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Ancient Encounters Tour

I highly recommend you to use Encounters if you travel to Egypt. Their customer service was excellent and exceeded my expectations.

Tiffany C, 04 Nov 2018

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Ancient Encounters OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

17 days

Amman to Cairo

From

$2790 (p/p)

Country(ies): Jordan , Egypt

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 18

Accommodation: 3 to 5-star hotels, homestay, sleeper train, felucca sailboat & Bedouin camp

Meals:

Transport: A/C car/minibus/coach, sleeper train, felucca sailboat & flight

Highlights: Jordan's desert castles, Jerash Roman ruins, Ajloun & Shobak castles, Dead Sea swim, Dana Nature Reserve, Petra tour, Wadi Rum safari & camp, Pyramids & Sphinx, Philae temple, Felucca cruise, Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Red Sea.

Want to explore Jordan and Egypt? This two-week tour takes you to both of these countries most popular attractions, fitting in a plethora of activities and experiences that will leave you with a lifetime of memories.

The Jordan leg of the tour starts in the capital city of Amman, as we make our way to famous Umayyad 'Desert Castles' before we head out on a walking tour through downtown Amman, exploring its busy markets, enjoying the street food cuisine and learning a few basic Arabic phrases to use throughout the tour.

From Amman, we head to Jerash - one of the most well-preserved Roman sites in the Middle East and exploring the huge Aljoun Castle. We'll journey through its surrounding hills and lush forests until we reach the Bronze Age Dolmens. We'll spend the rest of the day with a Jordanian family, learning about their way of life, before we head to the Dead Sea to frolick in its extremely salty waters.

After spending some time at the Dead Sea, we'll visit the Dana Biosphere Reserve and Shobak Crusader Castle before we make our way to the hidden city of Petra. We'll spend the entire day here, exploring its Nabatean site before we head out into the Wadi Rum Desert to spend some time with the Bedouins and learning about their way of life.

We say goodbye to Jordan as we make our way to Egypt. We start in Cairo, visiting the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza before we head out on a boat trip to the stunning island Philae Temple in Aswan. From here, we'll set sail on the Nile River in a traditional Felucca sail boat as we enjoy an overnight cruise, taking in the action of rural life on the banks of the Nile. We'll sleep on the deck of the boat, with a hotel upgrade available for those who want some more comfort.

After cruising on the Nile River, we'll head to Luxor, which houses one of the largest concentrations of ancient monuments on the planet, before visiting the imposing Karnak Temple. On the agenda is also a visit to the Pharaonic tombs in the Valley of the Kings, where we'll see the Temple of Queen Hatchepsut and walk around Luxor temple as it is beautifully lit up at night.

We'll head to the Red Sea at Hurghada for some relaxation time at a 5-star resort, where you can try some optional tours such as snorkelling, scuba-diving and other water sports are available before we return to Cairo to finish the tour.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 All roads lead to Amman. Airport to hotel transfer included

Once you land at the airport, one of our staff will be there to meet you and transfer you to your hotel in Amman, giving you time to settle in before running through the itinerary with you. You have the rest of the day free to explore Amman or relax at your hotel, taking in your new surroundings.

OVERNIGHT:

Amman hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Amman - pre-tour
Single room supplement (JOSGAE18)


Day 2 Exploring Amman & Jordan’s Desert Castles

We'll have breakfast before heading out to visit Jordan's 'Desert Castles' built on the ancient trade routes during the Umayyad era. The castles of Qasr al-Kharrana, Qal’at al-Azraq and Qseirr Amra gives you great insight into life during the Ummayad era, with frescoes, bathhouses and well's all left behind as reminders.

Around lunchtime, we'll head back to Amman to enjoy falafel and hummus at a local restaurant before we explore the city of foot, visiting its popular attractions such as the Amphitheatre, the Citadel and the Folklore Museum. Later, we'll make our way through its busy markets, tasting some sweet treats such as Knafeh along the way, before we learn a few simple Arabic phrases to use during the rest of the tour.

If there’s time left, we may visit a few traditional handcraft and art galleries, before we return to our hotel in Amman.

OVERNIGHT:

Amman hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 From Amman to the ancient city of Jerash

After spending two days in Jordan's capital, we'll say goodbye for now as we make our way to Jerash - one of the most well preserved Greco-Roman sites in the Middle East. Once we arrive, we'll make our way through its Roman colonnaded streets, visiting the Forum, the Nymphaeum and the Artemis Temple.

Next, we'll visit the Aljoun Castle - which once served as the base for Saladin’s Arab forces who defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century. The forest and mountainous area around the castle are great places to hike, providing you spectacular views of the surrounding area.

From the Aljoun Castle, we'll head to the village of Rasoun, meeting a Jordanian couple who will be our homestay hosts for the rest of the day. We'll have some time to settle in before heading out into the hills surrounding the village to find the Bronze Age Dolmens - which are stone burial chambers which date back around 5000 years.

For dinner, a delicious, home-cooked traditional Arabic meal will be prepared by our host Jordanian family, and we spend the evening chatting with them about life in Jordan.

OVERNIGHT:

Rasoun homestay

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 En-route to the Dead Sea

After a wonderful night in the village of Rasoun, we say goodbye to our Jordanian homestay hosts as we head south to Madaba to witness the old mosaic map of the Holy Land and its stunning Byzantine mosaics, before we make our way to Mount Nebo, the final resting place of the prophet Moses.

After lunch, we’ll to the Dead Sea where you have the afternoon to swim and float in its extremely seawater, try the invigorating properties of the mud by the beach, and rest by the resort pool.

