Egypt, Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Egypt, Jordan, Israel & Palestine are ancient lands that conjure images of river valleys, powerful Pharaohs, pilgrims and cities carved from stone. Dive headfirst into Cairo, sail up the Nile on a felucca, party in Tel Aviv, take a jeep safari across Wadi Rum and experience more World Heritage Sites than you can shake a stick at: Battir; Petra; the Old Cities of Cairo, Acre and Jerusalem; the Church of the Nativity… it goes on – and so will you as you trek, swim, explore, photograph and taste your way across the best of the Middle East. This adventure will leave you with a greater appreciation for life here and a hands-on experience of some of the most significant religious and human history in this part of the world. Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Egypt trips.
Finish: Tel Aviv
Ages: 15 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (15 nights), Desert camp (2 nights), Felucca (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)
Destination: Tel Aviv
Welcome to Egypt! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4 pm this afternoon. For those arriving early, why not take a walk to get your bearings of the neighbourhood, or escape the hustle and bustle and explore the Christian Coptic sector. After your important meeting, head out with your new travel buddies and discover Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, located in Cairo's Islamic centre. This traditional souk is a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with local merchants; a perfect place to get introduced to daily Egyptian life.
This morning, head to Giza –home to some of the world’s most iconic sights. Approach the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx by camel, with panoramic views across the dunes. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4500 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. Afterwards, make your way 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 optional Mummies Hall for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. Later in the evening, meet your leader and travel to the nearby train station, where you will board an overnight sleeper train bound for Aswan (approximately 13 hours).
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas. Welcome to Aswan – Egypt's southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Today is a free day so take the opportunity to see such Aswan sites as the unfinished obelisk or the High Dam. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is top of many visitors’ lists. Highly recommended is the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's Corniche, runs alongside one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. 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 a memorable dinner and get an unforgettable insight into the daily life of the local people.
Today perhaps head out of Aswan and book in to 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 totally worth it). There’s two ways to get there – a 40-minute flight, or renting a minivan with your group and leaving very early. The journey by land is 3 hours each way, with an early departure from Aswan at 5–6 am. Instead, you could take a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Or, take a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned seventh-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. Otherwise, simply relax and take in the beauty of the Nile or do some shopping in the local bazaar.
With some free time this morning, perhaps head down and grab a felucca out to the Tomb of the Nobles or stock up on snacks for your evening on the Nile. Board your included felucca journey just before lunch and spend the afternoon out on the river, watching Egyptian daily life play out on the banks, then spend a night under the stars. Your Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals which are hearty and delicious. Being a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, your felucca offers some shade and protection from the elements. However, there is no cabin or enclosed section. Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you won't forget. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many, especially with some local Nubian entertainment from your crew.
This morning, say goodbye to your Nubian friends and take a private van to the ‘open-air museum’ of Luxor (approximately 3.5 hours travel time). From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs. On the way, there's the option to visit either the unique mirror-image design of the Temple of Kom Ombo, or the beautifully preserved Temple of Edfu. This afternoon you will explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharaohs' monumental works. One of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of some 200 years. The rest of the day will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar, which is open until quite late, or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local teahouse.
Today you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover some of the wonder 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 richly decorated tombs of pharaohs. 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, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. Afterwards, join a local family for lunch to try some traditional home cooking. The rest of your afternoon is free to explore – with the Luxor Museum a great place to visit. Keep in mind that tonight you’ll board an overnight sleeper train from Luxor back to Cairo (approximately 10 hours).
Today you will farewell Egypt and take a short flight to Jordan. This flight is currently scheduled for the afternoon to allow for delays from the overnight train. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your Amman hotel, where your Jordanian Group Leader will be waiting for you. There may also be new group members joining the trip in Jordan. Welcome to Jordan, cosmopolitan and contemporary, yet steeped in biblical history. Tonight consider a visit to Rainbow Street where you will hear “Welcome to Jordan” from the locals, and maybe pick up a coffee from one of the cafés and partner it with an ara’yes, a toastie filled with spicy mincemeat
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a journey to Wadi Rum (approximately 5 hours). A half-day jeep safari will take you through some of the most striking desert scenery on the planet. Wadi Rum is full of weird and wonderful lunar-like rock formations, and traces of ancient civilisations can be seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the area – from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum are those carved by nature – the natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks. Tonight, sleep in a simple Bedouin desert camp, with the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. Enjoy dinner cooked in an earthen oven by your Bedouin hosts. Meaning ‘desert dwellers’ in Arabic, the Bedouins are a semi-nomadic people, and in Jordan up to 40 per cent of the general population is thought to have Bedouin ancestry. Conditions are basic at the desert camp, but the hospitality of your hosts as well as the chance to sleep beneath the twinkling desert night sky will sure make up for it.
