From the Pyramids of Giza to the majestic city of Petra, the Dead Sea and desert camping at Wadi Rum, you will experience the highlights of travel to the Middle East in our popular and action-packed 20 day overland adventure.
Our travel to the Middle East begins! The tour departs at 9am for the Egypt section of our Middle East tour. With an Egyptologist Guide we visit the world-famous Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza and here we also include a camel ride. In the afternoon our guide takes us to the Egyptian History Museum before we catch an overnight train to Aswan.
Arguably the most attractive city on the Nile, Aswan is imbued with the relaxed attitude of the Nubian people who live here. During the two days we are in Aswan we stay in a two star, locally-owned hotel. You will have the opportunity to visit Abu Simbel, the great stone monuments built by Ramses II, as well as a number of temples and tombs on the West Bank of the Nile, across the river from Aswan, accessible by ferry or felucca. Elephantine Island is also well worth visiting, with small ferries crossing to and fro' all the time.
From Aswan we take a traditional Egyptian sailboat or 'felucca' on the Nile River a "must-do" experience during any travel to the Middle East. We spend the next two days aboard watching Egypt glide by and sleeping under the stars. As well as the felucca captain, we also have a cook who will be preparing three meals a day for us while on board. We have the option of stopping off at Kom Ombo and visiting the Temple of Horus at Edfu, before continuing on to Luxor.
Days 6 & 7
Luxor is where we join our overland truck and we camp here for three nights. We visit the Valley of the Kings on donkeys and your local guide will explain the 3000 year old history of the Pharaohs and their mummification and journey through the underworld. There is also the option to go to the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Workers, Queen Hatshepsuts Temple, Karnak Temple with its sound and light show, and Luxor Temple.
From Luxor we camp overnight in the desert and then crossing the Suez Canal we may catch sight of the huge ships that seemingly pass through the desert sands, before continuing on to St Catherine's Monastery where it is possible to climb Mount Sinai. This is an amazing place to watch the sun rise over the Sinai Desert.
Dahab on the Red Sea coast is our base for the next three days. Here, you can snorkel or scuba dive to some of the best coral reefs in the world, go desert quad biking or just lie on the beach. You can also take a one-day camel safari and trek off-road down the desert coastline.
This morning we leave Egypt by ferry across the Red Sea to Aquaba in Jordan. From here it is a short drive into the Wadi Rum desert where we camp overnight. The silent nights are unforgettable with their stunning blanket of stars. Wadi Rum has some of the most spectacular desert scenery anywhere in the world and it was here that Lawrence of Arabia and his Arab forces had their secret base. Here you have the option of taking a 4WD jeep safari with Bedouin guides.
Climbing into the mountains we spend the next two nights in a locally-owned hotel at Petra. Situated in a deep ravine with towering sandstone cliffs and hills, the ancient City of Petra is carved out of the rock. The sheer size and architecture of the rock hewn buildings is quite breath-taking. The Nabetaeans who built Petra over 2000 years ago grew to immense wealth by first plundering and then extorting 'safe passage' tolls from the spice and slave caravans that had to pass through their territory. Eventually the Romans took Petra, and some of their influence can also be seen.
A visit to the lowest point on Earth! The Dead Sea is over 1000ft below sea level, very hot throughout the year, and is claimed to have many therapeutic qualities. Situated in the northern-most point of the Great Rift Valley of Africa it is formed by the River Jordan which flows into it. Here you can indulge in relaxing mud baths and an unusual swimming - or rather floating - experience in this highly buoyant salt sea. This is another one of the 'must do' activities of any travel to the Middle East. In the late afternoon we have a short drive to Mt Nebo with its stunning views over Israel - it is also the final resting place for Moses.
We arrive in Amman, the capital of Jordan the following morning. Steeped in history - it is mentioned in the Old Testament and the Bible - it is now a modern, cosmopolitan Arab city with an extremely friendly and well-educated population, many of whom speak English and is a very interesting and bustling city to wander around for a few hours.
Those on the 18-day Middle East tour finish here in Amman at midday. Extra
nights accommodation in our Amman hotel can be arranged if you wish.
Those on the 20-day Middle East tour carry on to Damascus.
It is a four hour drive to Damascus, the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world. We spend two days in this fascinating, friendly and safe city, which still contains much of the mystery of the orient with its busy bazaars, decaying charm, polite people and some of the Islamic world's oldest monuments.
From Damascus it is also possible to join a one-day excursion into Lebanon which includes a guided visit to Baalbek Roman Temple, an 'all you can eat' Lebanese lunch, city tour of Beirut as well as free time in this quickly regenerating city, fast recovering from the civil war of the 80's and 90's.