories from their everyday lives. By bike, we visit the castle of Azraq, ride past Byzantine ruins and further through agricultural areas. Even Lawrence of Arabia set up his winter quarters in the Qasr Azraq.
Breakfast, morning we visit the Azraq Wetland Reserve, a nature reserve that is committed to bird and game stocks. We then head south to Madaba. The city became world famous due to a mosaic in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. It shows a map of Palestine over an area of several square meters - with Jerusalem as its center. Our next destination is Mount Nebo. According to Bible archaeologists, this is the place where Moses showed the Promised Land to the Israelites and died. From here, you have the best view of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. On clear days, Jerusalem and Jericho are even on the horizon. It goes on and we reach Dana in the early evening.
Breakfast, today is all about our hike through Dhana National Park. We start with a magnificent view over the village and the gorge of Wadi Dhana. Dhana is located in the center of the national park, which offers a home to rare animals and birds such as the Blandford fox or the Verreux eagle in a magnificent landscape. About 600 plant species thrive in this reserve and care was also taken to create new sources of income for the village's over 50 Bedouin families today. They earn their living by organically growing figs, grapes, pomegranates and medicinal herbs, making silver jewelry, and hosting and entertaining visitors.
Breakfast, we set off on another hike to explore the Roman ruins and ancient copper mines in the area. We then reach the ancient settlement of Siq al Barid, also known as “Little Petra”, where remains of water pipes and cisterns as well as frescoes have been preserved. Just a few kilometers further on, we come to the Neolithic excavation site of Baidha. Here we visit agricultural settlements that are already over 9,000 years old, probably one of the oldest settlements in mankind. We drive on to Petra and prepare for a very special evening: we meet at Al Diwan, a place where tribal members meet and negotiate their affairs. There we enjoy our dinner with a local sheik who introduces us to the fascinating Bedouin culture and tells us about the achievements of his ancestors. With a typical Arabian coffee, we feel like we're in the fairy tale of 1001 nights.
Breakfast, start your Petra visit from the Siq, a long, narrow rocky gorge of fascinating beauty, in some places only two meters wide, provides access to Petra. Our hike to the ancient capital of the Nabataeans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, begins through this gorge. It is certainly one of the jewels among the sights of the Middle East. At the end of the dusk, cool gorge, we see pink temple columns bathed in light and suddenly stand spellbound in an open space in front of the towering, rock-hewn facade, the so-called “treasure house of the pharaohs.” Bedouin voices and the sight of a camel outside the temple entrance bring us back to reality. We are surrounded by a labyrinth of bizarre sandstone cliffs shimmering in reddish pastel colors, from which artisans carved buildings. We walk through the huge area and realize that the overwhelming beauty of this place is difficult to describe in words. E.T. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) called Petra the eighth wonder of the world — in fact, it is a total work of art. We ascend to the Ed-Deir rock temple, with a height of 40 meters and a width of 47 meters, one of the most powerful Petrical rock facades, which is particularly photogenic in the mild light of the late afternoon sun. On the way back, we admire other well-known royal tombs before we reach our hotel.
Breakfast, on rarely used paths, we hike along a very scenic path up to the Great Sacrifice Square on the Zibb Atuf. Here, too, an indescribable panorama silences us: A rust-brown-violet rock landscape marked by wind and weather surrounds us. Animal sacrifices, but also grain and milk were offered on the stone sacrificial table of the 65-metre-long square. The main god of the Nabataeans had his dwelling in stone. (The name “Petra,” also called the “pink jewel” of the Nabatees, means “rock” in Greek.)
We then head into the fascinating Wadi Rum, the landscape that E.T. Lawrence described as “echoing immeasurably and divine.” Undoubtedly, we experience Jordan's most impressive desert landscape here, in which David Lean filmed the famous history strip “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962. We spend the night in fixed tents in the desert. Before we warm up around the campfire in the evening and watch the sparkling starry sky, we explore the impressive landscape on a short hike.
In the light of the early morning, we set off on a desert hike in Wadi Rum. We discover this special landscape on foot and admire the fascinating rock formations. After that, the next highlight is already waiting for us: the Dead Sea. At 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, where we can swim in a very special way. We float on the extremely salty water and can relax from today's hike. In the evening we will meet for the last dinner together.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for departure.