OVERNIGHT:

Dead Sea Resort

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Exploring Dana Biosphere Reserve & Shobak Castle en-route to Petra

Today, we'll make our way down the Dead Sea coastline, passing lots of deep canyons and gorges as they meet the sea. After we pass some salt flats at the southern end of the Dead Sea we head up through the mountains towards Petra, stopping for a short hike in the beautiful scenery and hills of the Dana Biosphere Reserve along the way. This is Jordan's largest nature reserve, and there are great views of the valleys and hills on the various trails around the restored Dana village. Spring is a particularly lovely time to visit with the terrain surprisingly green and full of flowers. We'll stop for lunch in the village and take a walk before continuing to the imposing crusader castle at Shobak, finally arriving at Petra late in the evening.

You have the option for a spectacular and atmospheric introduction to Petra tonight, with the Petra by Night tour. Here you walk through the Siq to the Treasury, the whole way being atmospherically lit up by hundreds of candles.

OVERNIGHT:

Petra hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Petra by night


Day 6 Visiting the ancient city Petra

Our day starts with a visit to the ancient city of Petra - one of the Modern 7 Wonders of the World. We'll make our way through the Siq until we reach the impressive Treasury - which is cut out of solid rock and towers at over 40 metres high.

We'll go on a guided tour of the Nabatean site as we learn about the people who carved their homes and tombs into the sandstone cliffs around us. You'll have some time to explore Petra by yourself - you can choose to hike to the towering Monastery which offers breathtaking views of the Jordan Valley or take a walk to the High Place of Sacrifice.

Later in the day, we'll make our way to the Wadi Rum desert to meet the Bedouins. We'll spend the night in the desert, camping underneath the starry skies, against the rocky cliffs. If you’d like, you can even take your sleeping bag to a secluded spot and sleep outside, listening to the sounds of the desert.

OVERNIGHT:

Bedouin Camp in Wadi Rum

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 A jeep safari in Wadi Rum. Travel to Amman

After spending the night with the local Bedouins, we'll head out on a Jeep safari through the desert, making a few stops every now and then to take in the beauty of the towering sand stones and rock bridges.

We'll head back to camp, as we help a local Bedouin shepherd with a few traditional activities such as shearing sheep and goat’s hair, grinding and roasting coffee beans. We'll also help to make lunch.

After lunch, we'll say our final goodbyes as we head north along the Desert Highway back to the capital city of Amman. Tonight, we’ll head to the local coffee shops and cafe’s near our hotel, where you can try a shisha or a game of backgammon, enjoying our last night in Jordan.

OVERNIGHT:

Antika hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 From Amman to Cairo

You have the day free to explore Amman one last time before we make our way to the airport to board our flight to Cairo. If your flight is later in the day, you have an option to head out on a half-day city tour in Amman.

Upon arrival in Cairo, one of our staff members will be to greet you and transfer you to your hotel close to the towering pyramids. After settling in, we'll run through the itinerary with you before arranging a time to collect you tomorrow.

The rest of the day is free to explore Cairo on your own. If you arrived early, a great option would be to enjoy an evening dinner cruise on the Nile, or witness a sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).

Note: the Amman-Cairo flight is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to book all your international flights, just this Amman-Cairo flight, or none of them at all, whichever works best for you. Direct flights are available with both Egypt Air and Royal Jordanian Airlines. You can fly at any time during the day - all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.

OVERNIGHT:

Cairo hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Amman to Cairo flight


Day 9 Visiting the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza

We'll start the day with a visit to the towering Pyramids and a visit to the Great Sphinx of Giza, which dates back to 2500 BC.

Standing tall behind the Great Sphinx are the three Great Pyramids of Egypt, with the Pyramid of Khufu being the largest, standing at 500 feet high and 750 feet wide. The two other pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure are much smaller and simpler in design.

After spending some time at the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, we'll head to the Egyptian Museum, which is the home to the King Tutankhamun exhibit. Tonight, we'll make our way to the local station for the overnight sleeper train to Aswan (approx. 12 hours).

OVERNIGHT:

Sleeper train to Aswan

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Cairo to Aswan flight upgrade


Day 10 A Nubian Village and the Philae Temple

After our overnight sleeper train journey from Cairo, we'll be transported to our hotel in Aswan which provides us with spectacular views of the Nile River. You'll have some free time this morning to rest or explore. We'll then head out to a nearby Nubian village and see how the Nubian people have lived in this region for centuries. We'll take lunch in the village.

Our Egypt tour then continues this afternoon, as we make our way to the Philae Temple via boat. The Philae Temple itself was nearly lost underwater when the high Aswan dam was built in the 1960's. Luckily, the temple was rescued by a joint operation between the Egyptian government and UNESCO.

OVERNIGHT:

Aswan hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11 Traditional felucca cruise on the Nile River. Abu Simbel option

This morning, you have the choice to sleep a little later or take an optional visit to the towering Abu Simbel Temples - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - at sunrise. Transfers, guiding, and entrance fees to Abu Simbel are included.

Later in the day, we'll head to the Nile River to set sail in a traditional felucca boat - our home for the rest of the day. As we meander along the waters of the Nile, you have the opportunity to take in the busy Egyptian rural life on the banks of the river. Our Nubian crew will entertain us, preparing our meals in authentic Egyptian style, with a support boat joining up every now and then, with amenities such as a welcome toilet, a shower as well as an hygienic kitchen.

We'll spend the night on Nile River, with mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided). If you're looking for more comfort, you can upgrade the night on the felucca to an additional night in the Aswan hotel, and in this case, you'll return to Aswan tinight and rejoin the group tomorrow morning when they leave the Felucca. All other touring remains the same.

OVERNIGHT:

On board felucca

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Abu Simbel overland
Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan


Day 12 Edfu and Luxor temples

After breakfast, we'll make our way to the huge Edfu Temple, possibly the best preserved in the whole of Egypt, before travelling on to Luxor, which is famed for its ancient temples and its close proximity to Karnak, Thebes and the tombs of pharaohs, queens and nobles on the bank of the Nile.

