UK Opening - Today:
09:00 - 17:30
keyboard_arrow_down01244 897 505
This escorted expedition, the first of its kind, combines the fascinating history and archaeology of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Tracing the Frankincense trade route of antiquity, you will discover the magnificent highlights of Jordan and then venture overland into the vast remoteness of northern Saudi Arabia in search of ancient ruins and rock art. Escorted throughout by expert archaeologist Dr Iain Shearer Fras, you will enjoy a variety of immersive and utterly unforgettable experiences – from wine tasting in Amman and camping beneath the stars in Wadi Rum to picnicking atop Saudi’s mythical mountains and marvelling at some of the most outstanding rock art on the Arabian Peninsula.
Explore some of the world’s finest archaeological sites, including the Nabataean strongholds of Petra and Hegra and Jerash, one of the most well-preserved Roman cities in existence
Savour the delights of Levantine food and wine in Amman on specially curated culinary experiences
Join a Bedouin tribe under the stars for a traditional campfire meal at Little Petra
Be one of the first to see one of the last unexplored countries on the planet, Saudi Arabia, only recently opened to travellers after decades of isolation
Dr Iain Shearer Fras is an archaeologist who has worked on sites across the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. Iain is the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Saudi Arabia and the Haj (2010), an author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Iran (2012) and presenter of Lonely Planet & National Geographic’s ‘Road Less Travelled: Kazakhstan’.
Call our Luxury Travel Specialists
Make an enquiry for this tour
Spend the day exploring Jordan’s capital, a fascinating city of contrasts. On a guided tour, discover the Citadel of the ancient city, the impressive 6,000 sear Roman Theatre (built in the 2nd century), and the Jordan Museum, home to the country’s most important archaeological finds. This afternoon, you can enjoy special access for your group to the Friends of Archaeology and Heritage Association in Amman. The Association actively promotes greater understanding of archaeology and the importance of preservation and conservation of Jordan’s national heritage.
Head north through the Jordan’s fertile valleys to Pella, an ancient city that showcases evidence of 6,000 years of continuous settlement – from its Neolithic beginnings, on to Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine Christian and Islamic habitations. Afterwards, visit Ajloun, home to one of Jordan’s most impressive hilltop castles, built by Muslims in 1184 to protect them from Crusader attacks. In the evening, you can enjoy a specially curated wine tasting experience hosted by Jordan River Wines. Viticulture has a long history in Jordan – the Nabateans produced wine as early as the 1st Century CE in Petra – and a history professor will join you to teach you more about this fascinating past.
The group will drive from Amman to Jerash, which remains today as one of the most magnificent and well-preserved Greco-Roman cities in existence. It was founded by the Greeks in the wake of Alexander the Great and has since been one of the region’s most important and prosperous trading centres. Your Expedition Leader will guide you through the city’s colonnaded streets and forums. In the evening, choose from either a guided foodie walking tour of Old Amman or a cookery class at a school run by three Jordanian sisters.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
You will head along an ancient Roman highway to explore Jordan’s remarkable desert castles, built between the 7th and 8th Century CE. Outstanding examples of early Islamic architecture, the atmospheric buildings are decorated with beautiful frescoes and carvings depicting life during this time. The most stunning of these is the UNESCO World Heritage site at Qasr Amra, a small, exceptionally well-preserved pleasure palace whose reception hall and hammam are richly decorated with bold murals portraying Byzantine style portraits, hunting scenes and constellations. After lunch at Azraq Lodge, a former British military field hospital, you’ll drive to the imposing fortress of Qasr Kharana, which was used as a military base by Lawrence of Arabia in 1917.
Leave Amman behind and head south to the UNESCO-listed Um ar -Rasas, a ruined walled city that houses one of the finest Byzantine mosaics in the Middle East on the floor of the Church of St Stephen. Carry on to Madaba, a centre of early Christianity located on the King’s Highway, where you can explore fascinating Byzantine church remains, ancient buildings and the Institute for Mosaic Art & Restoration in Madaba, an organisation dedicated to training local artists in the production and restoration of mosaics. Then, head to Mount Nebo, where it is said Moses first gazed upon the Promised Land. After taking in the spectacular views of Palestine and Israel from the top, check in to our luxury accommodation located on the shores of the Dead Sea.
