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.
Jackie - June 2019
Truly awesome Trek across the desert, nothing prepares you for the wonder of arriving at Little Petra and Petra by the back door, Wow.
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.
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. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.
An expedition doctor or medic accompanies the group (dependent on group size.) Their role is 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 total 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: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, 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, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. 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 many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
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.
Group flights usually leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick but may also depart from regional airports, and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. We do not always use the same airline for each destination and low cost airlines may be used for short haul flights. If you wish to know the probable carrier and flight times, please call for details.
By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 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 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.
Some accommodation (in hotels or camp) will be twin-share. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.
On some nights we are likely to sleep in more communal accommodation such as dormitories/hostels, huts, local homestays or monasteries, depending on the trip, and you may be sharing with a larger number of participants or the whole group; this type of accommodation cannot always be single-sex.
Your booking is part of a group challenge, and the tour costs and fundraising targets listed on our website are based on a minimum number of participants which is shown on the challenge Our typical groups run with approximately 20-30 participants; however you may find your group is smaller or larger than this.
We will confirm at least 12 weeks prior to departure that your challenge is guaranteed to run. Occasionally it may be possible to still run the challenge with less than the minimum numbers, subject to a small group supplement. If we think a small group supplement may be necessary, we will discuss this with you as soon as possible, usually 5 months before your departure date.
Minimum numbers and groups sizes may vary on Bespoke Charity challenges. If you are booked onto a bespoke challenge please contact your charity for full details.
The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.
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 may be in very rural or remote 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 we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.
Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft 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.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to cancel your booking, we would ask that you notify us in writing either by post or email. Your cancellation will be considered effective from the date the notice is received. Registration fees, amendment fees and insurance premiums are non refundable and, depending on your payment option and how close it is to your challenge departure date, you may be liable for a cancellation charge.
Full details of all cancellation charges may be found in the Terms and Conditions of booking.
Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check your requirements using our partner, Visa Machine, website here; please ensure you allow plenty of time.
Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
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.
If you are still to buy some kit don’t forget that Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need offer all Discover Adventure participants 15% off any purchases you make with them. Please ask us for the code if you do not have this already.
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!