After waking up in the unique surrounds of the camp this morning, head out on a trek around the area (approximately 12 to 15 kilometres), with a stop for tea and a lunch break. You might scale one of the large sand dunes for sensational views of the valley – the perfect chance to snap some unbelievable pictures. Explore the distinctive rock formations and bask in its eerie silence. Wadi Rum is probably best known for its connection with the enigmatic British officer T E Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917–18. Tonight is again yours to enjoy the traditional Bedouin hospitality and the clear night skies of the desert.
This morning you'll leave your desert camp, taking 4WDs to the main entrance, which is opposite the Seven Pillars of Wisdom – the mountain named after Lawrence of Arabia’s book. The visitor's centre here is also a great spot to buy some jewellery and handicrafts, mostly made by a women's co-operative aimed at supporting local industries. Continue your journey to the fabled city of Petra by private vehicle (approximately 2 hours). The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt – a Swiss explorer. In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage-listed site. Once arrived, spend the afternoon on a guided tour of Petra. Squeeze through a mile-long narrow path, known as the Siq, through huge towers of rock and get your first glimpse of the iconic Treasury complex. It’s amazing to think that this enormous, intricate building entrance was hand carved out of the rock.
Enjoy a free day of self-discovery as you explore Petra on your own. The site is surprisingly big, and so it is up to you to choose your own route around the complex. You could explore the old Roman road, other smaller temples and several old tombs, as well as the rock-hewn amphitheatre. For those who are feeling a bit more active, there's the challenging but highly rewarding 1-hour walk up the steps to the secluded yet stunning Monastery.
Traverse the King's Highway to the historic crusader castle of Kerak, which stands on a cliff commandingly overlooking Wadi Karak and the Dead Sea in the distance (approximately 2.5 hours). You’ll have time to explore the ruins and discover the legends of centuries-old battles. Pack your swim gear as next you can wash off the dust in the Dead Sea – the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This super-salty lake is a perfect place to spend some time relaxing and get some classic floating pictures. For those who are game, why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Continue to Mt Nebo – the spot where the prophet Moses is said to have seen the ‘promised land’ and where he’s supposedly buried. Explore this sanctuary and view the remarkable mosaics of the fourth-century church. Afterwards, continue to Madaba, famous for its Ottoman-style houses and beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics, including the acclaimed sixth-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St George's Church. Other mosaic masterpieces from the fifth to seventh centuries can be found throughout Madaba’s churches, museums and homes.
Today you will leave Madaba for a short drive to Jerash – once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world (approximately 1.5 hours). These are some of the best-preserved Greco-Roman ruins around. The ancient walled town that survives today is a remarkable evocation of life 2000 years ago. It has a striking collection of archways and theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets, and is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring. Discover Hadrian’s arch, the partially restored hippodrome, ornate public fountains, the south amphitheatre, and see the collection of daily artefacts uncovered during excavations. Grand columns encircle the city's centrepiece, the Oval Plaza. After a full day of exploring, maybe gather your travel buddies together and share a celebratory shisha as you reminisce on your memories of majestic Jordan.
This morning we farewell Jordan and make the hour journey to the Alenby Bridge Crossing for your onwards journey to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Your Tour Leader will escort you to the crossing and provide you with instructions for the border officials. Once you have cleared the border there will be a representative to escort you to your hotel in Jerusalem. Welcome to Israel and Jerusalem, a city steeped in spirituality and legend; a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be they Palestinian Muslims & Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your arrival at the hotel should be just in time for lunch and the rest of your day is free to explore Jerusalem. We recommend checking out the range of tours on offer from Urban Adventures. There will be a meeting this evening at 6 pm with your Tour Leader and any fellow travelers, please look for this note in reception.
We will explore the Old City this morning on foot. We will start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Wailing Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Then continue along the Via Dolorosa starting at St. Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Now located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, this pool was mentioned in the Gospel of John and associated with healing. Continue along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) – the “way of sorrows” which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. Sip tea, sample fresh local bread and then walk through the Christian Quarter up to Jaffa Gate for a lunch break. That afternoon, get another perspective on modern day life in Jerusalem with a local Israeli guide. Your walking tour of West Jerusalem will see you stroll through Yemin Moshe; a historic neighborhood of old stone buildings built in response to overcrowding within the Old City. Check out the colourful, artistic hub of ‘Hamiffal’ (The Factory ). This abandoned old building was turned into a public art space by a local artists co-operative. While here you'll learn about the artists in residence program. Move on to the Muslim Graveyard, Mamilla Pool, The Burial Caves of Independence Park, and then a quick brief on the city center. The tour will finish up at Agripas Street, at the entrance of the Machane Yehuda Market. We recommend grabbing a beer in one of the many laneway bars to watch the market come to life in the evening, or go for a wander to check out the amazing graffiti popping up on shop shutters.
