Middle East Trek

About this Adventure




Fact File:
Duration: 37 days
Price: 965 GBP




An amazing overland adventure taking you all the way from the delights of Istanbul to the ancient wonders of Egypt.

We love travelling by as many means as possible and this adventure allows you to do just that. Starting from Istanbul before travelling through Syria, Jordan and into Egypt is an amazing journey and one which will show you the amazing diversity and varying cultures of this part of the world. Part of the joy of this adventure is the varying transport, from overland truck, public transport, boat/dhow and even a balloon on occasion this adventure will make you feel like a miniature Phileas Fogg.

The trip starts out in Istanbul, an amazing city on its own, the history feels so engrained in the modern city despite many of the buidings having been around for more than a thousand years. The domed mosques, markets and churches create a totally unique city sitting on the meeting point of Asia and Europe. After this the journey progresses south taking in the amazing culture of the middle east, and again the fantastic history of this culturally rich area.

The final leg of the journey will see the adventurers cross from Asia into North Africa and finish in the amazing country that is Egypt. With the vast amounts of history there is in Egypt it is easy to become blasé about some of it. But it is a real treat.

This adventure is a fantastic journey for anyone, and one that will appeal to all lovers of culture, travelling and history.

A day-by-day breakdown of what to expect and where you’ll be staying.


Day 1, Istanbul to Gallipoli Peninsula
Leaving the bustling city of Istanbul behind we head into the countryside through olive groves and rural settlements to Gallipoli and the Straits of the Dardanelles.

Day 2, Gallipoli Peninsula
Gallipoli is synonymous with World War I where the ANZAC and Allied forces battled for 9 fruitless months against the Turkish. It is a moving experience to visit the war graves and battlegrounds here and the lessons learnt from this campaign defined a chunk of nation-building history particularly for the New Zealanders and Australians.

Day 3 to 4, Gallipoli Peninsula to Selcuk (via Troy)
Leaving historic Gallipoli behind we cross the Straits of the Dardenelles, leave Europe and enter Asia. We stop at Troy – historic site of the famous Trojan Horse – before making our way to the coast and the huge, ancient Roman site of Ephesus.

Day 5, Selcuk
A chance today to take a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus. Built by the Greeks in 1000BC and then ‘renovated’ by the Romans, this huge ancient city boasts a 24,000 seat amphitheatre, a harbour with no water and a library said to be second only to the Great Library of Alexandria. All still in pretty good condition!

Day 6 to 7, Selcuk to Oludeniz
After our first major brush with Roman history we travel towards the Mediterranean coast and the small town of Oludeniz. Depending on the weather we may stop off at Pamukkale mineral springs for a hot-water soak or take the scenic mountain route towards Marmaris.

Day 8 to 9, Oludeniz to Olympos
A day’s drive will see us at the home of the ‘Eternal Flame’ and we spend the next 2 nights either camping or sleeping in tree houses! A night visit to the Chimaera or ‘Eternal’ flame is well worth the walk. Burning natural gas escaping from numerous fissures in the rock lights up the mountainside and is a very interesting natural phenomenon. It is also believed by many to be the original birthplace of the Olympic (Games) Flame. Spend a day on the beach or hire a bike and explore.

Day 10, Olympos to Cappadocia
Leaving the coast we climb into the inland mountainous regions of Turkey. Some stunning, green mountain scenery gives way to the other-worldly look of the Cappadocia region. Don’t be surprised if it looks a bit empty – many people live underground! Prepare to be amazed!

Day 11 to 12, Cappadocia
Over hundreds of years Cappadoccia houses, churches, forts, businesses and even entire cities have been carved out of the volcanic rock – underground! A few days in the Goreme Valley gives you time to visit many of these sites, see some belly dancing, take a hot air balloon ride and check out the carpets of Eastern Turkey.

Day 13, Cappadocia to Aleppo
Heading south today we cross into Syria – home of some of the most hospitable people you can meet. A long history boasts the rule of Persian, Egyptian, Roman and Babylonian Empires, and even the ‘Crusades’ passed through. Tonight’s stop is the town of Aleppo.

Day 14, Aleppo
The bustling market town of Aleppo is a great day out cruising around the markets for cheap curios, checking out the beautiful citadels and absorbing the Syrian culture.

Day 15, Aleppo to Palmyra
Driving toward the desert we stop at the 800 year old Crusader Castle of Crac de Chevaliers. Look out for the carved lions of Richard the Lionheart over the gate. Then the oasis town of Palmyra awaits. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world – from the massive size and numerous architectural influences of the ruined city that remains, you can see why.

Day 16, Palmyra to Damascus
After our visit to stunning Palmyra we turn back west towards the oldest inhabited city in the world – Damascus.

