One week cycling through stunning desert scenery, plus Petra and Madaba

Rates strats at : US $ 850 per person

The Kingdom of Jordan is an ideal destination for a week long break. It includes one of the most spectacular wonders in the world - the 'Rose-red city' of Petra - and the ancient sites of Madaba and Mount Nebo. Away from the temples and monuments we ride through quiet villages and ancient olive groves, along the waymeeting some of the Bedouin people, renowned for their hospitality. There is also the opportunity to float in the Dead Sea and snorkel in the Red Sea, ensuring that there is time to relax and unwind as well as explore. Most relaxing of all is the night spent in Wadi Rum, the former headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia. Here the solitude, the majestic desert scenery and incredible night skies, ensure a memorable evening of star gazing.

Day 1
Start Amman.

Day 2
After an initial briefing we transfer out of town towards Jerash to avoid the traffic and start cycling. We cycle through the foothills of the Rift Valley and olive groves. Later we head on to Madaba, 'the City of Mosaics'. The city, best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Ride approx 42km.

Day 3
We leave the hotel this morning on two wheels and cycle on tarmac to Mt Nebo, reputedly the burial place of Moses but certainly the site for a spectacular view over the valley below. From here it's a fantastic descent to the shores of the Dead Sea. We follow the 'coast' on a smooth tarmac surface to Suwaima where we can change and take a float in the famous waters. After a shower it's back in the vehicle for the long drive south along the Kings Highway towards Petra, one of the world's most outstanding ancient cities. Ride approx 45km.


Day 4 - 5
Two full days to explore Petra. The 'Rose-red city, half as old as time' - Petra was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burkhardt made his great discovery in 1812. The Nabateans, an Arab tribe that arrived here in the sixth century BC, founded Petra. Building at Petra began in the third century BC and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied on the desert caravans. Two features of Petra are unique: firstly, it is a city made defensible by being built down a series of chasms, rather than on a hilltop; and secondly, it is built directly into the rock - beautiful red and yellow sandstone carved into the most impressive facades which glow in the brilliant sunlight. After walking down the Siq, the narrow chasm, which is the only entrance to the city, we come out directly in front of El Khazneh, the Treasury (please note that due to current Jordanian group regulations the journey to the Siq has to include a fixed fee for a horseback ride, whether you wish to ride or not - this costs US$10 and is included in the price). Continuing to the centre of the city, we pass the houses and tombs of the rich citizens, and the amphitheatre. A long walk beyond the centre is El Deir, the monastery, with its superb facade topped by a huge urn. Some of the exploration can be done on horseback (optional). On the morning of day 5 we cycle to the north of the main city to Little Petra and the Siq Al-Barid. A classical temple stands guard outside the miniature siq, which would appear to have been an important suburb to the city of Petra itself. The narrow file, only some 350 m long, is crammed with tombs, temples, triclinia, houses, water channels and cisterns; of particular note are the remains of painted frescoes on plaster dating from the 1st century AD, which are to be found in one of the biclinia. Ride approx. 20km. On one of the days we take a walk to the 'place of high sacrifice' where few others visit. This can be quite arduous and is not recommended for those who are unsure of their fitness, but the views of the site below are remarkable.

Day 6
It's an early start today to avoid the heat for our first real desert experience. After a short transfer to Tayba village we begin riding mostly on tarmac to Ar-Rajif. The road cuts through traditional Bedouin territory and is a seasonal stop for the nomadic shepherds of south Jordan so the chance of a local 'tea break' are high! Some parts of the road are unsurfaced. From here we head into the desert and follow the road down to Gharandal via Dilagha to Wadi Araba. The road may be sandy and a little gravelly so extra care should be taken. After our desert crossing it's a short drive to Aqaba on the Red Sea. Ride approx 62km.

Day 7
This morning we have free time to lounge on the beach, swim, or go snorkelling. Your leader will be able to advise you on which are the best private beaches to visit as the public beaches generally do not have as many facilities. In the early afternoon it's a short transfer out of town to avoid the main climb and traffic, before we start our cycle into the spectacular scenery of Wadi Rum. This is where Lawrence of Arabia and Prince Faisal assembled the Arab tribes for the attack on Aqaba in the First World War, and also where sections of the film of 'Lawrence' were shot. We sleep under the stars tonight enjoying the silence of the desert, at a semi permanent campsite. Ride Approx 30km.

Day 8
After breakfast we take a 4x4 drive vehicle far into the area for a desert adventure. Following lunch surrounded by the vastness of the desert and towering rocky outcrops we transfer back to Amman, a journey of approx. 4 hours with a stop en route.

Day 9
End Amman.

Desert paramours Trek and Travel, Petra - Jordan

Wadi Mousa - Tourist St. P.O.Box: 143, Zip: 718111, Tel: 00962 777 282 730, Fax: 00962 3 2155 955

E-mail: info@desertparamours.com, www.desertparamours.com