Walking holiday in Jordan

“An eight day, expertly guided, walking holiday in Jordan's Wadi Rum valley, exploring the ancient city of Petra, floating in the Dead Sea and staying in a private Bedouin camp.”


Amman | Trekking in Wadi Rum | Seven Pillars Mountains | Bedouin camp | Petra | Camel ride | Little Petra | King's Highway | Crusader Castle of Kerak | Madaba | Mount Nebo | Dead Sea | Jerash

Description of Walking holiday in Jordan

Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia as you set off through the vast and echoing Wadi Rum valley, exploring this beautiful desert wilderness away from the crowds. Our walks will lead us to some of the most spectacular sights in Jordan, including the imposing Seven Pillars of Wisdom Mountain. We will trace the age-old spice trails of early Nabatean traders, who once carried precious silks and perfumes along this route, with the chance to explore the canyon corridors on camel back.

The highlight of the trip is a tour of the city of Petra, an archaeological wonder carved into the sheer rock of the canyon walls. We’ll spend two days exploring this ‘Rose Red City’, hiking along its least-visited trails and visiting the Monastery, Alhabes Castle, the main tombs and the Nabatean Temple. In the evening, you’ll experience the real warmth of the desert, thanks to the hospitality of the Bedouin people, and sleep beneath the star speckled sky in a traditional goat hair tent. There will be the option to return to Petra after sunset, for an enchanting candlelit tour of the city at night.

From here, we’ll continue north along the King’s Highway to Kerak Castle and the ancient Christian city of Madaba, famous for its magnificent mosaics. After a week of walking, you’ll be relieved to rest your feet with a relaxing float in the Dead Sea, before we end our trip in the ruined city of Jerash, one of the best preserved Roman sites in the world.

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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The Wadi Rum Desert was named a protected area in 1998, this ensure the continued conservation and management of the unique cultural history and natural beauty of this area, protecting it from human development but also providing an important source of tourism to local economy.

We walk through the Wadi Rum Desert and experience traditional Bedouin living, sleeping in a large communal style goat hair tent, which provides the best protection against typical desert extremes of hot and cold weather. The tent is laid out with rugs, mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags and this is where each tribe would commune to eat, sleep and socialise.

Travelling on foot we follow an ancient route across the desert and into Petra. Exploring on foot not only reduces the number of vehicles around the historical sights but accompanied by our expert local Tour Leader you’ll also discover hidden treasures. Our Tour Leaders are recruited locally and are trained by us in the importance of responsible tourism with guidance given on how they can make a difference.

Conservation of water is actively promoted in Jordan. We work closely with our local suppliers to see how we can help them save water in the fragile desert environment. As there is no recycling in this area our clients are encouraged to carry water purification filters and water bottles.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

The Impacts of this Trip

All accommodation that we stay in is locally owned and this not only provides direct employment within the hotel, but also has the effect of distributing money beyond to small businesses that supply the hotel and in this way money is spread throughout the region we visit.

The money generated by tourism in this area goes to support the local Bedouin and reinforces amongst the local people the importance of protecting this unique area. The communities living in and around Wadi Rum are of Bedouin origin, welcoming and hospitable they reply on tourism and are responsible for helping to develop Wadi Run as a tourist destination in a sustainable way, ensure that the culture and traditions live on.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.


