Classic Egypt and Jordan
Capture the best of Egypt and Jordan on this 16-day ancient adventure to fascinating cities and historical sites. Get up close to the mighty pyramids of Giza, share a delicious local meal in a Nubian village, discover the fascinating tombs of ancient pharaohs and watch daily life flow by as you cruise in style along the River Nile. Explore Jordan’s vibrant capital, Amman, the vast Wadi Rum, bustling Madaba and the extraordinary Dead Sea. Be dwarfed by the carved Treasury of Petra, learn of the city of mosaics at St Georges church, and eat as many falafels as you can handle. Feel inspired by times past exploring the oh so enthralling present.
Ages: 15 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights), Cruise ship (3 nights), Desert camp (1 night)
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt. You'll be met on arrival at Cairo airport and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. In free time perhaps get out and explore the busy streets of this city of contrasts, where you can see donkey carts and expensive cars, medieval slums and modern shopping malls. If you have time, perhaps travel along the river by felucca (a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails) or head out to explore the markets.
This morning after breakfast you’ll see some of the world’s most iconic sights – the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is amazing. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4,500 years, and for an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, (although occasionally it may be closed to visitors). The inside thoroughfares of the Pyramids are very small and very warm, so for those suffering from claustrophobia it is not recommended. Please note that you'll be required to walk around the Pyramids complex. It can be very hot in the summer months, so be prepared for little shade and pack appropriate clothing, sun protection, and carry lots of water. Afterwards, our adventures continue to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and make sure to check out the Mummies Hall (optional) for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. The masses of gleaming artefacts recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun are an impressive sight to behold. From gold jewellery to the famous golden death mask and his gilded sarcophagi, this pharaoh was certainly prepared for the afterlife.
This morning, take an included flight to Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. The city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town, so take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars. When you arrive, you’ll explore the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom), which was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – one of the real gems of Upper Egypt. In the afternoon, board a felucca and set sail along the Nile as you watch rural Egyptian daily life play out on the banks. Stop for a guided walk around Elephantine Island, the original border town between Egypt and the Nubian lands to the south, which in ancient times was a strategic position for the defence of the border and the trading route. This evening you’ll experience modern Nubian culture first-hand with a visit to a nearby village. You’ll join a local Nubian family for dinner and get an unforgettable insight into the daily life of the local people. This is a rare and memorable experience, giving you the chance to become fully immersed in the local culture.
Today perhaps head out of Aswan and visit stunning Abu Simbel this morning. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. Please note this optional activity has a very early start (but it’s worthwhile). You can get there by a 40-minute flight, or by the cheaper option of renting a minivan with a group and leaving very early. The journey by land is 3 hours each way, with an early departure from Aswan between 5 am and 6 am. Alternatively, you could take a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Or perhaps opt for a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned 7th-century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your tour leader will be on hand to help you arrange any excursions. Alternatively, you may prefer to simply relax and take in the beauty of the Nile or do some shopping in the friendly bazaar. For the next three nights you’ll sleep aboard your comfortable cruise ship as you embark on adventure along the Nile.
Take a leisurely cruise down the Nile, today’s stop is Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan. Built on a high dune overlooking the Nile, the complex sits picturesquely ruined on the river's edge and dates back to the early 2nd century BC. The complex is unique because it has a mirror-image design, divided down the middle, with either side dedicated to a different set of Gods. One half is known as the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god of fertility), and it includes details on the Ancient Egyptian's relationship with crocodiles, whom they revered and feared in equal measure. The other half is dedicated to Haroeris (also known as Horus the falcon god), and the whole temple is full of fascinating reliefs. Return to the cruise boat where you’ll continue travelling upriver, with free time to relax on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land.
Today finds you moored near Edfu, a beautifully preserved temple also dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god. Disembark to discover the lively streets of Edfu and get acquainted the bustling town centre and the bazaar, it’s also possible to visit the Temple of Edfu today, however you may want to read our notes below before you decide. Back on board, continue towards Luxor passing through the Esna Locks. It is not uncommon to have to queue to proceed through the locks, however this is a great opportunity to check out the process from deck with a cool drink in hand, and listen to the shouts of the many captains as they navigate their way through the various small boats of merchants selling their wares to a captive audience. Settle back into the comforts of your cruise ship and make the most of the incredible views across one of the world’s greatest rivers and your last night onboard.
