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Explore Jordan and Sleep in a Martian Dome

Marvel at ancient Petra, float in the Dead Sea, snorkel the Red Sea and count shooting stars from your bed in the desert

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Trip Ref #10374

Explore Jordan and Sleep in a Martian Dome

Marvel at ancient Petra, float in the Dead Sea, snorkel the Red Sea and count shooting stars from your bed in the desert

DURATION
5 nights
LOCATION
Jordan
ANNUAL LEAVE
4 days off work
SEASON
Mar-May, Aug-Nov
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Queen Alia International Airport, Amman
ACCOMMODATION
Comfort

Hotel · Martian Dome

OVERALL RATING

4.7

Based on 56 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Easy

Gentle activity and culture combined. The hikes are fairly short but not to be overlooked

Marvel at the Milky Way and tuck into a Bedouin barbecue feast at an otherworldy desert camp

Spend the night in a sustainable guesthouse perched above the canyons and wadis of the Dana Biosphere, Jordan’s biggest nature reserve

Bounce through the dunes of Wadi Rum in a desert jeep and catch the kaleidoscope of colours at sunset

Hike the mountains that flank the approach to Petra’s ‘backdoor’, before soaking up the secrets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site itself

Day 1

Touchdown in Jordan

You'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the ancient city of Madaba. You're free to check in after 2pm and the evening is free for you to explore the city, your briefing will be tomorrow morning.

Day 2

The Dead Sea to Dana

Driving

3.5hrs

Hiking

2hrs · 3km · 250m up · 800m down

After breakfast, you’ll hit the road south to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, for a float in the salty water and an optional beachside scrub with the famous mud. Then it’s onto the Dana Biosphere Nature Reserve for a short hike along a circular trail that traverses Al-Barrah, through the Siq, to Shaq al Reesh. The distance is not far but the rocky trail undulates and you'll climb 250m in just 3km. Check into your lodge and soak up the scenery from your perch on the edge of the precipitous cliffs of Wadi Dana.

Day 3

The backdoor to Petra

Hiking

4 hours · 10km · 500m up · 520m down

Today you’ll start the journey to Petra. Hiking shoes at the ready, you'll approach via the less crowded 'backdoor' (negotiating the many steps requires some physical effort but the reward is most definitely worth it). You'll cross the desert and pass through Wadi Ghurab amidst the sandstone mountains that guard the approach to Petra. Continue via a Nabataean path onto a natural rock terrace before reaching a hidden plateau high above the impressive chasm of Wadi Siyyagh. Following the steps (almost 900 of them) down to ancient Petra and The Treasury, you'll have plenty of time to soak it all in and learn about its ancient past.

Day 4

Channel your inner Martian

Driving

2hrs

Hiking

2hrs · 4km · 400m up · 400m down

Today you’ll head south to the expansive Wadi Rum desert. You’ll start with a short hike through the 5km Barrah Canyon, one of the most spectacular corners of Wadi Rum, where multi-coloured cliffs and towers flank enormous sand dunes, desert oases and gorges. You’ll pause for an al-fresco hummus-based lunch before hopping on a desert truck to your Martian Dome accommodation. The area has been used in many films such as The Martian and Star Wars so expect it to feel a bit sci-fi as you bed down in your dome for the night.

Day 5

Wadi Rum to the Red Sea

Driving

5-6hrs

After waking up to the desert sunrise, you'll head to the Red Sea in Aqaba, a port town with views across to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It’s relaxed today as you head out for lunch on a boat, stopping to swim and snorkel in the balmy waters. Vitamin-D fuelled, you’ll jump back on the bus for the road trip to the capital, Amman. Be sure to wander down Rainbow Street, packed full of places to eat, drink and people watch - the perfect place to kick back with your crew and reminisce about your Jordan adventure.

Day 6

Transfer to Airport

After breakfast and final goodbyes with your team, you'll be returned to the airport in time for your flight home.

