Fly to Amman; transfer to hotel.
Transfer 10km out of Amman to Bader, an area lush with trees and quiet roads that will lead us to Hamadeh which will be the start of our first off road section. This first section was originally part of Jordan's World Rally Championships. This first section is quite steep and rocky with loose gravel, so you will need to be confident. We will then make our way through several other small villages until we reach the Wadi Shouib Dam. Here we will hop on the bus and transfer to Bethany. Excavations only started here in 1996, but it has become one of Jordan's most important discoveries in Biblical archaeology, now associated with where John the Baptist lived and with the ascension of the Prophet Elijah into heaven. After some time here we will make our way to Mt Nebo, where we will visit the church and admire the view over the surrounding valley towards the Dead Sea and Israel. Finally, we will transfer to Madaba for the night.
Leaving Madaba we will ride on a mixture of on and off-road sections. Some of it is more challenging with a number of ascents and descents. We will then reach the road and have an exhilarating 5km downhill stretch to the Dead Sea. There will then be time to enjoy a swim in the saline waters and experience the weightless floating, supported by the water. We will then transfer to Dana Nature Reserve. We will be heading to Dana village which is situated on the edge of a large natural gorge, Wadi Dana, and enjoys spectacular views over Wadi Araba. The village is around 500 years old and the guesthouse which will welcome us uses tourism to preserve the nature reserve and support the local community of this village.
We start the ride from the wild, and remote landscape surrounding Shobak Castle, the less known but no less impressive sister to Karak Castle. It's structure holds onto the history that has gone before, from the attacks from the armies of Saladin to the occupation of the Mamluks. Our ride from the castle will be hilly but the scenery will be spectacular. Our journey will eventually lead us to Little Petra, which will give us our first taste of the Nabatean caves which we will see on a grander scale tomorrow. A classical temple stands guard outside the miniature siq, which is believed to have been an important suburb to the city of Petra itself. The narrow file, only some 350m long, is crammed with triclinia, 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.
We now have a full day to explore Petra. The 'Rose-red city, half as old as time' - Petra was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burckhardt 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. During our time in Petra we will have the opportunity to explore the site from all angles. We will walk down the narrow Siq with the sandstone chasm rising 80m to either side of us and revealing El Khazneh, the Treasury as we reach its end. Set in stunning sandstone mountains there will also be an opportunity to explore the higher caves and the 'high place of sacrifice' giving a fantastic panorama of the whole site. At ground level we will 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. The Monastery is set in a more remote location of the site and we will have to climb around 800 steps to reach it, but it is well worth it.
Today is another day of spectacular scenery as we head towards the Wadi Rum desert. The first part of our ride from Rajef junction to Dlaghah is on the road, but then we have a fantastic off-road section to Qawira. We will then ride on road through the vast landscape, where great mounds of sandstone rise from the ground, creating a fascinating moonscape. We will then be able to spend a very special evening under the stars in the desert, hosted by a Bedouin family in goat hair tents and feasting on a traditional meal which is cooked underground. You can then sleep in the tents or pull your mattress outside and sleep under the vast, star-lit sky.
Our final ride is a two hour fun ride in the desert in the Disi area. Here we can ride on the camel race track, the mud-flat areas and on the Moab mini mountains. This will be a final bit of really fun riding before we get back on the bus and transfer back to Amman.
Transfer to the airport; fly to London.