Start the day off with a panoramic view of the city. Drive out to the Mount of Olives that looks over Jerusalem’s Old City and visit the Garden of Gethsemane, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. See the Church of All Nations (also known as the Basilica of the Agony), which holds inside a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. Drive the short distance out to Bethlehem and take a Graffiti walking tour along the wall. Graffiti has filled the walls in Bethlehem by many artists over the years, including British Artist; Banksy. Hear the personal stories behind some of the more prominent pieces. The tour takes you past one of the largest refugee camps in the West Bank and previous conflict hot spots. Continue on to Manger square to sample Bethlehem's famous Falafel. Then visit the Church of the Nativity, marking the spot of the stable where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus. Head back to Jerusalem and visit Yad Vashem for a sobering and moving visit to Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The facility includes a research facility, art gallery, education department, archive, and numerous moving memorials. After a fascinating day, retire to your Jerusalem hotel.
This morning drive out to the spectacular cliff-top fortress of Masada. On the way we stop at the 6th century cliff-side Monastery of St. George of Koziba in the desert (Deir El Qelt) and see the massive church built into the mountains. In Masada you will take a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod around 35BC. This UNESCO site is very important to the Jewish people, a symbol of their exile from the Holy Land and of bravery and self-sacrifice. The story goes that here a Jewish sect called the Zealots held out against the Roman army in AD66. Rather than surrender, they either fought to the death or committed suicide, every last man, woman and child. Then, you’d better have brought your swim gear as you can wash of the dust from exploring with a dip like no other. Drive around 30 minutes to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Spend some time relaxing here and get some classic floating pictures. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties and so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Return to Jerusalem for the evening.
Travel to the western shores of the Sea of Galilee today and Tiberias – established all the way back in AD20. Swing by Hisham’s Palace in Jericho on the way. The old hunting lodge has one of the most beautiful and elaborately decorated mosaic floors in the world. Continue on via the Jordan Valley and visit the ancient fishing village of Capernaum – see the ruins of this old town, the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of Saint Peter. You’ll pass by Tabgha – this is where the Bible says Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, one of the only miracles that’s in all the gospels. Then head up to Safad (Tsfat), one of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities. The city, at over 900 metres above sea level, is Israel’s highest city and is known as the centre of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. It’s a beautiful setting, surrounded by pine forest, and has become a haven for both artists and those seeking spiritual enlightenment. You’ll continue on to Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, for the evening. Here we have the unique opportunity stay in a simple but beautiful convent established by nuns who arrived from France in the mid 19th century.
Leave early this morning and drive to the ancient crusader port of Acre (Akko in Hebrew) approximately 45 minutes. Here you’ll visit the vast complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John (Knights Hospitaller), excavated to uncover rooms including a large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church. You will also see the secret tunnel of their rivals, the Knights Templar – an underground passage between their fortresses. Continue on to Rosh Hanikra where we take a cable car up the cliff face to view the spectacular grottoes. These incredible caves are located at the farthest point north on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, on the border of Lebanon where the sea meets the cliffs. On the way back to Nazareth make a stop at the Church of the Annunciation. This is the site of where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. You will overnight in Nazareth.
After breakfast, journey to Tel Aviv via the coast and Caesarea (approximately 1 hour), which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras. This was once a great port town built by King Herod around 25BC, complete with a theatre, amphitheatre, hippodrome, palace, Roman temple and an extensive network of aqueducts, along with an artificial harbour. The city was eventually abandoned and lost under the desert sands, but thanks to archaeological excavations since the 1950s, its splendour is on show once again. Continue through Haifa (approximately 20 minutes) where you’ll see the lush and immaculate Bahaii Gardens on Mount Carmel Mountains (a memorial and shrine to the Bahai faith) and look out across the Mediterranean Sea. Drop by the ancient port city of Jaffa (approximately 1 hour) before arriving in Tel Aviv. Enjoy a final night in this modern cosmopolitan city, a true 'city that doesn’t stop'. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene, and renowned nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to spend your last trip night. Perhaps gather together you fellow travellers and take advantage of the excellent food and nightlife with a final celebratory dinner or drink as this Israel and Palestine adventure comes to an end.
This trip comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after check-out.
- Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
20 Abdel Rehim Sabry Street
Phone: 202 333 59455
164 Hayarkon St. Tel-Aviv 63451
Phone: +972 35242184
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 trekking.
Alternate Joining point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
16 Nov 2019 (XESIC191116)
12 Lotfy Hassona, Dokki
Phone: +20 2 27359595
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
14 Dec 2019 (XESIC191214)
11 Trumpeldor St
Phone: +972 35192727
Fax: +972 35172626
This trip starts on Day 1 in Cairo at 4pm.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for more details. Please note, on the following night, the single supplement is not available:
Day 5: Nile Felucca.
