Jordan & Oman: Trails of The Caliphs

From trekkers to history buffs, this journey presents unique opportunities, viewpoints and cultural encounters.

Country Information

Jordan

Jordan & Oman: Trails of The Caliphs Inspired Expeditions

(Countries Visited)

Jordan


(Interest Type(s))

Adventure Travel

,

Recommended


(Tour Length)

16 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $9,390

“Both Jordan and Oman offer fantastic trekking opportunities with viewpoints and cultural experiences you simply cannot experience on a standard tour.  In Jordan, you come upon Petra from the northern valley during a three-to four-hour walk, where you have bird’s eye views of the seldom-visited Monastery (Ad-Deir).  In Oman, you hike through traditional Arab villages set in the dramatic scenery of both the Wadi Shab and Jebel Akhdar.  You encounter welcoming people and savor world-class accommodations.  And, you will go home with prize pictures and memories of vistas seldom seen by even the most savvy traveler.”  Ashish Sanghrajka, President

  • Enjoy several opportunities during this journey to hike through a variety of terrain and landscapes
  • Take in Jordan’s phenomenal, 2,000-year-old Rose City of Petra
  • Discover Jerash, the Roman city of Gerasa, which has some of the finest, most extensive and well-preserved remains of the former empire to be found anywhere
  • Explore the capital of Jordan, Amman, also known in history as Rabat and in Greco-Roman times as Philadelphia; and Oman’s capital of Muscat, known since the early 1st century AD as an important trading port
  • Visit historic fishing villages along Oman’s coast and biblical sites such as the hilltop believed to be the site of the execution of John the Baptist

 

 

Day 1:  Arrive Amman, Jordan
Welcome to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan!  Upon arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  The remainder of the day is at your leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Amman – Deluxe Room

Day 2:  Amman – Jerash / Ajlun (Roe Deer Trail)
This morning you will leave the hotel and then transfer to visit Jerash, the Roman city of Gerasa.  Jerash displays some of the finest, most extensive and well-preserved remains of the former empire to be found anywhere.  The colonnaded streets, temples, theatres, bathhouses and magnificent oval plaza are complemented by the superbly restored hippodrome, which in Roman times seated up to fifteen thousand people.  Your next stop is Ajlun Castle, known today as Qalat ar-Rabad, which dominates the landscape from many kilometers away.  It is one of the best-preserved medieval fortified structures in Jordan, and from its height above sea level of 1,250 meters, it furnishes spectacular views over the valley of the Jordan Rriver, all the way into Israel.  Built by the Arabs of the Ayyubid Dynasty around 1185 AD and conquered and destroyed by the Mongols in 1260, the fortress was immediately rebuilt and enlarged by Mamluke Sultan Baibars.  The castle was once surrounded by a broad moat with a drawbridge, now replaced with a boardwalk.  After a series of U-bend entrances and various gateways set into the towers, a steep ramp leads to the upper redoubt, the best viewing area.  Some of the most interesting rooms include casemates and arrow slits with rooms covered with cross or barrel vaulting.  After touring the castle you will continue to the Roe Deer short circular trail in the Ajlun Nature Reserve.  The total hike is less than one hour.  The trail starts at the campsite and offers nice views over the Reserve.  Not far from the campsite you will find an old stone wine press.  Before you return to the visitor center you may be lucky enough to see the roe deer early in the morning.  (Please note that this trail is open from the 1st April until the 31st of October).  After your hike you will then transfer to your hotel in Amman where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Amman – Deluxe Room (B,L)

Day 3:  Amman / Madaba / Mount Nebo / Petra
This morning you will leave the hotel and begin your tour of the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, known in history as Rabat and in Greco-Roman times as Philadelphia.  No more than four hours drive from anywhere in the country, Amman is a convenient base for any tour within the Kingdom.  Your hosts, the Jordanians, are wonderfully gracious and welcoming and most will surprise you with their excellent English.  The city is crowned by the Citadel, a hill with the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, and a museum with artifacts dating back to the earliest settlement in the region some 700,000 years ago.  At the foot of the Citadel lies the 5,000 seats Roman Theater.  Then you will drive to south of Amman along the 5,000 years old King’s Highway (one of the most memorable journeys in the Holy Land), passing through a string of ancient sites.  The first city along the way from the north is Madaba, "the City of Mosaics" which has been intermittently inhabited for nearly 3,500 years.  The chief attraction in this city is a wonderfully vivid, six-century Byzantine mosaic map showing Jerusalem and other holy sites.  There are also literally hundreds of other mosaics scattered throughout Madaba's churches and homes.  Ten minutes to the west is Mount Nebo, the memorial of Moses, and the presumed site of the prophet's death and burial place.  From a platform in front of the church one can enjoy a breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.  Continue to Petra where you will check into your hotel for the night.  Movenpick Resort Petra – Junior Suite (B,L)

