Hosted by Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan
November 2 – 7, 2021$2,390
Africa is not only where man was born, but where the first human empires arose. Those remarkable civilizations are preserved seemingly forever in the greatest Stone Cities mankind ever built. Join Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan on a tour that starts in Jordan and ends in Egypt with luxurious Nile Cruise. A truly overwhelming trip of this magnificent region! This page details the tour and daily itinerary of Jordan before combining with a tour of Egypt.
Egypt and Jordan are today where amazing societies exploded, seemingly out of nowhere from the thousands of preceding years of loose bans of nomadic herdsmen. And as if recognizing their own greatness, these societies erected gargantuan monuments to themselves that dwarf anything left by subsequent more modern societies. Their greatest achievements were the Stone Cities of Thebes now Luxor (Egypt) and Petra (Jordan).
The tour starts on the shore of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea has an historical and spiritual legacy, believed to be the site of the five biblical cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar (Bela).
At 1400 feet below sea level and as recently as ten years ago nearly a thousand feet deep, the Dead Sea is both the lowest large lake in the world and the deepest salt one. Its salinity is ten times that of the ocean; hence the name since there are few living things that can survive in it. From time immemorial, however, the Sea has been favored as a health resort. Proponents of its health benefits point to Jordan’s high annual temperatures, low humidity and high atmospheric pressure which combine to provide an unusually high content of oxygen and magnesium in the air. Together with the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, Dead Sea water is considered to have anti‑inflammatory therapies. The dark mud found on its shores have been used for over 2000 years for these therapeutic purposes.
The tour continues into Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Petra covers an area of about 100 square kilometers (62 miles) with more than 800 separate archaeological sites. Also known as UNESCO’s ‘Rose City’ world heritage site, UNESCO considers it “one of the most precious properties of man’s cultural heritage.”
The ancient city was overseen by Nabatean Arabs between 800BC and 100AD as the entry point into Arabia from Persia and the rest of the known world when commerce was exchanged strictly by (mostly camel) caravans. The Greeks tried and failed to conquer the city, and the Romans finally conquered it in the first century. As high seas shipping slowly displaced caravan routes, the city’s importance gradually dwindled. It fell into disuse and was lost to the world until 1812 when it was re‑discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burkhart.
The last two nights are spent in mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve. In the glorious desert landscape, you will adventure through the untouched outdoors, sip sweet tea with the native Bedouin, or explore local archaeological sites.
You can choose to visit Egypt, Jordan or both:
|Egypt||7-16 November||$ 6,900||$ 8,085|
|Jordan||2 – 7 November||$ 2,390||$ 3,035|
Jim Heck and Kathleen Morgan own Explorers World Travel (EWT) having founded it 45 years ago. Their books, guide books, consulting and public speaking about their almost half‑century of travel adventures have earned them a revered reputation and created a legacy for EWT unmatched by any other small, personalized travel company.
Few people know Africa as well as Jim Heck. For more than 45 years he has worked, lived and guided in Africa. His popular blog, Africa-Answerman, includes investigative journalism of some of Africa’s most critical news stories as well as anecdotes and features of daily African life. His award-winning novel, Chasm Gorge, will soon be followed by a second one, Kidnapped in Nigeria. His companies have organized safaris into Africa for more than 10,000 visitors including most of the country’s major zoos and conservation organizations. And in 2016 he became the first American to be named an honorary senior elder by Kenya’s Maasai tribe.
Kathleen Morgan has taken this journey several times before, and once again returns with a small group of enthusiastic travelers to the fantastic places of man’s emergence from antiquity into empire.
Whether you choose both destinations or just one, EWT can make your airline reservations and give you advice if you plan to use frequent flyer awards. There are many options using a variety of airlines, but note that Royal Jordanian Airlines from Chicago or New York provides the quickest and usually least expensive option in both economy and business class. Other airlines through Europe often allow free stopovers in various European cities.reserve now
|Price||Single Supplement||under 12||12-16||local air|
The prices include:
** Jim Heck and Kathleen Morgan hosting the tour from start to finish;
** Professionally trained, English speaking driver/guides with each vehicle;
** Meals as detailed in brackets following each day's description below;
** All park entrance fees, VAT and other government taxes;
** Comprehensive pre trip material.
Additional expenses not included:
Meals not included;
All international, regional and local scheduled flights;
Requisite visas and other travel preparations like inoculations;
Tipping (Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan do not accept tips).
Those on the pretrip to Israel will arrive via the Allenby Bridge in the late afternoon. Those of you just starting in Jordan will arrive Amman, capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where a private service will assist you with your entry visa, guide you through immigration and on to baggage reclaim. Just outside the airport a private transfer vehicle will be waiting to take you to the Dead Sea where you’ll join the others.
The drive to the Dead Sea uses the highway belt south of the city. The time depends upon traffic and the time of day and can vary from 45 minutes to two hours.
At the Marriott Dead Sea Resort on the lakeshore you'll meet Jim and Kathleen and others as they arrive throughout the day and early evening.
The Dead Sea has an historical and spiritual legacy, believed to be the site of the five biblical cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar (Bela).
At 1400 feet below sea level and as recently as ten years ago nearly a thousand feet deep, the Dead Sea is both the lowest large lake in the world and the deepest salt one. Its salinity is ten times that of the ocean; hence the name since there are few living things that can survive in it. From time immemorial, however, the Sea has been favored as a health resort.
