Arrive Amman, Jordan
Arrive in Amman, and check in to your exclusive luxury hotel set amid landscapes made famous by Lawrence of Arabia.
Amman | History & the Hejaz Railway
Set out for an early morning ride on the Hejaz Railway, the focus of Lawrence’s daring guerrilla campaign. Next, drive to the Greco-Roman city of Jerash, pausing for lunch. Return to Amman for an insightful city tour of this vibrant capital, capping your evening off with a festive welcome dinner.
Desert Castles | Mighty Structures
See the Qasr el-Kharaneah, purportedly used as a caravansary; the frescoed Qasr Amra, a World War I headquarters of Sheriff Hussein and T.E. Lawrence; and Qal’at el-Azraq, which Lawrence used as a military base during the Arab Revolt against the Turks in 1917. Then, visit the ruins of Umm el-Jimal, where Lawrence staged his first attack on the Ottoman stronghold of Damascus in 1918.
Madaba | Marvelous Mosaics
Drive the Kings Highway, an ancient frankincense route of pilgrims and prophets. Arrive at Mount Nebo, where Moses glimpsed the Holy Land he would never enter. Take in views of Jordan, the Dead Sea and Israel, continuing on to see the Byzantine mosaics of Madaba. At the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, examine a sixth-century map of Jerusalem. Prepare an evening meal with a local chef during an authentic Chef’s Table experience.
Petra | The “Rose-Red” City
Explore Petra, the once-thriving capital carved into red rock. It was conquered by the Romans, later abandoned by all but the Bedouins and lost to Westerners until 1812. Pass through the Siq to the Treasury, Temple of the Winged Lions and the Palace Tomb. This evening, enjoy a leisurely dinner at your hotel.
Wadi Rum | Valley of the Moon
Discover Little Petra, once inhabited by the Nabataeans. After seeing its tombs, cisterns and channels, continue to Wadi Rum, also known as the “Valley of the Moon.” This otherworldly landscape was the setting for the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia and the location where T.E. Lawrence lived with his Bedouin allies. Take to the desert by 4x4 vehicle alongside a native Bedouin guide, and explore a seemingly endless maze of narrow valleys and gorges. Then saddle up for a camel ride and admire the towering sandstone peaks, brilliantly illuminated in the soft light at sunset. You are then treated to zarb, a local Bedouin form of barbecue where chicken, lamb and vegetables are cooked in an underground pit. After dinner, depart for your hotel in Aqaba on the shores of the Red Sea.
Aqaba | Sunset Cruise
Enjoy the morning at leisure on the relaxing shores of the Red Sea, with opportunities to scuba dive or snorkel if you so choose. Spend the afternoon exploring Aqaba with your guide. Poised at the trade routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, this pivotal battleground witnessed fierce fighting between Lawrence’s Arab allies and the Turks in 1916-17. Imagine the battles as they unfolded, touring a fortress and a castle that both bore witness to daring camel charges during the conflict. Visit Aqaba Archaeological Museum for a close look at regional antiquities. Later in the evening, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Red Sea, enjoying dinner and views of Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Dead Sea | Journey to the Lowest Place on Earth
The morning is yours to partake of the amenities available at your resort. Later, you are driven along the Jordan Rift Valley to the Dead Sea, earth’s lowest point at 1,400 feet below sea level. Offering a high content of minerals and salts, its water possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and the mud on its shores has been used for therapeutic purposes for over 2,000 years.
Dead Sea | Bethany Beyond the Jordan
After breakfast, proceed to nearby Bethany Beyond the Jordan, considered to be the location of the baptism of Jesus. Archaeologists at Bethany have uncovered a settlement from the 1st century AD that includes plastered pools and water systems almost certainly used for mass baptisms, as well as a fifth-to-sixth-century Byzantine settlement with churches, a monastery and other structures most probably catering to religious pilgrims. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. This evening, gather with fellow guests at a farewell dinner.
Transfer to the airport and board your flight home.
Program Note: This journey entails widely varying temperatures, active elements and lodging in a basic camp in Wadi Rum.