We'll check in at a luxury hotel on the banks Nile and you'll have time to relax at the pool.

This eveninig we’ll head out on a walking tour of Luxor Temple, which sits right in the heart of the town centre and is lit up at night, making for spectacular viewing.

OVERNIGHT:

Luxor hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 13 Visiting the Valley of the Kings and Karnak temple

We'll start the day early once more, as we cross the Nile in the direction of Luxor's West Bank, the location of the Valley of the Kings. You have the option to enjoy an early morning sunrise hot air balloon ride over the West Bank this morning.

The Valley of the Kings is a burial ground for the pharaoh's of yesteryear, when they veered away from using Pyramids to be buried, but tombs instead. Our tour includes several of these Pharaonic tombs, as well as the temples of Queen Hatshepsut and Medinat Habu, and the huge Colossi of Memnon.

This afternoon we head to Karnak Temple complex, an open air museum which boasts massive pillars and columns as well as towering avenues of sphinxes. One of Karnak's main attractions is undoubtedly its Hypostyle hall, built during the Ramesside period. The hall has 134 massive sandstone columns with the center twelve columns standing at 21 metres high.

OVERNIGHT:

Hurghada resort

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Hot air balloon in Luxor


Day 15 To the Red Sea at Hurghada
This morning we'll say goodbye to the Nile, as we make our way to the Red Sea, staying in a 5-star resort. Your stay here is on a 'soft all inclusive' basis, with all meals, soft drinks and snacks included but not alcoholic beverages.

OVERNIGHT:

Hurghada - 5-star resort

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 14 Relaxation at the Red Sea

You have the whole day free to relax at the Red Sea, where you can try your hand at water sports such as snorkelling, scuba diving, kite surfing, sea fishing and a host of other adventure activities.

Our local rep based in Hurghada will be on hand to help make any arrangements. If you wish, we can book extra nights in the resort in Hurghada for you to extend your time here - please contact us for details and prices.

OVERNIGHT:

Hurghada resort

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 16 Return to Cairo, Islamic Cairo and Khan-el-Khalili walk

We drive back to Cairo this morning and you then have some free time to explore Cairo as you choose or take an optional tour. These include a city tour in Cairo which visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, or a half day tour to Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis to learn more about the history and evolution of pyramid building.

In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We'll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt's unofficial national dish, Kushari. Finally we return to our hotel to end the day and our time in Egypt.

OVERNIGHT:

Cairo hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Cairo city tour
Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis


Day 17 Free time in Cairo. Hotel to airport transfers included

Some final free time is available in Cairo today for you do some last minute shopping and sightseeing, before we transport you to the airport to board your flight back home. If your flight is scheduled later, try some of our optional Cairo city tours or add a few extra nights to your time in Cairo to explore the colonial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Alexandria day trip
Cairo city tour
Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - pre-tour


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Included:
  • 5 nights in 3 & 4-star hotels in Jordan
  • Jordan village homestay in Rasoun, and Bedouin desert camp in Wadi Rum
  • 7 nights in 5-star hotels in Egypt
  • Overnight sleeper train from Cairo to Aswan in private twin-berth cabins (flight upgrade available)
  • Overnight Nile felucca sailboat trip (hotel upgrade available)
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • All transport and transfers in private AC vehicles (plus Bedouin jeeps in Wadi Rum)
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Services of an English speaking tour leader and local guides in Jordan
  • Services of a local Egyptologist guide in Egypt
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Amman to Cairo flight (available on request or bookable with your international flight ticket)
  • Visa fees (see Jordan Pass tour note)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees in Egypt (allow approx. US$105)
  • Entrance fees in Jordan (included in the Jordan Pass, JD70)
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tipping kitty in Egypt (allow US$45) plus tour guide tips
  • Tips in Jordan
  • Hotel gala dinners (see Tour notes)
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Hotel Gala Dinners: Many of Egypt and Jordan's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.

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Dates and Prices

Small-group tour departure dates are given below. The tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, with adjustments to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

21st of Nov 2020

7th of Dec 2020

US$2860

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17-day tour


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19th of Dec 2020

4th of Jan 2021

US$2930

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17-day tour


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26th of Dec 2020

11th of Jan 2021

US$2930

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17-day tour


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9th of Jan 2021

25th of Jan 2021

US$2860

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30th of Jan 2021

15th of Feb 2021

US$2860

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20th of Feb 2021

8th of Mar 2021

US$2860

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13th of Mar 2021

29th of Mar 2021

US$2860

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3rd of Apr 2021

19th of Apr 2021

US$2930

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24th of Apr 2021

10th of May 2021

US$2860

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22nd of May 2021

7th of Jun 2021

US$2790

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19th of Jun 2021

5th of Jul 2021

US$2790

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17th of Jul 2021

2nd of Aug 2021

US$2790

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14th of Aug 2021

30th of Aug 2021

US$2790

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11th of Sep 2021

27th of Sep 2021

US$2790

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2nd of Oct 2021

18th of Oct 2021

US$2930

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23rd of Oct 2021

8th of Nov 2021

US$2930

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13th of Nov 2021

29th of Nov 2021

US$2930

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4th of Dec 2021

20th of Dec 2021

US$2930

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21st of Dec 2021

6th of Jan 2022

US$3070

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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Rum Art Hotel

Rum Art Hotel

Amman


The recently renovated Rum Art Hotel is a good 3-star option with an excellent location in central Amman within walking distance of one of the cities main shopping areas.