3 Reviews of Walking holiday in Jordan

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 04 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The desert at night, and Petra by both day and night. The friendly people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Desert weather is variable and can be extreme. Pack for all conditions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, all the people employed were locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Reviewed on 12 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The two days in Petra. It was good to have approx half day guided tour and 1.5 days free and easy.
Camel ride in Wadi Rum.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do NOT bother with the Turkish bath in Petra - it felt more like an assembly line car wash than relaxation after two days of heavy duty walking!! Also, it
was a much more unisex affair than what we were told. And they only take Visa and charge 2%.
Pretty much everything works on cash rather than credit card so make sure you plan accordingly.
Edom hotel in Petra charges for wifi in the room. It is free to use in the lobby.
In Edom hotel in Petra, there are several steps to climb before you get to the elevator.
The boat for the optional boat ride in Aqaba was designed for a group of 6-8 and we were 13 of us. This happened due to a cock up with the boat company.
There was little room to move around which didn't feel like a relaxing ride. Particularly frustrating if you are not into snorkelling.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not particularly. Hopefully spending money on food and activities helped the local people. Don't think I did anything for the environment or conversations.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall it was a good holiday but equally there is a lot of room for improvement. See below for details:
1)Generally a well organised tour and most trips/activities were on time and as per itinerary (apart from a couple, see details in the NEGATIVE section
2)Good itinerary - one of the few tours that offers two days in Petra which is a must. Also, the other activities didn't feel too hectic which was good (apart
from the 7.30am camel ride because of a double booking issue!).
3)Tour leader was very helpful - he kindly dropped us at a restaurant for dinner in Amman on the night before the tour started.
4)Toledo hotel staff were brilliant on all fronts. One of the best service I have experienced in all my travels. I requested for my room to be changed from
twin to double which they did immediately and also organised a suite on my last night. The staff at breakfast were also very attentive. I would give them 5
out of 5 for everything.
5)Days Inn hotel was very nice

1) During the briefing on the first day of the tour, the tour leader proposed that around JD20 would be collected upfront for a central tips fund and the
money would be used towards tips for activities where all the members were participating. I thought it was very odd to have to cough up money before the
tour had even started and the whole idea just seemed like a programme to guarantee tips. Also, as it was the first day and I did not know the tour leader or
the other group members very well, I felt like I didn't really have the option to disagree with this scheme. One does not budget for this when planning on
how much cash to carry and hence it was inconvenient from a cash in hand point of view. Plus I still had to pay for tips which didn't involve the full group. At
the end of the trip, there was a small amount left over and it was not very convenient to have to find change in order to pay out 15 people. All of this was
done by the tour members rather than the tour leader. I think it would have been far more straightforward for each individual to pay tips on his/her own
2)Edom hotel left a lot to be desired. There was a charge for wifi in the room which we were not told about. One of the two lifts was closed for maintenance
and this should have been highlighted by them to the tour company and in turn to the customers. With a large number of tours arriving at the same time,
there was a 20 minute wait to get into the elevator upon arrival. To add to it, there were several steps to climb to get to the only operating lift which made it
further frustrating with luggage. The rooms in the hotel could do with an update.
3)The Turkish bath option in Petra was a shocker and total waste of 20JD. I would not recommend it to anyone. Firstly, the tour leader told us they accepted
cards but they only accepted Visa and charged 2% for it. The bath facility was 1 star, the scrub was less than 5 minutes; the whole process of steam to scrub
to massage to shower felt like an assembly line activity rather than relaxation of any sort. We were not told that a male would be doing the scrub for
women. We were told that there will be a private room for women for the massage part of the bath but it was not really private as one had to pass through
the men section to go the ladies section. Very forgettable experience!!
4)Day 7 - from Petra to Wadi Rum - was not as per the itinerary and was not very well planned. The itinerary says we would arrive in Wadi Rum in the
morning and the camel ride option was available in the afternoon. We did not arrive in Wadi Rum till 2pm - thanks in part due to some double booking
issue with the bus. As a result of which the two hour drive in the jeep didn't finish till 4.30pm and the camel ride had to be done at 7.30am the next day. This
early start was very undesirable and totally down to planning issues. There was also a 20 minute stop at a souvenir/coffee shop with a viewing point which
was not in the itinerary and seemed unnecessary as it was taken barely into one hour of driving and only seemed to further delay the arrival in Wadi Rum.
5)The boat tour in Aqaba was disappointing. It seemed to have been booked very last minute and a boat for 6-8 people was given for a group of 13. This
should have been a relaxing experience, but it just felt very crammed as there was just enough room for 13 people to sit on a chair and have all the
luggage/belongings touching you. Got even worse when some of them needed to get into the water for snorkelling. For people like me who were not
snorkelling, we just had to sit crammed in a corner. After some conversation with the tour leader he got us a 5 JD discount on the trip, but that doesn't really
make any difference to the experience itself and I felt cheated to have had to pay at all. Particularly as there was no option of staying back - we arrived in
Aqaba at 10.30 am and there was no hotel room available till 2pm and hence there was nothing else to do but to get on that crammed boat.
5)While the tour leader was a very well meaning and good hearted person, I expected much more in terms of information and commentary about Jordan.
The information he gave was very much limited to the sites we visited which is not what I have experienced on other tours. During the journeys -
particularly the long ones on day 3 and day 9 - there was no commentary at all. In fact the tour leader seemed to spend all his time on his mobile.
6)Every other tour operator I have used has given some sort of souvenir either at the beginning or at the end of the tour. I had nothing from Explore which
was a bit surprising. Doesn't have to be big - a water bottle, a kitchen magnet, the Arabic scarf etc. You would expect that Explore wants customers to
remember them and return.

