Walking in Palestine

STYLE Small Group
DURATION 9 Days
BETWEEN Nablus and Jerusalem
COUNTRIES VISITED – 2 Palestinian Territory and Israel
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 12
TRAVEL DATES
Contact Diesel for all departure dates and latest pricing
WHATS INCLUDED
All Accommodation All tour transportation
Meals mostly full board as listed
Entrance fees as listed Professional Tour Leader
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
Airport Transfers Airport taxes
International Flights Travel Insurance
Visas

Trip Overview

The rich landscapes of this much disputed land are riddled with long distance footpaths that provide a fascinating insight into a region that has lain at the crossroads of world history for over three millennia. One such trail is the Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil, the biblical ‘Path of Abraham’. Running from south-east Turkey to the deserts of the Jordan Valley, the trail passes through some of the most culturally and historically significant landscapes in the Middle East. This incredible journey provides us with an opportunity to gain a unique insight into an ancient and fascinating land; one that has seen the passing of Crusaders and Saracens, the crucifixion of Christ and the bloody conflicts of the Arab-Israeli wars. Travelling on foot through the Jordan Valley we travel from Nablus to the beautiful springs of Al Auja, before then travelling on to explore the Dead Sea region and the biblical cities of Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, some of the most revered and contentious settings on earth.


Walking in Palestine

The rich landscapes of this much disputed land are riddled with long distance footpaths that provide a fascinating insight into a region that has lain at the crossroads of world history for over three millennia. One such trail is the Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil, the biblical ‘Path of Abraham’. Running from south-east Turkey to the deserts of the Jordan Valley, the trail passes through some of the most culturally and historically significant landscapes in the Middle East. This incredible journey provides us with an opportunity to gain a unique insight into an ancient and fascinating land; one that has seen the passing of Crusaders and Saracens, the crucifixion of Christ and the bloody conflicts of the Arab-Israeli wars. Travelling on foot through the Jordan Valley we travel from Nablus to the beautiful springs of Al Auja, before then travelling on to explore the Dead Sea region and the biblical cities of Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, some of the most revered and contentious settings on earth.

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Tour Highlights:

  • Explore the biblical landscapes of the Jordan Valley, following the ‘Path of Abraham’
  • A unique opportunity to discover the true essence of Palestine on foot.
  • Stay with local families and enjoy the experience of a Bedouin desert camp.
  • Explore the ancient city of Jericho and the saline waters of the Dead Sea.
  • Visit Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity and the fascinating city of Jerusalem.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It is often said that if you ask two Israelis or two Palestinians their opinion on any subject you’re likely to get at least three different answers! Such is the controversy and complexity that surrounds this region and it is seemingly impossible to refer to the region without making some sort of political statement. The British Foreign Office refers to the whole region as “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” while others, including the Bradt guide, refer to the main area we visit as “Palestine”, a name that has been in use for centuries but, although recognised by approximately two-thirds of the world’s countries, is not currently recognised as a state by the UN. Wild Frontiers and Diesel Adventures consider ourselves engaged in the issues but ultimately apolitical. As such we have chosen to refer to this trip as a “Walking in Palestine” to reflect the main cultural focus of the trip rather than to assert any geo-political statement. Most of the places visited on the trip lie exclusively in land controlled by the Palestinian Authority although the situation with regards to Jerusalem is much more complicated with both Israelis & Palestinians laying claim to this fascinating city.


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Day 1: Tour starts in Nablus

This unique journey begins in the small city of Nablus, strategically located between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, in a narrow valley overlooking the northern landscapes of the West Bank. With a heritage that stretches back to antiquity, the city has lain at the historical crossroads of this region for millennia. From its founding by the Roman legions of Vespasian, in the first century AD, Nablus’s 2,000 years of history has seen it fall under the influence of Byzantines and Crusaders, Mamluks and Turks and today its historic old town lies at the heart of a city that still reflects the ever-changing face of Middle Eastern politics. (D)