Your Nile cruise comes to an end in the open-air museum of Luxor – from the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs. After disembarking, you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover some the many wonders of ancient Thebes. Your first stop is the Colossi of Memnon, two 17 metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks, they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were once part of an impressive colonnade. Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. With your leader, explore this sprawling and spectacular place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, their funerary rites, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics that are still well preserved in the deepest tombs. You will visit three of the most interesting royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a stunning colonnaded building set against high cliffs that create a spectacular natural amphitheatre. One of Egypt’s greatest queens, she built this temple to prove her importance among the ancestors. Take a short break before checking out Karnak Temple with your guide and then enjoy your last Egyptian evening strolling the Corniche, or perhaps stay for the Sound and Light Show at Karnak.
This morning, take a short unaccompanied flight from Cairo to Amman – a cosmopolitan and contemporary city steeped in biblical history. On arrival you will have some free time before another briefing at 6 pm, where you’ll likely meet some new travellers joining you on this stage of your Middle Eastern adventure. Take some time to start doing some sightseeing. Some of the highlights include the Citadel, with its sweeping views of Amman, the Jordan Museum (home to the Dead Sea Scrolls), or the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman.
This morning after breakfast, head north out of the city to the ruins of Jerash – once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world. These are some of the best Greco-Roman ruins around. Take a couple of hours exploring the history of this grand old city before continuing to Ajloun – the fertile crescent of Jordan. Visit the 12th-century Ajloun Castle, built by Saladin’s forces against the Crusaders and then visit the Nature Reserve and visitor centre – a striking building made in natural materials. Head to the Biscuit House, currently owned and managed by local community women under a newly adopted community engagement model, where the women are transformed from traditional employees to actual local community entrepreneurs. Enjoy a soft hike on the nature trail with an abundance of fruit trees as well as the more unusual pistachio, carob and strawberry trees in places, terracing on the hillsides, and of course olive trees everywhere. This evening, enjoy dinner in a local village before later returning to Amman.
Today, take a walking tour of Amman to discover its ancient history and modern influences. You’ll begin at the hilltop citadel, then meander your way through the backstreets of the city, passing by the Roman Theatre and Odeon, and the Al Husseiny Mosque. Be sure to stop in at a souq (street market) to snack on some Saudi dates, or Iranian pistachios, then continue towards Al Malek Faisal St and to the centre of the city. After getting yourself some falafel and hummus for lunch, journey to Mount Nebo. This elevated ridge some 710 metres above sea level is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. On top of Mt Nebo, the very modest Moses memorial church stands and was built around 4th-century foundations in AD597. It houses some of the best (and best presented) mosaics in Jordan, dating from around AD530. Afterwards, travel to one of Amman’s satellite cities, Madaba, for the evening. If you’re feeling peckish, why not check out Haret Jdoudna for dinner? It’s been a traveller favourite for years.
Enjoy a leader-led walking tour of Madaba after breakfast. Madaba is known as the city of mosaics, most notably the impressive mosaic map that adorns the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. It depicts the Holy Land, with Palestine and Lower Egypt, from around AD550. You’ll get the chance to see this artistic marvel on your tour, and afterwards, take an hour or so to explore the city on your own before jumping back on the bus and heading out to Al-Maghtas. Meaning ‘baptism’ or ‘immersion’ in Arabic, Al-Maghtas is a World Heritage-listed archaeological site on the east bank of the Jordan River, and is considered to be the location where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist. Continue on to the salty waters of the Dead Sea. No visit to this region is complete without floating in this salty water – the unique sensation of floating so high in the water has to be felt to be believed! Return to Madaba for a relaxing evening.
It’s time to journey down the Desert Highway to the spellbinding Wadi Rum (approximately 4.5 hours) – a landscape of rugged sandstone mountains standing tall among an ochre desert floor. Meet your Bedouin hosts on arrival, then take a browse around the informative visitor's centre and some free time for lunch before heading into this desolate area. Transport into the rum (valley) is by way of rather rickety jeeps operated by the local Bedouin community, as part of an attempt by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region – they are safe, trusted and, best of all, good fun! Journey to your camp and relax into the afternoon, possibly with a sunset hike in the rum. Spend the evening being well entertained (and fed) by your Bedouin hosts.
After an included breakfast, it’s back into the jeeps for a desert safari. You’ll visit several of Wadi Rum's distinctive rock formations and have an opportunity to soak up the vast desert landscapes and eerie silence of the valley. Continue to Wadi Musa (Petra) this afternoon, arriving late in the day. If time permits, you could ask your leader to head to ‘Little Petra’ for a sneak preview of what’s to come, or instead, just enjoy a local dinner in town – your leader has got friends in all the right places, so ask them where to go.