Day 17, Damascus to Damascus (via Beirut)
A fantastic opportunity today to see a small part of another country and culture. Depending on the political situation in Lebanon there is the option of taking a one day guided tour via Baalbek Roman Temple to Beirut. Try the ‘all you can eat’ Lebanese lunch, take the city tour of Beirut and check out this vibrant city fast recovering from the civil war of the 80’s and 90’s.

Day 18, Damascus to Mount Nebo
Crossing the border into Jordan we make our way to Mount Nebo for the night. Mt Nebo is a place of highly religious significance as it is believed to be where Moses got his first sight of the ‘promised land’ as well as where he was buried. On a clear day you can see all the way to Jerusalem and Jericho in Israel. A visit to the remains of the 4th century church will give you a glimpse of the stunning, detailed, and original mosaic floor.

Day 19, Mount Nebo to Petra
The Dead Sea conjures images of ancient resort-style days. Here, therapeutic mud baths and not so therapeutic mud fights, are followed by an unusual swimming experience in this highly buoyant salt sea! After washing the salt off we continue to the town of Wadi Musa – the base camp for day trips to one of the highlights of the Middle East – the Rose Red City of Petra.

Day 20, Petra
This 6th century BC Nabataean city was only rediscovered in the 1800’s after being lost for over 1000 years. A walk through the Siq brings you to Petra’s most famous site – The Treasury. The Nabataeans who carved this vast red city controlled the spice and slave caravans from Asia travelling to ancient Arabia. One of the most amazing highlights of any trip to the Middle East!

Day 21, Petra to Wadi Rum Desert
Travelling further south we spend the night in the Wadi Rum Desert – the old stomping ground and headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18. Here there is the option to take a 4WD jeep safari deep into the desert with your local Bedouin guide.

Day 22, Wadi Rum Desert to Aqaba
The busy port of Aqaba is our base while we get through the tricky cross border procedures we need to leave Jordan and enter Egypt. Once the paperwork is finalised the ferry will take us to Taba and from there we drive the 100kms to Dahab where we spend the next few nights.

Day 23 to 24, Aqaba to Dahab
We spend some time sorting out the complicated and sometimes time consuming process of leaving Jordan and entering Egypt. Depending on the ferry across this short stretch of the Red Sea we may have time to explore the duty free port of Aqaba before arriving on the Sinai peninsular.

Day 25 to 27, Dahab
Laid back Dahab is a bit of a ‘hippie village’ that boasts warm water, great sunshine and fantastic scuba diving or snorkeling opportunities. Spectacular coral gardens and marine life is just metres from the shore. Try a camel trek, quad bike tour into the desert, visit St Catherine’s Monastery, climb Mt Sinai or simply relax on the beach.

Day 28, Dahab to Mount Sinai
Heading into the mountains we wind our way up to the hidden monastry of Saint Katharine. A couple of hours walking up hill is rewarded by a glorious sunrise over the Sinai ranges and Mount Sinai – Mose’s Mountain.

Day 29 to 30, Mount Sinai to Luxor (via Hurghada)
Crossing from Asia to Africa we drive UNDER the Suez Canal and travel along the coast heading south and then west to reach Luxor – home of the Valley of the Kings and the massive Karnak Temple.

Day 31, Luxor
The west bank of the Nile is where you will spend this morning. Visit the historic Valley of the Kings as well as the Valley of the Workers with our Guide and see the dramatic and quite amazing funerary glory of the ancient Pharaohs. We stop at the Colossi of Memnon and those who want to can have a ride on a trusty donkey through the local villages. A free afternoon to explore Luxor itself.

Day 32, Luxor to Aswan
After a couple of days in busy Luxor it is nice to get back on the road. Travelling alongside the Nile we arrive in the quieter and more relaxed town of Aswan where feluccas seem to be the main source of transport! Visit a traditional Nubian Village, try a riverside cafe, and get ready for a early start tomorrow.

Day 33, Aswan
An early start but well worth the trip – Abu Simbel awaits. Built by Ramses II, the Sun Temple now sits on the edge of Lake Nasser in the southern desert close to the Sudan border. Once back in Aswan check out the Temple at Philae, take a felucca to Elephantine Island or visit a proper Nubian village.

Day 34 to 35, Aswan
The next two days and nights are spent sailing the Nile in a traditional Felucca – watching Egypt glide by, and sleeping under the stars.

Day 36, Aswan to Cairo
A long (but not so bad) overnight train gets us to Cairo – home of the Pyramids, Sphinx and the amazing Egyptian Museum. A free afternoon allows time to get your bearings and absorb the atmosphere in this bustling city.

Day 37, Cairo
This hectic city has lots to offer! Home of the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum, Mohammed Ali Mosque, Khan el Khalili and the Citadel… the list goes on. Explore with a guide or on your own.

For more details of this adventure visit Overlanding Africa.

Adventure of the month
Ride to the end of the world, Ushuaia

Fact File: Duration: 17 Days Time of Year: November...

Read More
Ibiza Chillout

A unique journey to the soul …   If...

Read More