Day 4:  Petra
After breakfast you will leave the hotel and drive to Little Petra, where you will set out on a walk  (between 3-4 hours) through Beidha Road where you will join your local guide.  Then you will arrive at the Monastery (Ad-Deir).  Although it may have been later used as a church, it was probably originally a temple. It may have been dedicated to the deified Nabatean king, Obodas I, who reigned in the 1st century BC.  The Monastery is similar to design to the Treasury, but it is much larger (50 meters high x 45 meters wide) and much less decorated.  The facade is flat on the lower level and deeply carved on the upper level, with engaged columns and two half-pediments flanking a central urn (10 meters high).  The Monastery is an hour's climb northwest of the city center on an ancient rock-cut path of about 800 steps.  The path begins behind the Basin Restaurant and Nabatean Museum.  It may sound daunting, but there are plenty of places to rest, and donkeys available to rent.  Two-thirds up is a peaceful spring, and there are various other minor points of interest along the way, such as the Lion Triclinium.  The best time to climb to the monastery is in the afternoon, when the path is mostly in shade and the sun is shining on the Monastery's façade.  You will then drive to the red city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans, an industrious Arab people who settled in south Jordan more than 2,000 years ago.  Much of Petra's appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge.  From the main entrance, you proceed on foot through the awesome "Siq", an immense crack in the sandstone that winds for one kilometer between overhanging cliffs.  Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury (Al-Khazneh), appears dramatically at the end of the Siq and various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, facades, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples and a 3,000 seat theater from the 1st Century AD.  Movenpick Resort Petra – Junior Suite (B,L)

Day 5:  Petra / Wadi Rum / Feynan
After breakfast, leave the hotel and then transfer to Wadi Rum.  The uniquely shaped massive mountains rise vertically out of the pink desert sand, which separate one dark mass from another in magnificent desert scenery of strange breathtaking beauty, with towering cliffs of weathered stone.  The faces of the sheer rock cliffs have been eroded by the wind into faces of men, animals and monsters.  Wadi Rum is probably best known because of its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and as the setting for the film that carried his name "Lawrence of Arabia".  Everywhere in this moonscape place are indications of man's presence since the earliest known times.  The valley floors are some 900-1000 meters above sea level, and the great sandstone crags rise sheer, a further 500-550 meters.  Jabal Rum is the highest peak in the area and the 2nd highest in Jordan.  Others are some 27 kilometers north of the Rum village like Jabal Kharaz and Jabal Burdah with its Rock Bridge which is one of Wadi Rum's most popular attractions.  After the tour you will transfer to Feynan Ecolodge for dinner and overnight.  Deep in the heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve, at the end of a rugged track, an idyllic candle-lit lodge rests in the magnificent Wadi Feynan.  Here, set against the glorious desert landscape, guests staying at the 26-room lodge can be found adventuring through the untouched outdoors, sipping mint tea with the native Bedouin, exploring local archaeological sites or simply unwinding in the serene courtyards and terraces of the candle-lit complex; safe in the knowledge that they are vacationing in a socially and environmentally-responsible way.  Hailed as one of the top fifty eco-lodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure magazine, the solar powered Feynan Ecolodge offers the most developed eco-experience in Jordan.  This is an experience made possible by a unique partnership between EcoHotels and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, a Jordanian NGO devoted to the protection of the Kingdom’s finest natural landscapes.  Feynan Ecolodge (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Feynan – Dana Nature Reserve
Today, you will embark on a day-long, 14 kilometer guided journey that will satisfy all your senses.  Start from the Feynan Ecolodge at 325 meters above sea level and adventure up through the beautiful Dana Biosphere Reserve to the Dana Guesthouse at 1,200 meters.  Cross paths and exchange warm greetings with local Bedouin tending their goats or stop to rest and enjoy sweet tea.  Experience the different bio-geological zones of Dana and keep an eye out for the many rare forms of flora and fauna to be found here such as the Nubian ibex.  Upon arrival at the Dana Guesthouse, you will be transferred back to Feynan Ecolodge where you will have dinner.  Feynan Ecolodge (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Feynan / Sanctuary of Lot / Karak / Mukawir / Ma’in
After breakfast, you will leave the hotel and then transfer to Sanctuary of Lot.  The recent archaeological excavations in Ghor es-Safi have identified the Sanctuary of Agios Lot depicted on the Madaba map as the site of Deir 'Ain 'Abata.  On the basis of this discovery a reassessment of the topography of the southeastern Dead Sea shore is necessary.  Additional new surveys and surface collections have confirmed the location of the city of Zoara and suggest a more probable course for the Zared River.  The site of Deir 'Ain 'Abata was first recorded in 1986 during the Southern Ghors and Northern 'Arabah Survey as site no. 46 (MacDonald 1992: 253-254).  The evidence from the surface was strong enough to suggest that a Byzantine monastic complex once existed there (MacDonald and Politis 1988: 292-291).  The clear importance of the site spurred an excavation project that began in 1988 and continued until 1996.  Then, you will transfer to Karak, now the site of a flourishing town that is known for the imposing fort.  It was erected in the first half of the 12th century by the Crusaders, who were eventually conquered by the Arabs.  This spectacular fortress is located at an altitude of 1,000 meters in a dominating position where the ancient capital of the Moabite kingdom (cited in the Bible) had once stood.  Continue north to Mukawir.  This dramatic hilltop is the traditional site of the execution of John the Baptist.  It lies less than 20 kilometers southwest of Madaba at the King's Highway on a stark promontory (720 meters), overlooking the Dead Sea and protected on three sides by deep ravines.  After your tour of Mukawir, you will transfer to Ma’in where you will check into your deluxe accommodations upon arrival.  Lying 264-meters below sea level, Ma’In Hot Springs is the inspired site for the well appointed Evason Ma’In Hot Springs.  Set like an oasis in the dramatic terrain, the location is easily accessible and defines the resort and spa experience in the Middle East - making it a destination of choice for those seeking the perfect retreat to relax and be pampered whilst enjoying the therapeutic benefits of Ma’In hot spring waterfalls.  Evason Ma’in Hot Springs – Evason Room (B,L)

