Check out all the photos of this trip on our Facebook page ” African Trails Overlands and Safaris” as we have been having problems with the photos.


We leave the chilled out atmosphere behind, and head to the port for our ferry crossing to Jordan. Taking a bit of Dahab with us, we smuggle out a new passenger Vicki, who decides to temporarily leave the dive life behind and join us on our final leg to Istanbul.

After our previous ferry crossing we know what to expect, and are prepared for a long day. After battling the locals through customs, we are herded into the passenger terminal where we spend the better part of the day before queuing again to board the ferry. Onboard at last we have a couple more hours of delay and then we are underway and sailing the Gulf of Aqaba on our way to Jordan. The ferry is relatively uneventful and after arriving in Jordan we do the obligatory customs clearance for ourselves and Ruby, and finally arrive at camp around 3:30 in the morning.

Our first day in Jordan dawns and we wake to the sun rising over the sea. Our first task is to pack up our home of the last 9 or so months and swap to a new truck. We are a little nostalgic having been through 40 weeks, and 24 countries with Ruby so we are a little sad to say goodbye. We find our feet on the new truck and adjust to a new interior layout, and make our way into town for supplies and a stroll along the corniche.

Leaving Aqaba we drive towards Wadi Rum, famed for the Seven Pillars of Wisdom written about by TE Lawrence in the book of the same name (and on which the film “Lawrence of Arabia” was based). We arrive the next morning to view the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, with Mike and Vicki setting off on a 3 hour hike around its base and take in the statue and inscriptions dedicated to Lawrence himself. Those not up for the hike head to Rum Village with Shadow, Ches and Rebecca venturing to Lawrence’s Spring by camel, ably assisted by Dean and Willy who walk and help maintain camel control, while Sue takes some time out to explore the sandstone ruins of the Nabataean temple.

We leave Wadi Rum and head to Wadi Musa (Moses’ Valley), the village surrounding the famed red-rose city of Petra. Arriving in time to take in Petra by Night, we get our first glimpse of this ancient site, lit up by 1500 candles. As we walk through the Siq we can only imagine what is in store for us the next day when we can view the site in its full glory.

We arrive at Petra early to avoid the crowds and are rewarded by an almost solitary walk through the Siq, the 1.2km canyon-like cleft cut into the rock that is the entrance to the main site (recognizable from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). After surviving Dean’s attempts at filming our own “Indy” movie, we emerge from the Siq to the stunning sight of Al-Khazneh, better known as the Treasury. This scale of this massive structure, carved out of sandstone to serve as a tomb, is amazing and it is easy to see why this is known as Petra’s most impressive structure.

From the Treasury we move through the Outer Siq and the Street of Facades for a view of the 7000-seat theatre. We climb to the High Place of Sacrifice and take in the vista of the site before descending past the Lion monument, as well as the Garden Complex and the Roman Soldiers’ tomb. We pass through the Colonnade Street, stopping for a lunch break before tackling Ad-Deir, the monastery. With 800 steps leading to the top, the monastery was originally built around 86 BC as a tomb, and is well worth the climb. On the descent, Dean and Shadow embrace the moment with new Lawrence of Arabia head-dresses in honour of reaching the monastery. We pass through the Royal Tombs, and past the Palace Tombs and magnificent Urn tomb, before heading back past the theatre and retracing our steps through the Siq. After a day of walking, we reward ourselves with a cold one at the Cave Bar, built within a 2000-year old Nabataean tomb.

We take in the sunset over Wadi Musa, and are rejoined by Mike, who we lost early on in the day and discover has managed to cover the whole site of Petra in one day including Snake Monument, the Lion Tomb and Crusader Castle (all at opposite ends of the site) as well as all the other attractions in-between.

The next day we leave Wadi Musa and drive along the Desert Highway and take in the amazing desert-scape.  This is also the first day of Ramadan, the fasting period for Muslims, so we are conscious of eating and drinking outside the truck. We turn off the Desert Highway and are soon driving along the Dead Sea coast. As the lowest point of earth, the temperature can soon be felt so we stop off to test our buoyancy in the Dead Sea. The salinity does not let us down and we are soon attempting to “swim” atop the sea, with a lot of laughter along the way. We compare maneuvers, with Mark perfecting the skydive, and Ches and Sue mastering the can-can.  After rinsing off the salt (very thoroughly) we camp on the shores and wake to another gorgeous sunrise.

We drive through the capital, Amman. Not known for its historical sites, we adapt quickly back into modernization with shopping and a trip to the cinema. It’s only a short stop and we are soon on our way again, and crossing the border to Syria.