“How do you reach the Seven Pillars of Wisdom? You must choose, my children, between the camel, the 4x4 and the hot-air balloon…”
With its tradition of Bedouin hospitality, Jordan is one of the most welcoming countries in the Middle East and an ideal focal point for a bespoke luxury vacation in the region. From the Romans’ outpost at Jerash to the desert haunts of Lawrence of Arabia – from Mount Nebo, where Moses first glimpsed the Promised Land, to the banks of the Jordan, where John baptized Jesus – this is unquestionably a land of epic associations.
Naturally you’ll want to see the UNESCO-protected archaeological site at Petra. But how to experience it? Some travellers want to “earn” their discovery of Petra’s magnificent rock-cut structures. So we’ll create a three-day desert trek with luxuriously appointed camps offering every amenity, including eco-sensitive flush toilets (but no flat-screen TVs – you’ll have to settle for the spectacular night skies). For those seeking a more immediate experience of Petra, we can arrange to enter the rose-coloured city by candlelight as an expert explains how the Nabateans carved it into a mountainside some 2,000 years ago. Then you can follow the strains of an oriental flute to a private moonlit feast among the ruins.
At some point you’ll want to test your buoyancy in the Dead Sea (though if you’re trying to watch your salt intake, don’t drink the water). We can also take you further south for some amazing diving and snorkelling off the Red Sea reefs at Aqaba.
There’s great walking and hiking (we’ll leave it to you to decide the difference) in the Dana Nature Reserve, where a spectacular trail cuts through the steep-walled Wadi valley, home to more than 650 types of plants and 200 species of birds, including vultures, eagles and kestrels. A nearby wilderness eco-lodge sits like an oasis beneath the arid mountains of the rift valley, its adobe buildings lit by hundreds of solar-powered lanterns under the black desert sky.
A final suggestion: Crossing the desolate landscape at Wadi Rum, you’re deep in the ancestral homeland of the nomadic Bedouins. So what better place to set up a desert encampment, complete with luxury tents, traditional music, a gourmet feast and camels – with 4x4s standing by, maybe for a spin out to the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Then as dawn breaks, ascend in a hot-air balloon to take in the vastness of what many, Lawrence among them, have called the most beautiful desert in the world.
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To discuss what interests you about this or any other destination, call us: +44 203 358 0110