Included

Permits

All your permits and entry fees

Transfers

Both airport transfers and everything in-between

Guides

Local, professional, English-speaking guides

Meals

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 traditional Arabic dinners

Accommodation

3 nights in a hotel, 1 in a lodge and 1 in a desert dome

Not Included

Visas where required

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Personal expenses

Travel insurance

Flights to and from the meeting point

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Martian Dome · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

For breakfast expect a buffet typical of 3-4-star hotel breakfasts all over the world. For dinner you'll get to experience traditional Arabic food - either Magloobah (rice with vegetables and chicken prepared in a traditional way with local spices) or Mansaf (rice served with lamb and yoghurt). All these dishes come with the classic Hoummus, Mtabbal (fried eggplant), and salad.
Lunches will generally be buffet style and if not included will cost approx $10pp. Dinner (where not included at your overnight spot) will be at local restaurants and will cost approx $15-$20pp. Your guide will be with you to make suggestions of where to eat and to arrange group meals. Dinner at Wadi Rum on night 4 is a real experience. Here they serve the famous Zarb - rice, veggies, lamb and chicken cooked for 4-5 hours under the ground on coal and served with salads and side dishes.
Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just let your host know on booking.

What is the accommodation like?

Dana Biosphere Reserve

You'll spend one night at Dana Guesthouse Hotel. Perched on the edge of the precipitous cliffs of Wadi Dana, this beautifully styled structure offers breathtaking views of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Every room has its own terrace looking down into the reserve and you can even shower whilst keeping an eye on the skies for the often seen Lesser Kestrel. You'll stay in twin rooms by default but doubles can be requested for couples.

Dana Guesthouse contributes directly to the preservation of The Dana Biosphere Nature Reserve, an important conservation project established by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). Working directly with local villages and Bedouin communities, income-generating projects have been created that utilise the reserve's natural beauty and wildlife to generate employment opportunities. These include small handicraft enterprises and a range of tourism facilities, including Dana Guesthouse. Such ventures continue to make nature valuable and important to the lives of Dana residents and create a constituency of local support for the reserve.

Martian Dome

You'll spend one night in the heart of Wadi Rum’s majestic desert, sleeping in a Martian Dome at the Sun City Camp. Each dome allows you to marvel at the milky way from your bed - waking up to a desert sunrise is something quite special. You'll stay in twin-share domes by default (king-sized beds available for couples by request), each with air-conditioning, an external bathroom, seating area and terrace.

Madaba, Petra & Amman

During your overnight stays in Madaba, Petra and Amman you'll be tucked up in cosy local hotels. In Madaba, you'll stay in the Mosaic City Hotel or similar. In Petra you'll stay in the centrally located Petra Palace Hotel or similar and in Amman you'll stay in the Toledo Hotel or a hotel of the same standard. The exact hotel you stay in will be confirmed prior to departure based on group size and availability, all hotels are chosen for their excellent reputation, location and welcoming service.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and dome can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Queen Alia International Airport, Amman

Catch any flight to arrive on Day 1

Ends

Queen Alia International Airport Amman

Depart any time on Day 6

Transfers

Arrival transfers from Amman airport to the hotel in Madaba are included for any time you choose to arrive on Day 1 or Day 2 of the tour (some flights arrive after midnight so fall in the early hours of Day 2). Departure transfers from the final hotel to Amman airport are included for any time you choose to depart on Day 6. If you need a transfer on other days then your host can arrange a private transfer for you, at additional cost. See the Optional Extras section for prices.

Travel options

There are frequent flights to Amman from airports in the UK and Europe. Choose any flight to arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 6 - or extend your stay if you wish. Some flights arrive shortly after midnight - if you arrive in Amman in the early hours of day 2 then your room will be ready and waiting for you but if your flight arrives in the early hours of Day 1, you will need to book an extra night's accommodation before the tour as rooms are not usually available for check-in until the mid-afternoon. Your host can arrange an additional night of accommodation, subject to availability. See the Optional Extras section for more prices.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