Today is a day that you won’t forget for a long time. The archaeological site of Petra is an ancient jewel of Jordan – a series of structures and formations cut out of desert rock. The Treasury is the iconic view of Petra and probably the most striking sight of the region. Walk your way through a siq (narrow rock clef) towards the Treasury to marvel at the spectacle, with walls soaring up to 180 metres on either side. With your guide, you will see the Treasury and also explore more of the site, including the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs. Then, it is all up to you! Maybe climb up to the Monastery – carved from a mountain summit and the site's second beautiful facade, where you will have a magnificent view of the entire site. This is a memorable day exploring a truly extraordinary destination and is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. There is a cafeteria on the site, where you can purchase a light lunch, if you’d like. In the evening, there is the option to explore Petra by night on a tour, giving you another viewing of the site away from most of the crowds. This runs on select days, so speak to your group leader, or enquire at the Visitor Centre if this interests you.
This morning is free for you to decide your plans. Feel free to head back and admire Petra for one last time (it’ll continue to delight you), or alternatively, you can hang back around the village and relax in your hotel. After lunch, bid farewell to the valley and return to Madaba. In the evening, why not get a group of you together for another night of Jordanian feasting – you know you want to.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time.
- Petra - Petra second day visit (unguided)
Barcelo Cairo Pyramids Hotel
229 Pyramids Road El Haram Giza
Phone: 02 35 823300
Madaba 1880 Hotel
K. Talal St.
Phone: +962 53253250
Despite the 'off-road' nature of this trip, it can be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Please be aware that any visit to Petra requires a fair amount of walking. The amount of energy you expend there is largely up to you. The program in Wadi Rum involves a mixture of camel riding and a jeep safari.
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 12 (Wadi Rum Camp) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
There are two internal flights included on this trip. We use Egypt Air for this service. Baggage allowance is as follows:
Checked-in - 1 Bag, max 23kg
Hand luggage - 1 bag, max 7kg
International Flight Day 8
The flight from Cairo to Amman is unaccompanied. There will be a representative to meet you on arrival at Amman airport and as this is a combination tour the Visa Fee on arrival will not be payable as a group arrival.
This trip finishes in Madaba which is very close to Amman International Airport, private departure transfers can be be pre booked from Intrepid, taxis can be arranged through your hotel and shared shuttle transfers are available, check with your Leader.
Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Egypt before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
This trip is made of two smaller trips connected by an international flight. You will be travelling with different Leaders on each trip who are local to their destination. You will not have an accompanying Leader during your flight.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.
SAFETY IN EGYPT: Following recent incidents in Egypt, we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We have links to all major travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting your trip on our travel alerts page. The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team, and we’re able to quickly change arrangements if for any reason we become concerned. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately. We have also taken the following measures to minimise the potential risk for our travellers in Egypt: -24 to 48hrs prior to each departure our local office are in contact with tourist police to get approval for each itinerary. The tourist police notify our local operator immediately should any advice or information change. -We use private rather than public transport on all our itineraries. -We travel in (armed) convoys on main routes, and multiple check points are in place between most cities. EGYPT HOT-AIR BALLOON EXCURSIONS: Audits were carried out on balloon operators within Egypt to confirm the safety of their operations. But unfortunately, we were not able to ascertain the safety standards of these balloon operators- therefore, we are not able to recommend or assist in the booking of any balloon excursions.
As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Visas are easily attainable on arrival at Cairo airport for most nationalities. The visa costs USD25 and can only be paid in USD cash. On arrival to Cairo airport you buy your visa at any of the banks before proceeding to immigration. You will be given a stamp that you then need to put into your passport yourself. A single entry visa is valid for three months from date of issue and entitles the bearer to one month in Egypt. Multiple entry visas are not available at the airport or any border crossings.
Please check with your travel agent or embassy before departure as this information may change.
Many nationalities are eligible for a visa on arrival, including UK, Australia, New Zealand, China, USA, Canada and most European nations, certain nationalities are exempt from visa fees including Turkey and the UAE, while others require Visa prior to arrival. We recommend you check this information before arrival with the relevant embassy or consulate in your destination
Visa fees as detailed below.
Single Entry visas are valid for one month: 40JOD (approximately 56USD). Double Entry visas are valid for three months: 60JOD (approximately 85USD)
Exit service fee applies for land and sea border points: 10JOD per passenger.
Please note that there are ATM's available in Amman airport and also currency exchange facilities. Visa fees can also be paid by Eftpos.