Day 8:  Ma’in / Wadi Mujib / Amman
This morning you will leave the hotel and then transfer to Malaqi trail in Wadi Mujib.  You will enjoy a guided hike that is about 6 to 8 hours.  This trail is open from April 1st to October 31st.  This is an exciting water trail.  It starts at the visitor center and follows the same route into the nature reserve as other trails.  It leads quickly to a striking area of creamy-white hills made of soft rock deposits.  After passing through these hills, you begin your descent to the river Mujib, which is crystal clear, fast flowing and teeming with life.  Small fish are plentiful, as well as frogs.  Bright kingfishers are often seen speeding along the river channel, as well as circling birds of prey.  Dense vegetation lines the riversides, making a stark contrast to the arid, naked mountains that surround you.  The hike continues upstream along in the river to its confluence with the Hidan River (Malagi area).  Here you can linger, eat a picnic and just enjoy this wild paradise.  You can also enjoy swimming in the natural pools.  You then move on through the Mujib gorge to descend a waterfall, 20 meters in height, using ropes.  From here you continue along the rest of the river, and return back to the visitor center.  After the end of the tour you will transfer to Amman for the evening.  *Please note that the Malaqi Traill is only operational on certain times of the year, so you can always substitute it with another trail accordingly.   Four Seasons Hotel Amman – Deluxe Room (B,L)

Day 9:  Amman / Muscat, Oman
This morning, you will transfer to Queen Alia International Airport where you will board your flight to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.  Upon arrival in Oman, a Plaza Lounge representative will be waiting for you before the Immigration area and will take you the Lounge, where you enjoy Omani hospitality.  Hot or cold refreshments are served and the lounge executive completes the Immigration formalities.  (If you have any problems in finding the Lounge representative, please head to the Lounge located in the entrance area of the terminal and the Lounge staff will help you with the Visa)  After collecting your baggage, you will be met by your Big Five representative and privately transferred to your accommodation, which is a drive of approximately 20 minutes.  The Chedi Muscat – Chedi Club Suite (B)

Day 10:  Muscat
After a leisurely breakfast, enjoy a private tour of Muscat, which lies in a natural volcanic bowl.  First, take in the Grand Mosque (open for tourist from 9-11:00 AM except Thursdays and Fridays), the most exquisite Mosque in Oman.  The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidate
areas and landscaping, covers 416,000 square meters.  The Mosque complex (covering 40,000 square meters) is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level.

Dress code – Women should wear attire covering fully their arms and legs with their heads covered by a scarf.  Men should wear normal clothes.

Your visit of Bait Al Zubair Museum is a brief introduction that traces Oman’s history and development.  Drive along the waterfront Corniche visiting the bustling Muttrah Souq.  You see that magnificent Al Alam Palace, official palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos flanked.  After your tour you will transfer to your hotel where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.  The Chedi Muscat – Chedi Club Suite (B)

Day 11:  Muscat – Quriyat / Bimah Sinkhole / Wadi Shab
Today, your full-day tour explores Oman’s scenic beauty.  The tour starts with a visit to Quriyat, a quaint fishing village.  The drive along the coast offers tantalizing glimpses of the sea.  Your next stop is at the Bimah Sinkhole, a limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom.  Proceed to the pretty Wadi Shab.  For those inclined, it is possible to walk right up to the source of the Wadi through lush green plantations of lemon, banana and dates.  The fairly easy walk on a rocky path is dotted with pools and waterfalls.  Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.  Enjoy a picnic lunch in these serene surroundings.  On the return, have a photo stop at the ruins of Bibi Miriam’s Tomb.
The Chedi Muscat – Chedi Club Suite (B,L)