  • Main bag (duffel bag or small suitcase)
  • Day pack (15-25 litres +) - to carry your personal belongings on the walks
  • Light rain or windproof jacket
  • Dry fit t-shirts or tops (shoulders covered)
  • Hiking trousers or long shorts
  • Buff or neck scarf (for windchill/sand on the jeep)
  • Hiking boots or shoes (worn in)
  • Hiking socks (synthetic or wool)
  • Pyjamas/something to sleep in
  • Swimwear
  • Flip flops or sandals
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Water bladder or 2 water bottles
  • Sun protection (sun hat, sunglasses and suncreen)
  • Earplugs (optional)
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal first aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Toiletries (inc. travel towel and hand sanitiser)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, wet wipes and ziplock baggies to carry out)
  • Snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Post-trip Accommodation in Amman (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Post-trip Accommodation in Amman (Single)

Post-trip Accommodation in Amman (Twin or Double)

Payable Before Departure

Post-trip Accommodation in Amman (Twin or Double)

Pre-trip accommodation in Madaba (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip accommodation in Madaba (Single)

Pre-trip accommodation in Madaba (Twin or Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip accommodation in Madaba (Twin or Double)

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Private Airport Transfer to/from Amman or Madaba Hotel (one way)

Payable Before Departure

Private Airport Transfer to/from Amman or Madaba Hotel (one way)

- Phoebe(October 2023)

This trip was amazing from start to finish. Our guide Wafa was fabulous and really helpful with everything the whole time. Even with the conflict starting in Israel just before the trip started I felt safe the whole trip and the MBA team reached out before the trip to assure us that everything would run as normal. Every day is packed with things to see and do, I was shocked at how much we fit into the 4 main days (days 1 and 6 are travel days with no organised activities). On day 1 I travelled independently to Madaba from Amman as I flew in a few days before and the hotel was able to arrange a taxi to take me to Mount Nebo and back. I would recommend doing this if you have the time and are interested as the tour drives past the site on day 2 but does not stop. I would say that the trip is an easy difficulty if you are a fit and active person. If you have any mobility issues then you might find some of the hiking more challenging. The accommodation and food are excellent throughout, as a vegetarian I was catered for really well and everything was delicious. Most of the food provided is traditional Arabic food so I would pack some snacks in case I didn’t fancy hummus for breakfast! Transport around Jordan was super easy with the same minibus and driver with us for the whole trip. The bus even had Wi-Fi which was a great bonus. Overall if you are interested in this trip I wouldn’t hesitate to book, it was an amazing adventure.

- Charlotte(October 2023)

This was a great trip which packed in so many highlights in a short space of time. Wadi Rum and the Martian domes were a particular highlight - it was great to get out in the desert and escape the crowds and this was by far the best accommodation - it is an absolutely unforgettable experience. We were lucky enough to have Wafa as our tour guide. She was incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and fun to be around.

A couple of small caveats: if you are looking for an active trip I would suggest booking something with more hiking as this was definitely light on the activity front and the hikes were pretty light and easy going, and in all cases shorter than billed. The trip is also quite rushed - there is virtually no free time so I would recommend tagging on a day or two at the end to relax in Amman. Finally, bring snacks! There are hardly anywhere to buy a snack and often long gaps between meals, so if you have a tendency to get hungry, come prepared!

- Janet(October 2023)

Interesting trip but needs a high level of fitness

- Richard(September 2023)

Absolutely incredible trip, don’t hesitate to book. The experiences were once in a lifetime, our guide was amazing and the group were all wonderful. Personal highlight was Wadi Rum but you fit so much into the tour that there is something for everyone.

- Amar(September 2023)

MBA has put together an amazing trip to see all the best of Jordan. The Martian Dome is completely worth it. Jordan surpassed all of my expectations!

- Adrian(September 2023)

A truly fantastic trip that you will never forget!

- Chris(May 2023)

n/a

- Amelia(May 2023)

Incredible trip - loved every moment! Jordan is a beautiful country, which I would recommend to everyone to go and explore. The itinerary for this trip is very exciting and we felt really well looked after :)

- luke(April 2023)

There is nothing to say other than amazing!! Mutaz was an amazing guide he was so helpful and he truly went above and beyond to make our trip unforgettable. Anyone thinking of doing this trip just book it you won’t forget it.