If you are travelling on a combination tour from Egypt to Jordan this visa fee does not apply.
Why we love it
Tick off all the iconic sites of ancient Egypt with an experienced local leader on-hand to bring pharaonic Egypt back to life.
Enjoy three nights on board a Nile River Cruise Boat, relax on deck with a cool drink in hand as you watch the life of Upper Egypt unfold in front of you.
Discover Amman on a walking tour with your local leader, visiting the Pillars of Hercules, the Roman Theatre and Odeon – be sure to stop at a souq for a snack!
Discover the ancient city of Petra with more than enough time to explore the highlights on a guided tour, and spending some time for self-discovery around the region.
Walk in the footsteps of the Bedouin in Wadi Rum – exploring the desert colours on a 4WD safari and appreciating the traditional hospitality on a small-group camping experience.
Is this trip right for you
Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be very high in this region (over 40°C), which can make things uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, and drink plenty of water. Where possible, your group leader will aim to visit sites in the early morning before it gets too hot. Keep in mind that winters can get quite cool too, so if you're visiting at this time, don't forget to pack some warmer layers.
There is quite a bit of walking involved in visiting Egypt and Jordan's historic sites, especially at the Pyramids, Petra and Wadi Rum, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Most of the time there is no shade so remember to bring a hat, sun protection, and sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. Walking in Petra can be tiring it is up to you how much you want to explore the site but do consider that it is a large site and the journey into the treasury is over one kilometre.
In Wadi Rum you’ll stay in a permanent tented camp with shared bathroom facilities. Please be aware that while the desert may be very hot during the day, it will still be cool at night and warm clothes and a sleeping bag is highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months.
Please note that Abu Simbel is not included in this itinerary, it is an optional activity and you can either fly to the site or travel by road.
Accommodation aboard the Nile cruise is based on full board basis – all drinks served on board are at your own expense. An evening entertainment program is also available on board.
Cairo and the surrounding traffic can be notorious, as can the level of pollution, so be prepared for one of the busiest cities in North Africa.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Food and dietary requirements
Your group leader or representative will endeavor to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible. Please note that Gluten Intolerances and Vegan can be more challenging in some parts of the Middle East, you may wish to speak to your trip leader at the group meeting to alert them of this so they can help you throughout the trip in planning suitable meals.
Your group leader or representative will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.
Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).
Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency.
MEALS NOT INCLUDED
Depending on the style of trip you have chosen (Basix, Original or Comfort), included meals will vary.
Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.
Lunch. Lunch at a touristy restaurant should cost around USD10 to USD20. However, local street food can be substantially cheaper.
Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD15 to USD30 for a main.
These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget and are happy to eat just local food you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.
Combination Trips – These prices are a guideline average you may find prices a little higher in Jordan and Israel.
CREDIT CARD, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE
With the exception of Iran, ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities throughout the Middle East and Turkey. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.
Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip, they can be a fantastic memento of your trip, and often these purchases help to support local artisans.
Your Leader may suggest visits to different stores during your tour. Rest assured that these vendors have been selected by our team on ground. They provide good service and good quality products at fair market prices. It also means that after sales service is available should you get home and have a problem with your purchase. Some visits may be included as part of your itinerary where we feel the making of the craft is relevant to the destination and interesting for everyone to visit. If this is the case you are under no obligation to purchase anything, simply enjoy the demonstrations and learning about the local craft. We do also encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.
Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is a part of everyday life and is more than just a reward for services rendered. In countries where wages are extremely low it is an essential means of supplementing income. This practice is not merely reserved for foreigners and locals have to constantly hand out 'Baksheesh' as well - to park their cars, ensure fresh produce and pick up their mail. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Usually the equivalent of around USD5 to USD10 per person, per day to cover tips is fine. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.
To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.
- Basic restaurants – Round up to the nearest figure or leaving the loose change is generally fine.
- Up-market restaurants – When checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
- If you are paying for taxis, round up to the fare. If you feel like you're being driven in circles or otherwise ripped off, skip the tip.
- If you have booked a private transfer you may want to consider tipping your transfer. We suggest USD 2 – USD 3 per person
- Felucca boat trips: If you are travelling on an itinerary that includes an overnight Felucca trip up the Nile, we suggest USD3 per person, per day for the boat staff
TIPPING - Leaders and Drivers
you may also want to consider tipping your local leader and drivers for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, we have provided the guidelines listed below. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Leader: USD2 – USD3 per person per day.