1)Tour bus should have charging points and Wifi
2)Turkish Bath in Petra - please look for a better facility!!!And it should be made adequately clear that nearly all of it is unisex, they only take Visa and
charge 2% on it.
3)The Wadi Rum jeep tour should be longer. This would be helpful for people who do not want to do the optional camel tour.
4)Aqaba activities need to be better planned and planned in advance.
5)There should be some souvenir given to the tour members upon arrival to make them feel welcome - perhaps the Arabic scarf that could be used
throughout the trip.
6)This survey form could do with a bit of restructuring! There should be a more specific question/section for constructive feedback and suggestions. It
appears to avoid any questions that categorically asks for anything negative!

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Marjan, thank you for your feedback. I was pleased to see you enjoyed your time in Petra. Please be assured there was no issue with your boat booking, this aspect of the trip is optional so, like the baths, is booked on the day. These are independent excursions outside of your booking with us.

We mention in our trip paperwork why we use a tips kitty and how much it will be, so I am sorry you were not aware this would be an aspect of the trip. I am pleased we had the opportunity to discuss all the other features - such as accommodation/boats in line with your expectations. I am glad we were able to clear up some aspects which we don’t provide as part of the trip or rearranged at the groups request.

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Petra was much larger and more spectacular than I'd expected. The walking was excellent, and the people interesting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Gosh, where to start... I was the only person who hadn't already done a similar holiday, so was looking for information myself, which was hard to find. A few comments: 1. Jordan is dry, no alcohol, any one who tells you otherwise is wrong. We found one restaurant on one evening, but essentially forget alcohol. 2. Take wet wipes, 4 nights in a tent... take decent pyjamas, a head torch, sleeping bag liner, and ideally your favourite pillow, it makes a big difference.
3. If possible, pack snacks, the experts all had their favourite no chocolate, so not melting, protein bar type snacks or nuts. 4. Drink loads of bottled water. 5. Take loads of photos, then pool them with the group. 6. Take a kindle or iPad, it's hard to read a book in the dark, take a battery charger. 7. Sunblock, hat, scarf, long trousers, loads of t shirts and underwear, you'll need often more
than one set a day and there is no chance of washing them. 8. You will be with other people 24/7. Accept it, there's no getting away, no private space or
time. You all sleep in the same tent. 9. The guide is brilliant, but he will get tired too, again, accept it and keep smiling. 10. I downloaded the Times whenever we found free wifi. It gave me loads to read on the bus journeys, 5 hours on the first and last day. Well, that's my starter of comments. It was worth it, I'd go again, preferably with running water.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, our guide was very intune with both locals and the environment and made efforts to support local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Generally excellent. I would possibly change the Petra campsite from basic to primative. I couldn't see why we had to have a chemical loo when other nearby camps had running water. It seemed an affectation rather than a requirement.

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