- Connor(April 2023)

A truly breathtaking trip. Don't think, just book!

Our itinerary was jam-packed full of incredible experiences such as hiking the backdoor to Petra (which resulted in far fewer tourists and was much more rewarding), snorkelling in the Red Sea, floating in the Dead Sea & having a mud bath, a full day of exploring Wadi Rum including hikes, traditional meals in the desert, a sunset camel ride, as well as hiking in the beautiful Dana reserve.

On top of all that, the accommodation throughout was among the best I've ever stayed in - there's nothing quite like waking up at sunrise in a martian dome with the curtains wide open. Guesthouse in Dana was incredible too.

Mutaz Jarrar, our guide, absolutely made our trip. A knowledgable, kind-hearted, patient, hilarious bloke who treated our entire group like family throughout. The trip would not have been the same without him - nothing was ever too much of an ask, from arranging extra transport/activities for us outside of the itinerary to ensuring we never went hungry or thirsty by providing snacks every day. A pleasure to spend a week with him!

I would recommend you arrive 1-2 days early to enjoy more of what Jordan has to offer - including exploring Amman, Madaba and Jerash. It's a wonderful country.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 278kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Some small tips are included in your trip cost, and your guide will handle these on your behalf, although tips for your guide and driver are not included - we suggest allowing in the region of at least $50 in total per person. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

Guide: $5+ per person per day Driver: $3+ per person per day

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - while often expected, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Ramadan will take place from 22nd March to 20th April 2023 and 10th March to 8th April 2024. The national holiday of Eid ul-Fitr will follow for 2-3 days. Ramadan is an Islamic festival where the religious do not eat or drink during daylight hours. While this is a really interesting time to travel, you can expect some business hours will be shortened, alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and some restaurants will be closed during this festival period. Activities for local people tend to be limited during the day and the nights are very active in cities with lots of different foods being sold and consumed. However in hotel restaurants and tourist areas food and drink are served as normal and Ramadan will not affect the inclusions on your trip. Liquor stores are likely to be closed for the month but in tourist enclaves bars stay open (although some may not allow alcohol outdoors - but inside is generally okay).

As you will be travelling with a vehicle, your luggage will need to travel with you so we advise keeping it reasonably small and light.

Jordan is a very sunny country, with over 310 days of sunshine a year. May to October tends to be exclusively sunny with temperatures from the late teens to approx 25°C in the daytime, while the nights are cool and balmy. Rain is unlikely but not unheard of, so do be prepared, especially if travelling between November and March - the plus point being that you are out of the main tourist season so although likely to be a little cooler, you are guaranteed less people at the key sights. The weather in the height of summer (July-August) can get very hot, especially in the desert, with daytime temperatures averaging between 32-36°C

We recommend booking more than 31 days in advance to guarantee your spot on the trip. If requesting to book less than 31 in advance the host will need to check accommodation availability before accepting your booking (please do not book flights until your booking has been confirmed by the host). Due to high demand in Jordan, if requesting a spot within two weeks of departure chances are that there won't be any availability so the sooner you can make plans the better.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

This is a relaxed trip that combines cultural exploration with relatively gentle activity. The hiking sections are short and will involve being on your feet for a maximum of 4 hours but there are some ascents/descents and rocky trails involved. The longest walk is in Petra (10 km) and it's worth noting that although the pace is gentle, it involves around 1300 steps in total (both up and down) so a reasonable level of fitness is necessary to avoid 'jelly legs'. In the Wadi Rum Desert the hike is short but walking in sand makes it harder work. This trip may not be suitable for those with knee problems due to the number of steps and the sandy terrain.

What’s more important is being comfortable with heights. There will be a few exposed sections so those with vertigo may not be too comfortable. Your guide will never be far away to help you get through it though.

We are monitoring the UK government travel advice closely in response to the conflict over the border in Israel and Palestine. In addition, we are in close contact with our local hosts in Jordan in relation to the situation. Trips in Jordan remain unaffected and are running as scheduled. Last updated: Wednesday 11 October 2023

For current advice about travelling in Jordan, have a read of the FCO pages here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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