Leader: USD4- USD5 per person per day; Driver: USD3- USD4 per person per day
The Official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (LE) or (EGP). Currency Subunits are called Qirsh (Piastre) = 1/100 of a Pound. Denominations come in Notes: 5, 10, 25, 50 Piastres. 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 Pounds. Coins: 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 Piastres. Whilst the USD is often used we recommend local currency for everyday services. We also recommend keeping some smaller denominations for tipping.
CURRENCY – Jordan
The Official currency of Jordan is the Dinar referred to as the (JD). It is made up of 1000 fils. Try to change larger notes as often as possible. Most goods and services can be paid for using the local currency. The USD is also acceptable. For the supply of everyday services like meals and general shopping we recommend the local currency.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
GENERAL PACKING LIST:
• Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document.
• Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets.
• Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
• Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both.
• Power adaptors
• Insect repellent
• Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
• Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)
• Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
• Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates
• Wind and waterproof rain jacket
• Toiletries/travel wipes
• Travel Towel
• Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.
• Camera with spare memory cards and batteries
• Swimwear (itinerary dependant)
• Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination.
On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg.
CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc.
Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line.
We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.
Climate and seasonal
SUMMER IN EGYPT:
As the days get warmer, temperatures can start to soar, particularly in Upper Egypt (Luxor and Aswan). From April to October, to avoid the midday heat, some days start very early (for example - 5am). Please be prepared for this - our schedules are designed to make touring as comfortable for you as possible.
With around 90 percent of Jordan covered by desert the summer months can be very warm, with temperatures around the Dead Sea, Aqaba and Petra possibly rising to 40 degrees centigrade in July and August. However, always be aware of cold nights – Wadi Rum's sands plummet to 4 degrees centigrade in the winter. Amman reaches a comfortable 32 degrees between June and September, while nights can drop below freezing from December to February.
Consider your travel dates when packing for your adventure, whilst the camps in Wadi Rum do have blankets you may want to consider packing some thermals and carrying your sleeping bag if travelling in the winter months.
In 2020, the important month of Ramadan or Ramzan in Turkey will be in progress from 23 April through until 23 May, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival or Bayram in Turkey will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.
Ramadan month can differ from country to country and region to region, it can be a wonderful inclusion in your vacation. If you have concerns about travelling at this time, please check with Intrepid or your booking agent before your departure.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:
Intrepid's Local Operator: +962 79700 4051
Intrepid's Local Operator: +201096811067
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
When packing, be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing (3/4 trousers that come to the calf are fine) is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate. As the countries we visit are Islamic nations, women may find a headscarf useful.
The entrance fee to Petra includes a ‘free’ ride on various forms of animal transport and as such you will be offered this transport by a number of local Bedouin on the walk into the ancient city. While free to ride there is a strong expectation that you will need to tip the animals' owners.
In 2018 the animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) launched an international campaign highlighting the mistreatment of working animals in the ancient city of Petra. The animals – horses, donkeys and camels - carry both tourists and supplies to the city and through it.
The situation is a complex one – Jordanian organisations and their international partners are trying to improve the conditions for the animals, and for many local Bedouin this activity provides their only income yet issues around animal cruelty are raised on a regular basis. UNESCO themselves have stated that switching to motorised transport is not the preferred option in the ancient city.
As a responsible travel company we believe that - until conditions improve – our travellers should avoid using any form of animal transport in Petra, and if asked at the ancient city you should politely decline.
HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING:
As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. All of our hotel accommodation contains suitable bedding, and simple light bedding is provided during camping activities such as an overnight felucca, desert camps or at the Red Sea Beach camp stay. Most of our travellers find the bedding provided here adequate, but for your own comfort and if you are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider bringing your own sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Some of our guesthouses / hotels don't supply heating. In many cases this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and the local towns. Summer (approx June to August) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
CHRISTMAS/EASTER TRIP SUPPLEMENTS:
Please note that trips around Christmas and Easter are supplemented and more expensive than regular season trips. This is due to increases in hotel and cruise ship rates and occasionally obligatory gala meals, which are imposed on Intrepid Travel. There's no option to not accept any obligatory meals and there's no recourse for refund for any part of the supplement.
NILE CRUISE SCHEDULES:
Nile cruise boats must negotiate the lock at Edfu. As a result, boats arrive and depart Luxor continuously throughout the day. This printed itinerary is therefore only a guide and you may find you have more (or less) time in either Luxor or Aswan. The actual cruising time from Luxor to Aswan (and vice versa) is about a day and a half and this journey is accomplished both during the day and at night.
Hotel (11 nights),Cruise ship (3 nights),Desert camp (1 night)