This challenging and adventurous trek takes us through unique landscapes in one of the friendliest countries in the world, ending at the impressive rock-hewn facades of Petra’s red canyons, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Starting at Dana, we follow ancient Bedouin paths for one hundred spectacular, vista-packed kilometres of the 650-km Jordan Trail. From gentle hills, wadis and arid desert, we cross the dramatic mountains, sandstone canyons and wild-sculpted escarpments of Jordan’s Rift Valley.
Our trek ends with a beautiful, little-used ascent to the ‘back door’ of Petra, the ancient Red-Rose City of the Nabateans, which we have time to explore. A day relaxing at the Dead Sea rounds off this unforgettable adventure.
After an early breakfast and trip briefing, we drive south through varied arid landscapes via the small village of Dana to our trek start point, where we have lunch. We are surrounded by mountains, valleys, plateaux and desert, all strikingly colourful. Our afternoon’s walk serves as great acclimatisation to the heat and landscape, taking us through desert floor on twisting trails to our desert campsite next to the ruins of Feinan, an ancient Byzantine church dating back to 4000 BC. Night camp.
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, but it is hard-going at times and hot work. We camp again under amazingly clear, starry night skies. Night camp.
Today we leave the flat hamada behind and head into the mountains, where at least shade and a welcome breeze are more prevalent. A gradual ascent across stony desert brings us to the foot of the mountains, and from here a steeper ascent across small boulders and rocks brings us to a steep and twisty track. We follow this 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 steeply up to the high saddle (720m), with breath-taking views into the heart of these stunning mountains. We then follow a steep, narrow track which winds its way down to the river valley; the scenery constantly changes as we climb and descend amidst dramatic red cliffs and rocks. A short and well-earned flat section takes us through the beautiful Sakakin canyon before a more gradual ascent on good tracks to camp above the river. Night camp.
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 magnificent. Our route is tough, with some steep climbs and rocky descents as we contour around the mountainsides, but the rewards are superb! Eventually we climb up to a pass, where we have tremendous views across the rounded white moonscape-like rocks and cliffs, and the desert beyond. We descend to the river valley and continue among incredible eroded rock formations to Shkaret Msei’d, where we camp in a simply wonderful setting near a Nabatean wine press. This is a tough but outstanding day in some challenging terrain. Night camp.
After another night under the stars we head predominantly downhill from the mountains into low-lying hills and the desert landscapes surrounding the ancient site of Little Petra. Our route follows an undulating path which is at times relatively gentle and easy-going underfoot, though there are some steep, rocky sections. We emerge from a narrow canyon into sand-dunes; crossing them between dramatic eroded cliffs, we arrive suddenly 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 at Petra. We tour the site before continuing to weave our way through the rocky valleys to the permanent camp set amongst the rock formations which is our home for tonight – with showers, electricity and proper beds in cabin-like tents, this feels like a well-earned luxury! Night camp.
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, which provided refuge to caravans of traders crossing the deserts. Our little-trodden route takes us up through a rocky canyon and a long series of steps, with spectacular views once more, before contouring around the mountainside and undulating through sandy desert. Before us we finally see the Monastery, an impressive carved building standing an immense 43m high and 50m wide, and one of the highlights of Petra. We continue on our guided trek to the centre of Petra, descending roughly 800 rock-hewn steps, and admiring the incredible ruins and tombs, before arriving at the Treasury, the most famous and impressive sight at Petra. We then walk out through the famous narrow As-Siq to the conventional entrance, where our waiting transport takes us off to the Dead Sea coast for two nights of relaxation! Night hotel.
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, and a good coating of natural mud, is too good an opportunity to miss! We meet up again in the evening for a big celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel.
We camp in two-man tents; these are usually expedition-style (ie sleeping room only). Camps are usually simple, in remote locations with amazing views and incredible sunsets! There are toilet tents and a communal dining tent (with comfy mats to sit on, or opt for chairs/stools round a campfire). The local crew look after us very well. The last camping night is in a permanent camp with great facilities; we sleep in canvas-walled huts containing proper beds! This is a magical last night out under the stars. At the start and end of the trip we stay in good hotels (2-3* standard at start, more resort-style at the Dead Sea); rooms are twin-share.
We camp in two-man tents; these are usually expedition-style (ie sleeping room only). Camps are usually simple, in remote locations with great views! We have communal dining areas (usually with tables and chairs/stools) and toilet tents, and the local crew look after us very well. We stay in hotels (of a 2-3* standard or equivalent) at the start and end of the trip; standards may vary between different hotels, but they are generally clean and comfortable with good facilities.
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 communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They 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 medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.
We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. 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.
Travel Insurance is compulsory on our challenges; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed. Should you need to cancel on medical grounds, you will need insurance to cover the costs involved (registration fee and any trip costs depending on cancellation date).
You should also ensure that you have adequate cover for the type of challenge you are taking part in as well as medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation.
You can obtain a quote with Insure to Travel from our website here, or you may choose to take out your own travel insurance, just remember to let us know the policy number and emergency phone number!
For more information about travel insurance, please click here.
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 participants 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!