Begin your day with a swim (or float!) in the Dead Sea – the lowest spot on earth at 400-metres below sea level – before heading south to explore the 12th-century crusader castle at Karak. This monumental example of medieval military architecture is still imposing even today. It’s vast size and strategic position east of the Dead Sea made it a power centre that controlled Bedouin herders and trade routes from Damascus to Egypt and Mecca.
The most renowned site in Jordan, the UNESCO-listed Petra is a striking ancient city that was carved from pink sandstone over 2,000 years ago. With your Expedition Leader, explore Petra’s treasury, theatre, tombs, temples and churches, as well as the Al Deir monastery, the city’s largest monument spectacularly carved into the mountainside. After a rest in the hotel this afternoon, we return in the evening to experience Petra by night. We walk in silence along the candle-lit path of the Siq and witness the magical scene of the Treasury lit up by a carpet of hundreds of candles.
Spend the morning exploring more of Petra at your leisure, before heading to Beidah and Little Petra in the afternoon. Beidah is a major Neolithic archaeological site that dates back 10,000 years, making it one of the earliest settlements in the entire Middle East, whilst Little Petra consists of three open areas connected by a narrow 450-metre long canyon. A suburb of Petra used as a supply post for camel caravans and a lodging area for visiting traders, it was known for many years only to local Bedouin’s. In the evening, join the local Ammarin tribe for an authentic Bedouin meal beneath the stars and beside a campfire.
Head out towards Wadi Rum by 4WD, driven by local Bedouins, traversing the same desert route that was once undertaken by Lawrence of Arabia as he fought alongside Arab guerrilla forces during WWI. After lunch with the Bedouins, you will arrive at your luxurious desert camp, where the clear roof of the sumptuous tents allows for unforgettable star gazing and sunrise opportunities.
Following an optional camel ride amid the Jordanian desert, you will leave Wadi Rum for Aqaba on the Red Sea coast. Today is free to enjoy some much-needed down time and relaxation at your luxury beachfront resort.
Today, it’s time to cross the border into Saudi, where you begin your exploration of this undiscovered Kingdom in the Tabuk Province, home to some of the country’s most majestic natural and historical sites. Following a picnic at Jebel Al-Lawz, a mythical mountain that peaks at 2,549 meters above sea level, explore ancient rock carvings and storied sites in the nearby valleys.
Follow in the footsteps of Moses by visiting Bir Sa’idani, the place where he was set to have met his beautiful wife Sephora. After enjoying the turquoise waters and white beaches of the Gulf of Aqaba, stop by the phenomenal canyon at Tayeb Ism whose edges fall directly into the Red Sea, before exploring Al-Badam home to an ancient city that was named Midian until the Middle Ages. This vast archaeological site dates from the 2nd Century BCE – coins discovered at the site have proven that the city was active during the Hellenistic, Nabatean, Roman, and Islamic periods.
Jibal Hisma is an extension of Jordan’s Wadi Rum, though across the border into Saudi. Head by 4WD to roam the red dunes and otherworldly landscape, stopping to enjoy ancient rock art sites and carvings. Enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch with some of the region’s most outstanding views.
Today, you’ll drive to Wadi Qaraqir, known as the most beautiful valley in Arabia. Stop in at a lookout to appreciate the massive scale of the canyon, whose walls reach 500 metres in some places, before descending to the valley floor, where you can take your time to savour this incredible place, exploring the small stream and lush green grasses and palm trees that runs along the wadi bed. As you leave the city, stop at some ancient remains by the oasis city of Dissah, before heading south (past striking volcanoes) to alluring AlUla.
AlUla is easily one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the Middle East. This beautiful oasis valley has over 7000 years of continuous history and was home to a succession of great civilisations including the Dedanites, Lihyanites, Nabataens and the Roman Empire. Begin by exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town (built 800 years ago) before continuing to Dedan, the oldest city of the oasis. After lunch, you will visit nearby Ekma gorge, the so called Lihyan library, where 200 ancient inscriptions carved in the rock give a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people of Dedan and Lihyan.