In May 2019 Tel Aviv will host the 2019 Euro Vision Song Competition (May 14-May 18) Due to the impact this global event is having on accommodation facilities in Tel Aviv during the month of May, confirming additional accommodation is very difficult. For this reason, will not be able to supply additional accommodation services from 13 May until 19 May.
Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Egypt and Israel (particularly within the West Bank) 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
On this trip you'll have the services of 3 different leaders:
1) In Cairo you'll have an Egyptian leader.
- You'll travel unescorted from Cairo to Amman on a plane
2) In Amman you will meet your new Jordanian leader.
- You'll be escorted to the border crossing where you will cross into Israel on your own. You will be met by a local representative once you have completed border formalities.
3) In Israel you'll have a local leader.
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.
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
It is important to be aware that many Arab and Islamic countries deny entry to any person that has evidence of a visit to Israel. Syria, Iran, Libya, Tunisia and several other countries are included in this list. If you are planning to visit any of these countries with the same passport you must request that your Israeli ‘tourist visa’ be stamped on a loose leaf ‘Form 17 L’ instead of in your passport. Likewise, if entering Israel through the land borders with Jordan please ask the Jordanian officials not to stamp an exit stamp in your passport. If you have evidence in your passport of visits to certain Islamic countries, Israeli border officials will scrutinise you regarding the purpose of your visit to Israel. They can sometimes appear difficult and the delay can be lengthy however patience and a friendly demeanor are advised.
Why we love it
Be amazed by the beautiful scenery as you cruise down the Nile on a felucca.
Be amazed by the Pyramids of Giza.
Explore vibrant Cairo with its bustling markets and colourful streets.
Experience the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the super salty Dead Sea.
Spend the night trying to count the billions of stars or chat with the locals at our bedouin camp in Wadi Rum.
Discover the sights, sounds and tastes of Jerusalem's Old City.
Hear the personal stories behind some of Bethlehem's graffiti walls.
Take a cable car to view the incredible caves of Rosh Hanikra.
Is this trip right for you
Travelling on a felucca is awesome, but it's not for everyone. You will be sharing a sleeping area with your fellow group members for the night and shared bathroom facility on board.
The facilities in Wadi Rum are shared but despite that most people list the Desert Camp experience as a highlight!
The walk ways around the ruins can be uneven, dusty and rocky, bring comfortable walking shoes. In places like Petra which is a massive sight you can expect to be walking in the elements for most of the day.
Some hotel in region may not have lifts. Please be aware you may need to climb stairs with your luggage to reach your hotel room for the night.
Sites can get congested during peak travel periods with coaches of large pilgrim groups. We do our best to plan our visits around these times but sometimes it is unavoidable. There may be delays, queue's and private services that prevent us from entering the site. Your trip leader will manage this as best as they can on the day.
The temperatures in the region can be extreme – from very hot to very cold (snow in some places) during the year. Please be prepared with layers, hat, sunscreen and water.
Accommodation aboard the overnight train is in two-berth cabins which convert to bunk beds. All bedding is provided on board and western-style toilets are located in each carriage. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to.
Jordan, Israel & The Palestinian Territories are by no means cheap destinations and you should budget accordingly. The good news is that you will have expert local leaders to help uncover the best deals!
Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. 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 is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. Don’t be taken back if this tipping culture is even more apparent in Israel.
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 endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements.
Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour 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 USD25 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.
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.
- Local guides – Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest USD2 to USD3 per person, per day for local guides.
- Your tour leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD2 to USD4 per person, per day can be used. 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.
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.
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.
There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. Popular purchases include: gold and silver jewellery, perfume and Pyrex perfume bottles, essential oils, papyrus art, alabaster statues and silver including cartouches (hieroglyphics).
While we do not make arrangements for specific shopping excursions due to our passengers feedback, there may be opportunities where your local guides can offer services if you are particularly interested. Please note it's customary for local guides (not Intrepid group leaders) to accept commission from the factory or shop in exchange for their service.
You are under no obligation to purchase anything from local guides and we do encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.
Please note that in Egypt, silver is a common souvenir in the form of jewellery and other items. The silver in Egypt is generally stamped with '800' meaning that it's 80% silver and 20% other metal. This is a reduced quality to the silver you may be more familiar with which is '925'.
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
JORDAN IN WINTER:
The winter months in Jordan (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. Snowfall around these areas as well as Amman is common. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures over these months.
ISRAEL IN WINTER:
The winter months in Israel (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. Snowfall around these areas is common. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures over these months.
In 2019, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 6th May through until 4th June, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival 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
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: +972-547613668 OR +972-547862882
Intrepid's Local Operator: +201096811067
Intrepid’s Local Operator: +20 109 6811 067
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.
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.
Hotel (15 nights),Desert camp (2 nights),Felucca (1 night),Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)