Local rating

Our rating

 Rum Art Hotel Rum Art Hotel

Your premier choice in the capital city of Amman, the Rum Art Hotel is located at the heart of Sweifieh district, and just a few steps away from Wakalat street, the ultimate shopping zone which Jordanians and tourists flock to, to shop and enjoy pedestrian life.

The hotel offers high quality services where you can experience the modern life of Jordanians while feeling at home in Amman with professional staff at your service around the clock.

Rasoun Homestay

Rasoun Homestay

Rasoun, Jordan


This is a friendly local homestay in Rasoun village near Ajloun Castle. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. Bathrooms are separate and shared. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable and very welcoming experience.

Local rating

Our rating

 Rasoun Homestay Rasoun Homestay

This is a friendly local homestay in Rasoun village, near to Ajloun Castle and the RSCN's Ajloun Forest Reserve. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. There are a number of homes in the village that will accommodate guests, so depending on our final group size we may split across several houses. We will all eat together in one house with the hosts. All beds and bedding are provided. Bathrooms are separate and shared but quite basic. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable, and very welcoming experience with good food and interesting insights into local village life in rural Jordan. The RSCN's Soap House is also nearby and worth a visit. Here local women use a variety of local natural ingredients, including lavender, geranium, mint and pomegranate, to create high-quality handmade natural olive oil soaps.

Dead Sea Spa Resort

Dead Sea Spa Resort


The Dead Sea Spa hotel is a comfortable resort style hotel located on the banks of the Red Sea. Access to the Dead Sea itself is directly from the hotel, with spa treatments and Dead Sea mud to lather yourselves with before swimming also available.

Local rating

Our rating

 Dead Sea Spa Resort Dead Sea Spa Resort

The Dead Sea Spa hotel is a comfortable resort style hotel located on the banks of the Red Sea, around 1 hour's drive from Amman and Amman airport. There are several pools, and the hotel has great direct access into the Dead Sea itself, with the famous Dead Sea mud available on the beach to lather yourself with before swimming (if you wish!). Various treatments are also available in the hotel spa. Meals are generally buffet style with a good selection of different options including several vegetarian options. There are more luxurious 5-star resorts on the Dead Sea, but we feel the Dead Sea Spa hotel provides an very good mid-range option, ideal for short stays.

Amra Palace Hotel

Amra Palace Hotel

Petra


Amra Palace Hotel is wonderfully located at the heart of the city, the hotel is minutes away from the main shopping areas and the entrance to the ancient city of Petra.

Local rating

Our rating

 Amra Palace Hotel Amra Palace Hotel

Located in Petra next to the Wadi Musa Souk, this hotel offers panoramic views of the Petra Mountains. It has a spa with indoor heated pool surrounded by loungers. The Hotel is within a walking distance from the Petra Gate.

All rooms at the Amra Palace International Hotel are decorated in warm colours. They offer flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, a minibar and a private bathroom with a hairdryer.

Guests of the Amra Palace can enjoy a relaxing massage at the spa. Guests can enjoy a drink and admire the sunset on the terrace overlooking the hotel's garden.

Each morning a breakfast buffet is served in Hotel Amra’s dining room. In the evening, the à la carte restaurant serves a wide variety of Arabic and international cuisine. In the summertime, the hotel offers an outdoor Bedouin Restaurant, which serves a traditional barbecue.

Rahayeb Camp

Rahayeb Camp

Wadi Rum, Jordan


This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location on the desert sands against the cliffs in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Accommodation is in permanent goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. The food is generally excellent.

Local rating

Our rating

 Rahayeb Camp Rahayeb Camp

This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location and setting on the desert sands right up against the cliffs within the Wadi Rum Protected Area. We like it for its spectacular and remote location well away from the main road, and for the excellent food and friendly welcome the Bedouin hosts always provide.

Accommodation is in permanent traditional goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. We book the standard tents with shared bathrooms, though some en-suite tents are also available and subject to availability you can upgrade to these locally if you wish. You can also bring a sleeping bag if you wish, and find a sheltered spot on the rocks on the edge of the camp and sleep under the stars.

WiFi is available throughout the camp. Meals are traditionally cooked, with a delicious underground 'BBQ' prepared nearly every night.

Sunrise and sunset camel rides are available to book locally (around US$30).

Antika Hotel

Antika Hotel

Amman


Antika Hotel is located in the heart of the old city of Amman and offers simple but comfortable accommodation. This characterful hotel is perfect for your last day in Amman, unlike other hotels further from the city centre.

Local rating

Our rating

 Antika Hotel Antika Hotel

Antika Amman Hotel is located in the heart of the old city of Amman; on the edge of Rainbow Street, 5 minutes walking distance from Downtown Amman. Guests can enjoy the on-site snack bar.

All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Certain units include a seating area for your convenience. The rooms are equipped with a private bathroom.

There is a 24-hour front desk and gift shop at the property.

Al Hussainy Mosque is 0.7 miles from Antika Amman Hotel, while Temple of Hercules and the Roman Corinthian Column is 0.7 miles away. Queen Alia Airport is 16.2 miles from the property.

You can also enjoy free WIFI during your stay.

Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel

Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel

Cairo


It features two pools, several restaurants and bars, free WiFi, a spa and fitness centre, and both classic and family rooms. The rooms overlook the gardens and feature air-conditioning, TVs, safes, and minibars. The hotel offers an airport shuttle.

Local rating

Our rating

 Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel

Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel is a 5-star establishment located on the doorstep of one of the most famous landmarks in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza. Modern yet classic, the hotel is set amongst leafy gardens. It has been recently taken over and upgraded by Steigenberger, and now offers improved service and standards. Free WiFi is offered throughout the hotel, and there are two swimming pools. Several bars and restaurants are situated on site, serving a variety of flavours from around the world, as well as offering a taste of local cuisine. A wellness centre features modern fitness equipment and machines, while the spa offers a variety of treatments to help you relax after a day of touring.