This morning, your Expedition Leader will show you around the UNESCO-listed Hegra, one of most iconic historical remains in all Saudi Arabia. Visit a selection of the most interesting tombs, many with extraordinarily majestic facades cut into the sandstone massifs, and continue discussions on Nabataean culture and architecture. Then, head out of the city into the desert to explore the hidden canyons of Jibal Al-Rukkab, the sacred area of Jibal Ithlib, and the famed Al-Farid tomb, whose surface occupies two thirds of an isolated rock and is a further testament to the outstanding workmanship of the highly skilled Nabataean craftsmen.
Today, you’ll visit Mahajah, a rocky desert punctuated by beautiful sandstone arches and formations that feature a rich variety of rock art, including carvings of life-sized animals and inscriptions used by Bedouins over 2,000 years ago.
The large sand dunes of the Nefud Al-Kebir desert have played a pivotal role in the history of the Arabian Peninsula. In 2018, researchers discovered here an 85,000-year-old human bone that is the oldest directly dated fossil of Homo Sapiens outside of Africa and the Levant. Explore its variable red, yellow and white sands with the expedition teams, before they set up your tents beneath the mountain range of Jibal Misma.
A little-known natural feature of Saudi Arabia is its abundance of volcanoes, a consequence of its location on the eastern side of the Red Sea Rift. Today we venture to the centre of one of the country’s most famous lava fields, the awe-inspiring Harrat Khaybar, home to rare white volcanoes. Then, set up camp beneath the Jebel Abiadh volcano.
Tie up your hiking boots for a trek to the summit of Jebel Abiadh, from which the view is simply out of this world! After lunch at the camp, you’ll drive to the rim of Jebel Bayda for more views of this surreal landscape and then head to the city of Al-Hait. Known in ancient times as Fadak, Al-Hait is mentioned on the Stelae of Nabonidus, an important artefact housed at the British Museum, as one of the six oases conquered by the last king of Babylon in 552 BCE.
Today, you’ll visit Shuwaymis, a unique UNESCO World Heritage site containing some of the oldest and most outstanding rock art on the Arabian Peninsula, including numerous representations of human and animal figures of these vivid petroglyphs cover 10,000 years of history. Return to Al-Hait for lunch and take the road towards Hail, the capital of central Arabia during most of the 19th century. En route, you will stop at Al-Shamli to see some more recent well-preserved rock carvings depicting Arabian horses and riders.
Your final destination is Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s modern seaport metropolis set on the Red Sea. After lunch at a restaurant on the trendy corniche, you’ll visit the historic old town of Al-Balad, which dates to the 7th century. Wander the atmospheric streets of Al -Balad, visit its bustling souks and admire its elegant traditional houses built of mud and coral and adorned with ornate wooden balconies. After an afternoon at leisure, return to the lively corniche for a group farewell dinner at New Jeddah.
This escorted expedition embarks in November, which is a wonderful time to explore Jordan and Saudi, with pleasant temperatures.
24 NIGHTS - PRICES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.
Although our awards and long history stand testament to our success, independent reviews from our clients via Feefo further support our unrivalled travel experiences.
We are proud to have been awarded the Feefo Platinum Service Award in 2021 for achieving Gold Trusted Service for three consecutive years. This independent seal of excellence recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers. Trusted Service is awarded only to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews and achieve an overall score of 4.5 or more – a testament to our seamless, personalised service, no matter what the world throws at us.
Along with first-hand experience, a passionate team and over 33 years of legendary heritage, we’re distinguished as leaders in luxury travel by our enhanced level of personal service, and the finer details below…
All the flight inclusive holidays featured on the website and in our brochures are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Our ATOL number is 2885. From 1 October 2012, you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate, please check it to ensure that everything you have booked (flights, hotels and other services)is listed on it. For further information please see our booking conditions, alternatively for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk/ATOLCertificate