Proponents of its health benefits point to Jordan's high annual temperatures, low humidity and high atmospheric pressure which combine to provide an unusually high content of oxygen and magnesium in the air. Together with the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, Dead Sea water is considered to have anti‑inflammatory therapies. The dark mud found on its shores have been used for over 2000 years for these therapeutic purposes. The Marriott hotel offers such spa treatments.
Climate change is seriously effecting the Sea. Today it is roughly half the size it was a hundred years ago. Creative help may be on the way, however, as the government of Jordan moves forward with plans for substantial desalination plants positioned on the Red Sea with the by‑products transferred into the Dead Sea to stabilize its salinity and depth.[no-meals]
The day is free with a variety of options. You can decide to sit back and recover from your journey or pack the day with activities. The Sea is just a few footsteps away from the hotel's back steps and you can experience the "float" or explore the fascinating lake shore. The hotel specializes in the famous spa treatments derived from the Sea and its black magnesium mud. But there are many other options, with inexpensive taxis and Ubers always available:
** The Aero Sports Club is just up the Sea road where you can book microflights over the Sea and nearby desert. If you're particularly adventuresome they offer sky diving as well.
** Hot Springs abound in the area because of the Sea. The most famous is Hammamat Ma'in about a half hour on a spectacular winding mountain road from the hotel. This is a resort of its own but day‑trippers are allowed entrance and use of the facilities for a small fee.
** Less than a half hour down the lake is the Mujib Biosphere. This is probably Jordan's most important national park and includes its greatest biodiversity particularly at this time of the year. There are migratory birds, nine species of carnivore including the caracal and several rare desert cats, plus other rare creatures like the mountain ibex. It's unlikely these shy larger creatures will be seen on a half‑day trip which requires a good amount of hiking, but many of the 300 rare desert species of plants and dozens of migratory birds and raptors should be seen on short trails from the entrance.
Overnight at the Marriott Dead Sea Resort.[b]
We begin early! Checkout and breakfast behind us as we leave the hotel for a 45‑minute drive to Mount Nebo where a local guide joins us. This is the mountain mentioned in the bible where Moses was granted a view of the Holy Land but forbidden from entering it. The mountain is a memorial site where the "Church of Moses" has stood ever since the first days of Christianity. From the top you can enjoy some magnificent views. With clear weather Jerusalem can be seen about 40 miles away.
Following the tour of Mount Nebo we continue another 15 minutes to Madaba, the "City of Mosaics", perched on an archaeological site with more than 4,000 years of history buried beneath it. The quality and quantity of the mosaic flooring found here is legendary: St. George's Church houses a world‑famous mosaic floor containing a large mosaic map of Palestine, which also features a detailed map of Jerusalem as it was during the sixth century. The Church of the Apostles has the famous mosaic floor by Salamanios.
Lunch is included at Madaba in an area known for its amazing traditional food, local crafts, mosaics and other souvenir shops.
We continue on the pretty Desert Highway to the famed village of Petra for our overnight at the Movenpick Petra, adjacent to the ruins at the Petra Movenpick. Note that the nearby Petra Museum is open until 11 p.m. There are a variety of restaurants, bistros and outdoor cafes near the hotel.
Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and covers an area of about 100 square kilometers (62 miles) with more than 800 separate archaeological sites. Also known as UNESCO's ‘Rose City' world heritage site, UNESCO considers it "one of the most precious properties of man's cultural heritage."
The actual area open to visitors is much smaller, composed of a winding narrow mile‑long canyon that opens onto the ancient city around one square kilometer large populated at its zenith by around 20,000 people. Off the town run a number of other trails and additional narrow canyon passages to further‑out attractions.
The ancient city was overseen by Nabatean Arabs between 800BC and 100AD as the entry point into Arabia from Persia and the rest of the known world when commerce was exchanged strictly by (mostly camel) caravans. The Greeks tried and failed to conquer the city, and the Romans finally conquered it in the first century. As high seas shipping slowly displaced caravan routes, the city's importance gradually dwindled. It fell into disuse and was lost to the world until 1812 when it was re‑discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burkhart.[b-l]
We have breakfast followed by hotel checkout before the guided tour. The tour lasts about 3 hours, but we won't be leaving Petra until 3 p.m. so that those interested in more independent exploration can remain behind after the tour concludes.
We depart promptly at three to arrive the Jordanian Desert at the edge of the Dana Biosphere in time for dinner at Feynan Ecolodge. Night time activities are available and can be booked in advance.[b-d]
This ecolodge is an all‑inclusive experience intended to introduce you to the Jordanian Desert. Most of the activities carry no additional costs, but sign‑up is required in advance. The actual schedule of what activities will be available will not be known until you receive your final documents, but for a good idea click here. The range includes desert exploration by hiking or mountain biking – all with guides, local village experiences with the Bedouins, Jordanian cooking and visits to archaeological sites as well as activities after dinner. Activities, meals and overnight at the Feynan Ecolodge.[b-l-d]
Hotel checkout is at 10 a.m. We meander on the beautiful King's Highway directly back to the airport. We'll take the 4:55p flight aboard Royal Jordanian to Cairo, scheduled to arrive at 6:25p, and then the adventure in Egypt begins! (This flight is necessary and not included in the land price but is usually bundled into your international air fare.)[b]