Trip Region: Middle East and North Africa
Country(ies): Jordan, Egypt
Partners Trek? Yes
Trip Cost: $2165
Airfare Estimate: $1500
Nightlife: 4 • Activity: 7
Are you coming to Ross with a partner? Are you a partner to an incoming Rosser? Join us on a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience to the beautiful countries of Egypt and Jordan! This is the perfect trip with a little something for all the adventure seekers, culture enthusiasts, and food lovers out there. Looking to check off those bucket-list items? We’ll be hitting up Petra, the Pyramids and Sphinx, the Dead Sea, and Wadi Rum. Interested in local culture? How about a Nubian homestay, local meals, and a night camping (glamping) at a Bedouin camp in the desert? You and your partner will also have a chance to get to know your fellow Rossers and partners better as you cruise the Nile on an Egyptian sailboat and ride an overnight train, solidifying your BFF status while you watch the countryside roll by. Sound like an ideal way to get your Ross experience off to a great start and make memories that will last forever? We think so!
Let the good times and lifelong friendships roll… We can’t wait to meet you!
Travel Day — Sunday, Aug 16
Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan, cosmopolitan and contemporary, yet steeped in history. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting and an evening on the streets, where you might pick up a coffee from one of the cafés and partner it with an ara’yes, a toastie filled with spicy mincemeat.
Day 1 — Monday, Aug 17
This morning you’ll travel by minibus to Mt Nebo, the spot where the prophet Moses is said to have seen the 'promised land' and is supposedly buried. Explore this sanctuary and view the remarkable mosaics of the 4th-century church. On a clear day, the views over the Dead Sea to Israel are spectacular. Then you’d better have brought your swim gear as you can wash off the dust from exploring with a dip like no other. Drive to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 meters below sea level). This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Spend some time relaxing here and get some classic floating pictures. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties, so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Make a stop at the impressive crusader castle of Kerak, which stands on a cliff, sheer on three sides, and commandingly overlooks Wadi Karak and the Dead Sea in the distance. You’ll have time to explore the evocative ruins – a seven level fortress, with many rooms and passageways buried deep into the hill – and to discover the legends of the 12th-century battles between the Crusaders and the Muslim armies led by the Arab hero, Saladin. You’ll then continue on to Petra for the night (approximately 4.5 hours).
Day 2 — Tuesday, Aug 18
Petra is justifiably on most people’s list of ‘must-visit’ places. It's the jewel of Jordan, the lost city of the biblical Nabateans, an impressive series of tombs and dwellings hidden behind ornate facades carved directly into the rock, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Dating back to the 6th century BC, the site was lost to Western minds until it was rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer – he dressed up like a local to sneak in and then revealed the secret to everyone. Thankfully he did though, because this isn’t something you’d want to miss out on. Squeeze through a mile-long narrow path, known as the Siq, through huge towers of rock and get your first glimpse of the iconic Treasury – it’s impossible not to imagine the armies and traders who made their way down here in the ancient times. It’s amazing to think that this awesome, intricate building entrance was hand carved out of the rock. The site is surprisingly big, and you can explore the old Roman road, temples and several old tombs, as well as the rock-hewn amphitheater. In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to explore the rest of the site at your own pace. For those with the energy, there's the challenging but highly rewarding walk up the steps to the stunning Monastery. Maybe seek out a Turkish bath for the perfect end to an incredible day.
Day 3 — Wednesday, Aug 19
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a short drive (approximately 2 hours) to the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum, a rugged moonscape of huge sandstone mountains. A 4-hour jeep safari will take you through some of the most beautiful and sublime desert scenery on the planet, a true highlight of this trip. Wadi Rum is full of weird and beautiful lunar-like rock formations, and traces of ancient civilizations can be seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the area, from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum are those carved by nature – the natural rock bridges, towering rose-colored sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks. Tonight you’ll sleep in a simple desert camp, with the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. Enjoy a delicious dinner cooked in an earthen oven by your Bedouin (which means ‘Desert Dwellers’ in Arabic) hosts. Conditions are basic at the desert camp, but the hospitality of your hosts is legendary, and you'll treasure the memory of sleeping beneath the twinkling desert night sky. Notes: A mattress and blankets are provided. Western-style toilet facilities are available.
Day 4 — Thursday, Aug 20
This morning you’ll leave Wadi Rum and head to Egypt to continue your adventure. You’ll transfer to Queen Alia Int’l Airport for departure. Catch a flight today from Amman to Cairo, get picked up and transferred to your hotel upon arrival.
Day 5 — Friday, Aug 21
Check out your hotel, get ready, get set, for an experience of a lifetime – a half-day trip to the Great Pyramids of Giza! The Giza Plateau is a formation of three pyramids, where a father, son, and grandson constructed their afterlife tombs and mapped their journeys to the afterlife. It’s still a bit of a mystery as to how the pyramids were constructed and how long they took to complete, but there’s no question that the pyramids still represent the pinnacle of ancient Egyptian architectural accomplishments. The whole area, really, continues to hold many secrets yet to be uncovered, making the pyramids one of the most alluring and inviting places in the world. Our job is to help you tick off that bucket list item, and then some, with a tour to the pyramids that’s going to prove to you why everyone reveres this site so much. We also treat you to a local lunch! Pyramids, Sphinx, and lunch? Oh my! Leaving the amazing pyramids behind, we’ll head back out to the streets of Cairo and stop by a local restaurant for lunch where we’ll be treating you to Koshary, a dish of rice, pasta, lentils, fried onions, and chili sauce, and a favorite among young local Egyptians. After lunch, we’ll drop you back off at your hotel for refreshing before boarding the overnight sleeping train to Aswan. Bedding and air-conditioning are provided.
Day 6 — Saturday, Aug 22
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Upon arrival in Aswan you’ll board an iconic traditional Egyptian sail boat, a felucca, and sail until the sunset. After your time aboard the felucca, arrive at a Nubian homestay on the West Bank of the Nile. Explore the Nubian way of life here with a walk through the surrounding countryside and agriculture fields to reach the homestay. The tranquility of the location is indescribable. The house is in the Nubian style, with a sandy courtyard in the middle where the family gathers for meals, and to the sides are the rooms where they sleep. These are also the rooms that you’ll be staying in for the night. There are few better ways to understand a country and its people than with a local homestay.
Day 7 — Sunday, Aug 23
Board a felucca, a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, and spend a half day out on the river, watching rural Egyptian daily life play out on the banks. You then transfer to Aswan station for boarding the sleeper train to Cairo.
Departure Day — Monday, Aug 24
You're free to depart at any time after the early-morning arrival, but please do not arrange departing flights before 4pm in case of any travel delays or bad traffic.