Accommodation is offered in the form of classic rooms, as well as family suites. The classic rooms are available with either double or twin beds, and look out onto the gardens. The family rooms can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children. Amenities in all rooms include en-suite bathrooms, TVs, minibars, safes, and air-conditioning. There are also several bungalow-style rooms set within the gardens.

The hotel’s location is ideal, just 3km from the Pyramids and the Sphinx and directly opposite the New Egyptian Grand Museum. Two international airports are within driving distance, and a shuttle service is available on request. Choose from a variety of landmarks and sites to visit in the surrounding regions.

Sleeper train

Sleeper train

Cairo, Luxor & Aswan


On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included.

Local rating

Our rating

 Sleeper train Sleeper train

On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included. The carriage steward will make up and put away your beds in the evening and morning. All transfers between your hotel and the station are also included (these may well be separate to the main group if train times are very different on your dates). Single cabin supplements apply.

Note: We can arrange an internal flight upgrade for anyone not wishing to use the sleeper train.

Felucca Sailboat

Felucca Sailboat

Aswan


Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and make for an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to travel down the river.

Local rating

Our rating

 Felucca Sailboat Felucca Sailboat

Felucca Sailboats

Feluccas are simple boats without cabins or electricity and you sleep on deck on mattresses with blankets and cushions provided. Canvas walls, mosquito netting and a roof are erected at night. You may want to bring a sleeping bag or extra blanket during the winter months (November to February) when it can get cold a night. Mosquito repellent is recommended for the evenings and early mornings, and wearing long sleeves at night is a good idea. Life jackets are provided for non-swimmers. Unfortunately, swimming in the Nile is not recommended both for health reasons and due to the strong currents - there are pools to enjoy in your Aswan and Luxor hotels.

Our Nubian crew will man the boat and prepare & cook all your meals on board or on our facilities boat. The food is simple but varied and filling and they will also serve Egyptian tea and Nubian cake. Water, soft drinks and beer can also be purchased. You keep a tally of what you've had and then pay for them at the end of the trip. The crew will also entertain you in the evenings when we may sing songs or just sit and chat around a camp fire.

Feluccas are dependent on the wind, and occasionally if the winds are too light or strong we may need to adjust the itinerary slightly.

Facility Boat

Our felucca suport boatOur new facilities boat makes the whole felucca experience more enjoyable, with a clean toilet and hot showers on board, as well as massage beds and a hygienic kitchen.

The boat doesn't shadow the felucca all the way, as we don’t want to spoil the peaceful experience of sailing down the Nile. It will however join up with you as and when required through the day and moor with you at night.

As well as the toilet, showers and kitchen facilities, there is also a sun deck where traditional Nubian massages are available.

The boat also helps us ensure that we do our bit to protect the Nile and its surroundings. Over the years, some areas on the banks of the Nile have been somewhat spoiled by the number of people staying overnight on feluccas and not using proper toilet tents or being respectful to their local environment.

We've had some great feedback from travellers using the boat so far, and we feel it really improves the experience of what is already many people's highlight of their trip to Egypt.

Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel

Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel

Luxor


This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor.

Local rating

Our rating

 Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel

Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.

Introduction:

This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001.  It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor. The hotel has views of the Nile and the Valley of the Kings on the opposite bank. The outdoor pool, restaurants, cafes and shops are all located in a central courtyard area.

The location and the high standards within the hotel make this one of our first choice hotels for stays in Luxor on our small-group tours, and for private & tailor-made trips (together with the Sonesta St. George hotel).

Location:

The hotel is centrally located next to the Nile in the heart of the tourist area of Luxor with shops and bazaars within a short walk. It is just 1.5 kilometres from the train station and 10 kilometres/15 minutes from Luxor International airport.

Accommodation:

The hotel offers excellent standards of accommodation and the rooms are spacious and modern. The 302 rooms and suites are located on 6 floors built around the courtyard. The standard rooms overlook Luxor or the courtyard area and upgrades to Nile view rooms are available on request for a small supplement. There are also disabled and non-smoking rooms available.

All rooms have deluxe en-suite bathroom, private balcony, air-conditioning, Satellite TV, mini-bar, safety deposit box, telephone, hairdryer and electrical sockets.

Bars & Restaurants:

The hotel has a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. The main hotel restaurant is the Nubia which is open from 6.00-10.00 am for breakfast and then 6.00-10.00pm for dinner, serving local and international dishes. There are two other restaurants within the hotel which are open for both lunch and dinner. These are the Casa de Napoli Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta and El Tarboush serving Lebanese dishes.

For light meals and snacks during the day there is the Tropicana poolside bar and the Cafe des Delices which is located in the courtyard.
In the evening there is the Nile bar & lounge, which is open until 2.00am, and you can enjoy views of the Nile while trying out the various cocktails on offer.

Pasha's Pub also has views of the Nile and has regular evening entertainment.

Facilities & Services:

The freeform outdoor pool which is heated in winter has views of the River Nile and the Valley of the Kings and is the perfect place to relax after a day spent sightseeing or exploring Luxor. Guests also have free use of the leisure centre and gym within the hotel and other activities such as golf are available nearby. The are various shops within the hotel including gift and souvenir shops, a beauty salon and foreign exchange services.

Other services include:

  • 24-hour room service
  • Babysitting (on request)
  • 24hr Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Business centre
  • Porters
  • Games room
  • Library
  • Lifts
Jaz Makadi Oasis Resort

Jaz Makadi Oasis Resort

Hurghada


This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. This village-style resort, built in the Nubian Style. It is just 250 yards from Makadi Bay's sandy beach. The lagoon-style pool has waterslides and is surrounded by palm trees and sun loungers.