Israel & The Palestinian Territories

With such an extraordinary diversity of peoples past and present, any travel to Israel & The Palestinian Territories offers a multitude of experiences and memorable encounters as well as some unique natural wonders. The rich landscapes of ancient Palestine are riddled with long distance footpaths that provide a fascinating insight into a region that has lain at the crossroads of world history for over three millennia. One such trail is the Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil, the biblical ‘Path of Abraham’. Running from south-east Turkey to the deserts of the Jordan Valley, the trail passes through some of the most culturally and historically significant landscapes in the Middle East. The Palestinian Territories offer an opportunity to gain a unique insight into an ancient and fascinating land; one that has seen the passing of Crusaders and Saracens, the crucifixion of Christ and the bloody conflicts of the ArabIsraeli wars. Here you can visit the beautiful springs of Al Auja, float on the Dead Sea, stay with local families and enjoy the experience of a Bedouin desert camp. Visiting the biblical cities of Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, some of the most revered and contentious settings on earth, in particular the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the reputed site of Christ’s birth, is considered to be a highlight for most. For whatever reason draws you to this part of the world, one thing is for sure, you’ll never watch the nightly news the same way again.

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Day 2: In & around Nablus

To get our first feel for the beautiful countryside of what was ancient Samaria, we’ll head out to the nearby hilltop Roman city of Sebastiya, an incredibly picturesque and tranquil place that sees very few visitors despite its wonderful location and well-preserved buildings. After a couple of hours here we’ll share a coffee and some stories with some of the residents of the Balata refugee camp before heading to the heart of Nablus’s famed souk. Here we’ll have lunch with the locals and visit various boutique operations such as a (bizarrely fascinating) soap factory and a sweet manufacturer, both of which seem to be from a bygone era. Later in the afternoon there’ll be time to enjoy a traditional hamam (Turkish bath) or just to wander around the narrow alleyways of this perhaps surprisingly friendly city. Hotel Yasmeen or similar (B,L,D)

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Day 3: Nablus – Awarta - Duma

Leaving early this morning we’ll take taxis to the nearby village of Awarta and head out across a landscape of olive groves and wheatfields, making our way towards Jabal Awrma and the Bronze Age fortress that occupies a high escarpment. The trail takes us past meadows of poppies and wild sage, continuing up towards the fertile highlands where we enjoy our first views of the arid desert and the Jordan Valley beyond. Continuing on to the village of Aqraba, we’ll have lunch with the local community before following the path that takes us along the top edge of the Jordan Valley, towards the olive groves and old stone houses of the hilltop village of Duma where we spend the evening. Approx 7-8 hrs walking (including stops) Homestay (B,L,D)

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Day 4: Duma - Taybeh


Following the Abraham Path this morning we head towards the interesting village of Kufor Malek, a lofty community that affords us some spectacular views out across the Palestinian lands. This somewhat unique settlement bears the distinction of offering up a little slice of Latin colour amongst the desert landscapes of the Middle East. During the 1930s a number of the villagers migrated to Colombia and today Spanish is just as likely to be heard spoken amongst its hacienda dwellings as Arabic. After lunch we will then drive on to the old town of Taybeh, the last allChristian community left on the West Bank. We will have time to visit the Church of St George as well as look around some of the old town before finishing the day with a visit to the fascinating little brewery. Tonight we will enjoy the hospitality of the church’s guesthouse. Approx 4-5 hrs walking (including stops) Taybeh Guesthouse or similar (B,L,D)
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Day 5: Ain Samia - Al Auja

Transferring by road this morning we travel the short distance to Ain Samia, from where we begin our walk towards Al Auja. Representing one of the largest water sources in the Jordan Valley, Al Auja lies amongst a landscape of shepherd’s trails, rocky gorges and aged aqueducts, where orange groves and banana plantations pepper the valley. Considered one of the most beautiful areas in the region, Al Auja is also home to chameleons, rock hyraxes and large flightless crickets. Here we’ll sleep communally in a simple Bedouin camp where facilities are basic but the experience rich and memorable. Approx 5-6hrs walking (including stops). A small amount of scrambling may also be required as some of the terrain is quiet rocky and uneven. Bedouin camp (B,L,D)

