From trekking through the desert, to camping under starry skies and exploring the sights of ancient Petra, this hiking challenge is not to be missed.
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This unique trekking adventure starts in the village of Dana, which sits within a nature reserve, with mountains, valleys and desert – a strikingly colourful scene. On the route you’ll:
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Fly from London to Amman. Arrive and transfer to hotel in the centre of town. Night hotel.
After an early breakfast and detailed trip briefing, we drive south to the small village of Dana. The village lies within a diverse nature reserve, with mountains, valleys and desert. Our trek starts from the village, where we begin our descent along a twisting track to the desert floor (approx. 250m above sea level). We pass through different eco-systems with a variety of flora and fauna, eventually reaching our campsite on the desert floor next to the ruins of Feinan, an ancient Byzantine church dating back to 4000 BC. Night camp.
Drive approx. 3 hours. Trek approx. 7 – 8 hours / 13 km
We wake early and after a good breakfast, load up the equipment and set off on our day’s trek. Our route takes us across hamada, rough stony desert, with beautiful jagged mountains rising to 1400m to the east. The morning’s route takes us around several small hills before we head out into open desert towards Wadi Barwaz, which lies at the foot of the mountains, for lunch. Wadi is the name given to a dried-up river bed, a regular feature in this dry landscape. After lunch and a brief rest we head south-west into the desert. We gradually descend towards Wadi Araba, first crossing hamada and then an area of small sand dunes. The views are awe-inspiring and we gain a true sense of the wonderful desert landscape, but it is hard-going at times and hot work. We camp again under amazingly clear, starry night skies. Night camp.
Trek approx. 8 – 9 hours / 18 km
Today we leave the flat hamada behind and head into the mountains, where we hope to be met with shade and a welcome breeze. A gradual ascent across stony desert brings us to the foot of the mountains, and from here a steeper ascent across small boulders and rocks brings us to a steep and twisty track. We follow this high into the mountains: a particularly challenging section. This is a remote but beautiful region with spectacular views into the desert. After a break for lunch, we continue up the steep climb, with breath-taking views into the heart of these stunning mountains. We then follow a steep, narrow track which winds its way down to the river valley. The scenery constantly changes as we climb and descend, surrounded by dramatic red cliffs and rocks. A short and well-earned flat section takes us through the beautiful Sakakin canyon before a more gradual ascent to camp above the river. Night camp.
Trek approx. 8 – 9 hours / 14 km
We leave camp behind us and enjoy a pleasant walk back through the Sakakin canyon. Our route then becomes tougher as we gradually climb back up into the mountains. This trail is used by the Bedouin as they move their animals from the desert to the higher and cooler regions for the summer. The views are magnificent. Our route is tough, with some steep climbs and rocky descents as we trek around the mountainsides, but the rewards are superb. Eventually we climb up to a pass, where we have tremendous views across the rounded moonscape-like rocks and cliffs, and the desert beyond. We descend to the river valley and continue among incredible eroded rock formations to Shkaret Msei’d, where we camp in a near a Nabatean wine press. This is a tough but outstanding day in some challenging terrain. Night camp.
Trek approx. 8 – 9 hours / 18 km
After another night under the stars, we head downhill from the mountains into hills and the desert landscapes surrounding the ancient site of Little Petra. Our route follows a bendy path which is at times relatively gentle and easy-going underfoot, though there are some steep, rocky sections. We emerge from a narrow canyon into sand-dunes, crossing them between eroded cliffs, we arrive amongst temples and sandstone formations of the site itself. These ruins are some of the oldest in the Middle East, dating back 9000 years. We tour the site before continuing to weave our way through the rocky valleys to the permanent camp set amongst the rock formations which is our home for tonight – with showers, electricity and proper beds in cabin-like tents, this feels like a well-earned luxury. Night camp.
Trek approx. 8 hours / 16 km
Today is what we have all been waiting for: the trek into Petra itself. The huge tombs and buildings of Petra, carved out of the rock, are testament to the one-time wealth of the ancient capital of the Nabateans, which provided refuge to caravans of traders crossing the deserts. Our little-trodden route takes us up through a rocky canyon and along series of steps, with
spectacular views once more, before trekking around the mountainside and through sandy desert. We finally see the Monastery, an impressive carved building standing 43m high and 50m wide, and one of the highlights of Petra. We continue on our guided trek to the centre of Petra, descending roughly 800 rock-hewn steps, and admiring the incredible ruins and tombs, before arriving at the Treasury, the most famous and impressive sight at Petra. We then walk out through the famous narrow As-Siq to the conventional entrance, where our waiting transport takes us off to the Dead Sea coast for two nights of relaxation! Night hotel.
Trek approx. 7 hours / 18 km. Drive approx. 4 hours
(Dinner not included)
A full day to relax and enjoy the scenic Dead Sea coast. The Dead Sea is at least 8 times saltier than the ocean, and having a relaxing float in the salty waters is too good an opportunity to miss! We meet up again in the evening for a big celebration to mark our achievements. Night hotel.
(Lunch and Dinner not included)
Drive to Amman (approx. 1 hour) for our return flight back to London.
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
"I loved the camaraderie in the group and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people."
Team Macmillan Hiker 2017
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