About the challenge
This challenging and beautiful trek takes us through spectacular desert, wadis, jagged mountains rising to 1400m, and to ancient archaeological sites which are among the oldest in the Middle East. We reach Petra with its huge rock-hewn tombs and buildings set amongst strange red sandstone formations and spectacular desert, it is a truly unique place.We will be camping enroute and travelling with the local Bedouin. This is a fantastic challenge and a great adventure ending up with a free day on the shores of the Red Sea!
Day 1: Fly London to Amman
Arrive and transfer to hotel in the centre of town, approx 45 minutes away. Night hotel.
Day 2: Dana – Feinan Ruins
Drive approx 3 hrs; trek approx 13 km / 7 – 8 hrs
After an early breakfast and detailed trip briefing, we drive south through a varied desert landscape to the small village of Dana. The village lies within a relatively new 320km² nature reserve of the same name. The park is very diverse, with mountains, valleys, plateaux and desert, and is strikingly colourful. Our trek starts from the village, where we begin our descent along a twisting track to the desert floor (approx 250m above sea level). We pass through different eco-systems with varying flora and fauna, eventually reaching our campsite on the desert floor next to the ruins of Feinan, an ancient Byzantine church dating back to 4000 BC. Night camp.
Day 3: Feinan Ruins – Wadi Araba
Trek approx 18km / 8 – 9 hrs
We wake early and, after a good breakfast, load up the equipment and set off on our day’s trek. Our route today takes us across hamada, rough stony desert, with beautiful jagged mountains rising up to 1400m to the east. To the west and northwest, open desert descends towards the Dead Sea, which lies 400m below sea level. The morning’s route takes us around several small hills before we head out across open desert towards Wadi Barwaz, which lies at the foot of the mountains, for lunch. Wadi is the name given to a dried-up river bed or water course, a regular feature in this dry landscape. After lunch and a brief rest we head south-west into the desert. We gradually descend towards Wadi Araba, first crossing hamada and then an area of small sand dunes. The views are awe-inspiring and we gain a true sense of the wonderful desert landscape. We camp again under amazingly clear, starry night skies. Night camp.
Day 4: Wadi Araba – Ras Feid
Trek approx 14km / 8 – 9 hrs
Today we leave the sand dunes behind us and head back into the mountains. We have a gradual ascent across the desert to Abu Sakakin, lying at the foot of the mountains. From here we start a steeper ascent across small boulders and rocks to the foot of a steep and twisty track. This track takes us high into the mountains: a particularly challenging section! This is a remote but beautiful region with spectacular views west into the desert. After a break for lunch, we continue up to the high saddle (720m), from where we have good views into the heart of these stunning mountains. We follow a steep, narrow track which winds its way down to the river valley; once on the valley floor our route takes us through the beautiful Sakakin canyon before making camp above the river at Ras Feid. Night camp.
Day 5: Ras Feid – Shkaret Msei’d
Trek approx 18km / 8 – 9 hrs
We leave camp behind us and enjoy a pleasant walk back through the Sakakin canyon. Our route then becomes tougher as we gradually climb back up into the mountains. This trail is used by the Bedouin as they move their animals from the desert to the higher and cooler regions for the summer. The views are outstanding. Our track is tough, with some steep climbs and rocky descents, but the rewards are superb! Eventually we climb up to a pass, where we have tremendous views across the mountain range and the desert beyond, and to our day’s destination: Shkaret Msei’d. We descend to the river valley and continue along the valley floor to Shkaret Msei’d, where we make camp. This is a tough day in some challenging terrain. Night camp.
Day 6: Shkaret Msei’d – Little Petra
Trek approx 16 km / 8 hrs
After another night sleeping under the stars, we head inland, away from the mountains and desert landscapes, towards the ancient site of Little Petra. Our route follows an undulating path through low-lying hills and a couple of small settlements before suddenly arriving amongst the simple rock-hewn temples and strange sandstone formations of the site itself. These ruins are some of the oldest in the Middle East, dating back 9000 years, and will whet our appetite for the sights that await us tomorrow at Petra. After touring the site, we will continue weaving our way through the valleys to our campsite set amongst the rock formations. Night camp.
Day 7: Petra – Dead Sea
Trek approx 18 km / 7 hrs; drive approx 4 hrs
Today is what we have all been waiting for: the trek into Petra itself! The huge tombs and buildings of Petra, carved out of the rock, are testament to the one-time wealth of the ancient capital of the Nabateans. The trek takes us initially to the Monastery, an impressive carved building standing an immense 43m high and 50m wide. We continue on our guided trek to the centre of Petra, before heading around Jebel al-Khubtha and the amazing red-striped sandstone rocks to Wadi Mataha. We then walk through the As-Siq to see the Treasury, the most famous and impressive sight at Petra. A further half-hour trek back through the Siq takes us to our waiting transport, which whisks us off to the Dead Sea coast for two nights of relaxation and a hotel with showers and comfortable beds! Night hotel. (Dinner not included)
Day 8: Dead Sea Coast
A full day to relax and enjoy the delights of the scenic Dead Sea coast. The Dead Sea is at least 8 times more salty than the ocean, and having a relaxing float in the salty waters is too good an opportunity to miss! We meet up again in the evening for a big celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel. (Lunch and dinner not included)
Day 9: Return to UK
Drive to Amman for our return flight back to London.
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights and transfers; camping equipment (except sleeping bag and sleeping mat); all meals except three as specified in the itinerary; entrance to Petra and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of guides, cooks, drivers and muleteers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline (capped at £200 by Discover Adventure), three meals as specified, tips for local crew, or international departure tax (not currently applied). It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick (we regret we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Royal Jordanian Airlines however, we don’t always use fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp for five nights during the trek, usually in two-man tents. The hotels in Amman and at the Dead Sea are 3 or 4* – clean and comfortable with private facilities, but please do not expect the same standards as you would in a tourist hotel in the UK!
All food is included when camping. The food is good and there is plenty of it. Three meals as detailed in the itinerary are not included. While camping there is a limited amount of water to wash with – we are in a desert so we prioritise it for drinking and cooking!
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are.Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough.The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, cooks, drivers and muleteers. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and muleteers do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by vehicles and mules. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
The terrain is very hilly and varied with narrow rocky tracks, some scree slopes and some exposed sections. There is also some walking on soft, loose sand. Some climbs – and descents - are steep and strenuous; you should have a good level of fitness. You will trek approximately 95-100km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give more accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for – it’s your time spent trekking each day and the terrain that you need to focus on! We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote mountains and desert, where we could be exposed to extremes of weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
It will generally be dry and hot, though as you gain height in the mountains expect temperatures to cool. Strong winds are not uncommon.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months on entry into Jordan. Visas are required for British passport-holders; they can be obtained upon arrival at Amman airport. Other nationalities should check with the embassy.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the past ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. You should always check with your GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them.Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.