Day 12:  Muscat – Nizwa / Jebel Akhdar
This morning, you will depart from Muscat and proceed to visit Nizwa.  Upon arrival, you will visit the Nizwa Round Tower Fort and the Nizwa Souk.  Drive to the pretty village of Birkat Al Mauz.  Enjoy a walk through the lush green date plantations.  You proceed to Wadi Al Madeen where there is a check post.  From here a 36 kilometer stretch of winding road takes one to Jebel Akhdar (2,000 meters above sea level), the green jewel of the Al Hajjar mountain ranges, and a truly unique spot in the Arabian Peninsula.  Enjoy the cool climate up in the mountains.  Jebel Akhdar is famed for its fruit orchards typically laid out terrace style along the slopes of mountains, which are endowed with natural springs and aflaj.  The villages of Saiq, Wadi Bani Habib and Al Ain dot the landscape.  The villages overlook a spectacular landscape of dramatic peaks, gorges and wadis.  The roses of Jebel Akhdar fill the air with fragrance when in full bloom (March / April).  Rose water is distilled in the homes of the villagers.  It is advisable to wear light comfortable clothing and walking shoes.  The Chedi Muscat – Chedi Club Suite (B,L)

Day 13:  Muscat / Salalah
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Salalah.  Upon arrival in Salalah you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.  Oman's second city, Salalah, is situated along the coast line of the Indian Ocean.  From here, you explore the villages and archaeological sites of southern Oman.  The archaeological ruins of Al-Balid, site of the ancient city of Zafar, lie about 5km east of Salalah.  Zafar was an active trading port in the 11th and 12th centuries.  Hilton Salalah Resort – Sea View Room with Balcony (B)

Day 14:  Salalah – Taqa / Khor Rori Creek / Mirbat / Job’s Tomb / Mughsail Beach
Today you have a magnificent full-day exploration of the area outside Salalah.  Visit the fishing village of Taqa, an old town with an interesting castle surrounded by watchtowers and Taqa stone houses.  Proceed onward to Khor Rori Creek, the site of the ruined city of Samhuram and capital of ancient Arabia’s frankincense trade.  Excavations have produced evidence of an ancient city with trade links by sea to Far Eastern destinations and with even distant Greece.  Mirbat, the ancient capital of Dhofar, was an important town as early as the 9th century for its trade in frankincense, horses and slaves.  View the old houses famous for their woodcarvings, and you may see fishing boats returning with their catch.  One of Dhofar’s best-known historic sites is the tomb of Mohamed bin Ali’s Tomb who died in 1135 AD.  The twin domed structure is a fine example of medieval architecture.  Return via Ayn Razat, (Thursday-Friday, only) manicured gardens fed by natural underground springs.  After lunch, you will visit the Biblical “Nabi Ayoub” Prophet Job’s Tomb, perched high up in the Jebels, mountains.  En route are spectacular views of the plains, mountain landscape and emerald green pastureland.  Proceed to Mughsail Beach where “blow-holes” in the limestone rock shoot out sea water during high tide.  Experience the Hairpin Bend Roads, which will take you to a wadi.  The views are breathtaking due to heights involved.  This is the road that takes you to the Yemen border.  En route, the stark shape of leafless Frankincense Trees dot the landscape.  Once traded as a commodity more precious than gold, frankincense harvested in Dhofar is rated the best in the world.  Hilton Salalah Resort – Sea View Room with Balcony (B,L)

Day 15:  Salalah
After a leisurely breakfast, you will have a half-day tour of Salalah, the “garden city” of the south.  Visit a garden farm, with its groves of coconut, banana, papaya and vegetables.  View the ruins of old houses.  You will pause to see the beautiful Shanfari Mosque with its exquisite artwork and stained tiles.  Visit the site of Prophet Saleh’s Sacred Camel Footprint.  See the clear camel footprint on the rock.  Visit Al Husn Souq where frankincense crystals of Dhofar and typical Dhofari frankincense burners are sold.  Walk along the city’s promenade, where houses are dwarfed by tall, swaying palms.  Al Husn Palace, summer residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos stands at one end of the promenade.  Visit the Al Balid Museum located in the archaeological site (Saturday – Wednesday only).  Return to your hotel where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.  Hilton Salalah Resort – Sea View Room with Balcony (B,L)

Day 16:  Salalah / Muscat / Depart
Say goodbye to the Sultanate of Oman as you transfer to the airport in Salalah, where you will board your domestic flight to Muscat.  Upon arrival in Muscat you are met and assisted with check-in before you wait at the Plaza Lounge for your international flight home.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  $9390

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