Local rating

Our rating

 Jaz Makadi Oasis Resort Jaz Makadi Oasis Resort

This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. This village-style resort, built in the Nubian Style, is located in Madinat Makadi. It is just 250 yards from Makadi Bay's sandy beach. The lagoon-style pool has waterslides and is surrounded by palm trees and sun loungers.

Jaz Makadi Oasis and Family Resort offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony offering views of the pool area and the garden.

Situated between the desert dunes and the mountains, Makadi Bay is ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling. Guests can also relax in the hot tub or work out in the fitness centre. They can also enjoy the Sauna and Turkish/Steam Bath against charge.

El Hambra Restaurant is the main restaurant and serves a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. El Shamousa Bar provides beverages and large snacks by the pool. The Lobby Bar is available 24 hours and offers traditional tea.

Hurghada International Airport is a 35-minute drive away. Jaz Makadi Oasis Resort is 1.9 miles away from Makadi Water World Aqua Park with 50 different slides for adults and kids excitement in an added charge

Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino

Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino

Cairo


The Sheraton Cairo is located in Cairo’s Dokki district, close to the Egyptian Museum. It consists of a casino, night club, and 5-star hotel. The hotel offers a full range of services and amenities, as well as fully-equipped luxury rooms.

Local rating

Our rating

 Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino

Sheraton Cairo Hotel and Casino is a 5-star establishment found in the Dokki district of Cairo. A number of attractions are close by, including the Egyptian Museum. Included among the many facilities and amenities are a spa, fitness centre, sauna, library, and indoor and outdoor pools. Rooms are fully-equipped and feature mini bars, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary toiletries. The hotel offers several services, including 24-hour room service, a turndown service, and a paid airport shuttle.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Extra day in Amman - pre-tour

Extra day in Amman - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$40
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Amman to Cairo flight

Amman to Cairo flight

Min numbers: 1 person


This flight is a required part of the tour. It is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket.

Price from
$300
per person

This flight is a required part of the tour. It is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to book all your flights, just the Amman-Cairo flight, or none of them at all, whichever works best for you. Direct flights are available with both Egypt Air and Royal Jordanian Airlines. To help keep the group together we recommend Egypt Air flight MS720 which departs from Amman between 09.30-10.30am. However, you can also fly at any other time during the day - all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.

Prices are subject to availability and current flight fares.

Cairo to Aswan flight upgrade

Cairo to Aswan flight upgrade

Min numbers: 1 person


This option provides an upgrade from the overnight sleeper train to an internal flight with Egypt Air.

Price from
$135
per person

This option provides an upgrade from the overnight sleeper train to an internal flight with Egypt Air. An extra night in the hotel in Cairo is included before you fly to Aswan. Flight times vary and are subject to availability. Single room supplements apply.

 Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan

Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan

Min numbers: 1 person


Although our overnight felucca journey is an amazing experience and often a highlight of the tour, the basic overnight accommodation is not for everyone. This upgrade is designed for those who would like a little more comfort.

Price from
$70
per person

Although our overnight felucca journey is an amazing experience and often a highlight of the tour, the basic overnight accommodation is not for everyone. This upgrade is designed for those who would like a little more comfort in place of the overnight felucca sailboat trip, where you sleep on the deck of the boat.

You will leave the main group after they leave Aswan on the felucca, and remain there with some free time in the afternoon to explore the city and its markets a little more, before spending the night in a 5-star hotel. The next morning we will transfer you to rejoin the group after they leave the felucca, and the rest of your tour will continue as normal from there on. Prices shown are based on travelling in low season (April to September) and staying in a shared twin/double room. High season and single room supplements apply.

Abu Simbel overland

Abu Simbel overland

Min numbers: 1 person


This option takes you from Aswan to see the amazing temples built by Ramses II at Aswan. We travel overland and return to Aswan by midday.

Price from
$120
per person

The temples built by Ramses II at Abu Simbel are one of Egypt's highlights, and have a fascinating story behind them to go with their impressive size. When Lake Nasser was flooded, the final water level was going to submerge several temples, the most important of which being Abu Simbel. The temple was therefore dismantled completely and rebuilt further up the hillside where it sits today. The temple stands today as a testament to Ramses II and the great building prowess of the ancient Egyptians, as well as to modern engineering. We depart Aswan early in the morning to join an escorted convoy which departs Aswan at around 04.30. This gets us to Abu Simbel to see the temples in the light of the rising sun, and we then have a guided tour with one of our Egyptologists and some free time before we drive back to Aswan (approx. 3 hours drive each way, with around 2 hours at the temples). All transfers, guide, and entrance fees are included. The tour itinerary is designed so you will not miss any other activities if you choose this option. Note - we choose the overland route to get to Abu Simbel as the flight times there are unreliable and the journey using the flight is much more segmented (you get more rest on the coach), not to mention it is much more expensive to fly.

Hot air balloon in Luxor

Hot air balloon in Luxor

Min numbers: 1 person


A trully memorable, approx 1-hour, early morning flight over the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor.

Price from
$120
per person

This popular optional tour starts early in the morning so that you experience the sunrise over the Valleys of the Kings & Queens, temples and desert. We endeavour to use the earliest flights of the day as they are timed to fit with the rising sun, this means that times may vary. You get around 1 hour in the air.

Cairo city tour

Cairo city tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This tour visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque as well as the bustling market streets of Khan El Khalili bazaar.

Price from
$60
per person

This half day guided tour of Cairo tour begins with Islamic areas including the Citadel of Saladdin, boasting the famous Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Then we head onto the Coptic area of Cairo where the Romans constructed the fortress of Babylon. The church of St. Mary was built over the ruins of two towers of the fortress whilst it is more commonly known as the Hanging Church next stop is St. Sergius which is said to be the resting place of the Holy Family. The tour finishes with time exploring the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar.

Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis

Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis

Min numbers: 1 person


This half day guided tour on the outskirts of Cairo tour provides more insight into the history and evolution of pyramid building, and of the Egyptian civilisation. Our tours are based in the area of ancient Memphis, a former capital of Egypt.

Price from
$75
per person

This half day guided tour on the outskirts of Cairo tour provides more insight into the history and evolution of pyramid building, and of the Egyptian civilisation. Our tours are based in the area of ancient Memphis, a former capital of Egypt. First we'll visit Saqqara, a huge desert necropolis which was built for the kings and nobles of the Old Kingdom. Here we see Zoser's 'step' pyramid and the adjacent Imhotep museum where we learn more about Memphis and the history of the region. Next we head to Dashour to see one of the next attempts at pyramid building. Dashour's moniker of the 'bent pyramid' shows they still had a bit to learn, but this is a fascinating site and the pyramid still has much of its original limestone cladding. We'll then return you to your hotel.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a room with one or two other travellers of the same sex. If you are happy to share, then you will only need to pay the single room supplement if we are unable to pair you up.

Please check the Accommodation tab on the tour page for details of the normal hotels used on this tour. On our group and shoestring tours, these may change from time to time for other properties of a similar standard. If you would like to guarantee a particular hotel, please request a tailor-made tour.

In Egypt we use good quality hotels rated at the local 4 and 5-star level on this tour while accommodation in Jordan is in 3 and 4-star hotels and a small Bedouin Camp located right inside the Wadi Rum reserve. Mattresses and blankets are provided at the Bedouin camp and you can sleep under cover or under the stars if you prefer. Basic toilet facilities are provided.

Gala Dinners:
Many of Egypt and Jordan’s hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special Gala Dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$30 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala Dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices, and will be added to your booking if required. More information is available on request.


  2. Felucca Sailboat

This tour features an overnight felucca cruise.  Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and are a fun and relaxing way to travel down the river. You sleep on the deck of the boat (mattresses and some blankets are provided, but we suggest that you bring a sleeping sheet, blanket or light sleeping bag during the winter months of November-February).  There are no toilet facilities on board, but you will be joined several times each day and at night by our support boat where a toilet and warm showers will be available.  Mosquito nets are provided for use while you are sleeping but you should bring mosquito repellent for the evenings and early mornings. Your Nubian boat crew will cook all your meals while on board and entertain you in the evenings.


  3. Transport

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour.

In Jordan we use private AC minivans/minibuses for all the transfers and journeys throughout the tour, depending on the number of travellers in the group. The jeeps used in Wadi Rum are provided by the local Bedouins we work with, and while suitable for your desert safari, they may fall below the normal safety and quality standards for vehicles we use during the rest of our tours.

In Egypt we again use AC minivans/minibuses/coaches, many of which are fitted with speed limiters, and all are inspected and checked daily.

For the overnight train journey from Cairo to Aswan (approx. 12 hrs) this tour uses the overnight sleeper train. This train has private twin berth cabins with large seats and fold-down beds with sheets, pillow & blanket. The lockable cabins also have a washbasin and storage cupboard, and an airline tray-style evening meal and breakfast is included. If you wish you may upgrade this journey to an internal flight.

Hurghada-Cairo flight
The flight from Hurgahda to Cairo on this tour is included in the price of the tour.

Amman to flight
The connecting flight from Cairo to Amman is not included in the price of this tour. It is left out of the set tour price as it is sometimes more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to book all your flights, just the Amman-Cairo flight, or none of them at all, whichever works best for you. Direct flights are available with both Egypt Air and Royal Jordanian Airlines. To try to keep the group together we recommend Egypt Air flight MS720 which departs Amman between 09.30 and 10.30, though if necessary you can fly at other times too - all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.


  4. Transfers

Our Egypt and Jordan tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Cairo and Amman airports, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers.

On arrival in Egypt, our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Cairo airport before you get to passport control. They will assist with visa formalities before helping you collect your luggage and taking you to your hotel.

On arrival in Jordan our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Amman airport, before passport control. They will assist with visa formalities and then help you with your luggage and take you to your hotel.

Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.


  5. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very provide suggestions for flights to go with your tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour and to/from any airports used for connecting flights during the tour itself.


  6. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set this Egypt & Jordan group tour to have a maximum of 18 travellers.

In Egypt we provide fully trained, local English-speaking Egyptologists to act as your tour guide for all of the sightseeing tours in Cairo and the Nile Valley. Our local reps in all the towns and cities en-route are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour.  We may use one guide in Cairo and a second guide for the Aswan to Luxor section.

A professional Jordanian guide is used to lead the tour in Jordan up until your time in Wadi Rum, after which an English speaking driver will drive you back to Amman.

At Encounters Travel we only use local Egyptian and Jordanian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.


  7. Activity level

This tour includes several walks or hikes in Jordan and while you do not need to be super fit by any means, you should bring suitable footwear.

In the Ajloun Forest Reserve we will hike through scrubland and forest for several hours in the afternoon. The guide will vary the route and duration of the walk based on how everyone is feeling and the current weather.

In Dana Biosphere Reserve we'll take a short walk through the hills around the restored Dana village. Trails are generally always dry and a little rocky but we won't be taking one of the longer more challenging hikes here.

In Petra, you will be doing a lot of walking to explore the site. The minimum distance you'll walk, from the entrance to the Siq, through the Siq to the Treasury, through the site to the Theatre and Byzantime church, and then back out again, is around 8km. If you would like to hike up to the Monastery, or High Place of Sacrifice, you should expect to add another 2 or 3km, much of it up or down. You can take everything at your own pace, but do be prepared for a long day. Again comfortable walking shoes and a daypack are required.