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Day 6: To Jericho & The Dead Sea


Departing our camp after breakfast this morning we drive the short distance to Wadi el-Qult, home to hyraxes, gazelle and a stunning 6th century cliff-hanging Orthodox Monastery. From here we’ll walk along the wadi to Jericho, where we take a tour of the city and the nearby attractions of the Dead Sea. The lowest permanently inhabited place on earth, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the world, Jericho is a city with a prestigious history that stretches back to the pages of the Old Testament. This evening we will overnight in a hotel in the city. Approx 1-2hrs walking (including stops) Jericho Resort Villafe or similar (B,L,D)
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Day 7: Walk from Nabi Musa to Mar Saba. Visit Bethlehem and drive to Jerusalem

Departing Jericho early this morning we drive out to Nabi Musa, a site synonymous with the Prophet Moses. Lying on the edge of the Judean Desert, the area is considered one of the most important Muslim pilgrimage sites in Palestine and we aim to walk the 8-10 kms from near here to the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Saba. From here we will then drive on to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, the reputed site of Christ’s birth, before continuing our journey by road onto the city of Jerusalem and the end of our journey. Approx 2-3 hrs walking (including stops) Al Zahra Hotel or similar (B,L,D)

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Day 8: In Jerusalem

Rich in lore, history and religious significance, Jerusalem is a city that evokes the very essence of this intriguing region. With a pedigree that stretches back some three millennia, the city has long been held sacred by the region’s three monotheistic religions. It contains some of the holiest sites in Christendom, the last remnants of the great Temple of Solomon and the tomb of King David himself. It seems fitting therefore that this amazing adventure should end amongst the streets of a city that was once believed to lie at the centre of the world, and one whose very character has been forged by some of the most significant events in human history. We’ll have a morning’s orientation tour with the afternoon left free to discover the delights of this ancient city at leisure. Al Zahra Hotel or similar (B,L,D)

Jerusalem

Jerusalem is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and spiritual places on Earth and central to the three great monotheistic faiths. Watching Christians quietly praying in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jews dancing by the Western Wall and Muslims prostrate before the AlAqsa Mosque is a sight to behold in itself. And the fact that such sights can be found within a few streets of each other adds an energy that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Jerusalem’s architecture has also remarkably resisted time and conflict, which makes it the perfect destination to spend some time weaving between alleys and bustling bazaars. The Old City is surrounded by relics of both the past and present. One of the most visited sites these days is the final resting place of Oskar Schindler, whose accomplishments in WWII were made famous in the film, Schindler’s List, and whose grave has become a sort of pilgrimage site.

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Day 9: Tour ends in Jerusalem


After enjoying a final morning in Jerusalem, the tour ends amongst the bustling streets of Israel’s largest and most vibrant city. (B)

Tour Dossier Notes

Climate – April should be a great time to travel to the Palestinian Territories as the chance of rain is much lower than earlier in the year and yet it is still before the excessive summer heat has kicked in. You can expect daytime temperatures to be in the late ‘teens/early 20s making it an ideal time for walking.

Is this trip for me? – It may sound obvious but these tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. The team at Diesel Adventures can provide the details and expertise you need to help you choose the right trip for you.

Airport transfers– Not included but can be arranged. If you’re booking flights yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers.

Accommodation– As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this trip we will be in a combination of small Palestinian owned hotels, homestays, a guesthouse and a Bedouin camp.

Guides – Full services of a Tour Leader with local guides and drivers.

Meals – In most cases a “Full Board” Meal plan as detailed in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with the majority of meals being taken in local restaurants where viable. Plus bottled drinking water as required

Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, we can arrange if possible and these would be at your own expense.

Visas – We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then can request for this to be arranged for you. If you need any advice with visas just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as CIBT can assist.

Airport taxes – If there are any departure taxes to pay that are not included within the cost of your ticket, these are at your expense.


Please note that there is more detailed tour dossiers available specific to each departure date, contact our Sales team and we would be happy to send these to you