There are no walks of similar durations on the Egypt section of the tour. However, access on and off the feluccas is by way of planks and steps, and you do need to be fairly mobile for this part of the trip.


  8. Entrance Fees & Jordan Pass

The tour price does not include entrance fees to the sites visited on the tour.

Jordan:
We strongly recommend that you purchase a Jordan Pass prior to your travel to Jordan. This is a special package that has been designed by the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for tourists visiting Jordan. As well as including a discounted package of entrance fees covering all the sites in Jordan that you will visit on this tour (plus many others), the Jordan Pass also provides free downloadable digital brochures on each attraction, plus a free tourist visa for entering the country (40JD if obtained on arrival in Jordan).
The cost for the Jordan Wanderer Pass suitable for this tour is JD70 (approx. US$99). Passes are available by completing a simple online form before you travel, taking care to make sure your passport details are entered correctly as this doubles as your visa application. Your Jordan Pass will then be emailed to you as a pdf document, which you should print out and bring with you. You will then need to show this print out at the immigration desk on arrival in Jordan to obtain your free entry visa, and also at each attraction where it will be scanned to confirm your entry. Obtain your Jordan Pass here

Egypt:
Please check the Exclusions section above for a guide to the amount you should allow for this tour as these do vary from time to time (a 50% discount for minors or ISIC card holders is also often, but not always available). Your guide will be happy to collect payment for all the entrance fees at the start of the tour, and pay them for you as you go along if you wish.


  9. Tipping

Jordan: Tipping is common practice in Jordan, as a sign of appreciation for services provided. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. US$3-8 per person per day would be appropriate.

Egypt: Tipping is also very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs, and many people you meet along the way will expect and make it clear they are waiting for a tip. To make it easier for you to budget and to remove much of the stress and hassle of tipping lots of people as you go along, we collect a ‘Tipping Kitty’ at the start of your time in Egypt. Your guide will manage this as the tour goes along and ask one or more of the group members to assist and make some of the payments. The kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you’ll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc.  Please check the Excluded section below the tour itinerary for a budget for this tour. Your Egyptologist guide is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided.  Again you should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. As a guideline, approx. US$3-8 per person per day would be appropriate.


  10. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.  You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A

Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.

More information is available here: Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon

Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using ‘black henna’ instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.


  11. Passports and Visas - Jordan

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

To promote tourism to the country, the Jordanian government has designed the Jordan Pass. This provides most nationalities with a free single entry Jordan visa (for stays of 3 nights or more), a discounted package of entrance fees, and free digital brochures for the various sites in Jordan. Please check the Jordan Pass tour note for more information.

Double or multi entry visas for Jordan are no longer available and you will need to arrange two visas if you are doing a combination tour (eg. with Egypt and/or Israel) that visits Jordan more than once. Exceptions may occur if you are crossing to and from Israel via the King Hussein Bridge - please contact us for details.

If you wish to arrange your visa separately in advance, or if your stay will be shorter than four days/3 nights, then a visa fee of 40JD (approx. USD 57) will be due.

Other nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival and to obtain this in advance, please contact your local Jordanian embassy or consulate or a visa agency for details. In addition, if you plan to enter Jordan via the southern Wadi Araba crossing (Eilat-Aqaba) or the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein border with Israel in the north, you will need to obtain your Jordan visa in advance as these are not available on arrival at the border.


  12. Passports and Visas - Egypt

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.

In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, the cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) - you'll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don't need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.

All African and Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.

For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.


  13. Time

The time in Egypt, Jordan and Israel is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.


  14. Voltage

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.


  15. Money - Jordan

The local currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JD). You do not need to arrange to bring any Jordanian Dinar with you to Jordan as exchange facilities are available in the international airports and in most hotels, banks and bureau de changes in major towns. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.

While in Jordan you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Jordanian Dinar, though tips for guides and drivers may be paid in hard currency (GBP, USD, EUR).

It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.


  16. Money - Egypt

The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted ‘LE’. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.

While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.

It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.


  17. What to take

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Egypt and Jordan. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: Most of your time in Egypt will be in a hot weather, while the climate in Jordan varies widely from hot days in the summer to cool and sometimes wet days in the winter months. However, at night, and especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required on the cruise boats or in 4 or 5-star hotel restaurants. Long sleeves are recommended to protect from mosquitoes if you are on the felucca. Modesty rates highly in Egypt and Jordan, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of Cairo and Amman, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.

Other items: We recommend that you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger. If you will be travelling on a felucca sailboat in Egypt then we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round for comfort, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February). If your tour includes an overnight Bedouin camp in Jordan then bedding (sheets, blankets, pillow) is provided but we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner for comfort all year round (even with the best efforts, sand does find its way pretty much everywhere). In the winter months, or if you think you would like to sleep under the stars instead of in your tent, then we recommend you bring a sleeping bag with you as it can get very cold at night.


  18. Dates & Prices

We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Saturdays throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 18. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.


  19. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  20. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  21. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected. Financial failure insurance is provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of their tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  22. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don’t prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It’s important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Egypt Uncovered shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  23. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/EgyptUncovered
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  24. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

Reviews

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Ancient Encounters & Country Reviews

Product Review


Posted 3rd of Jan 2019

Just amazing affordable price.

Product Review


Posted 13th of Aug 2018

Overall good. Need better transportation. Tour guide good but needs to be more respectful of the female guests less touchy feely

Product Review


Posted 21st of Nov 2017

A fabulous trip. Wonderful experience being part of a small group touring a truly amazing country. Sami, our guide, was fantastic - superb knowledge, delivered in a fun and relaxed style. A really outstanding, memorable trip.

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