The Negev Desert accounts for over half of the total land area of Israel. Its undulating dunes and beautiful rock formations, coupled with those that have made it home, plants, animals, and, of course man, make the Negev one of Israel’s largest hidden treasure chests. Often missed from the itinerary of tourists, the Negev has some amazing places to see, and things to do, here is our pick.
Masada is famous. Majestically placed alongside the Dead Sea which sits beneath it, the climb to Masada at sunrise traditionally walked via the ‘Snake Path’ is somewhat of an Israeli institution, with the beautiful ruins at the top symbolic of the Jewish heroism that this site represents. Today, the alternative route to the top of Masada is via cable-car, and many visitors go up one way, and down the other. The experience, the scenery, and the symbolism of this site mean it is somewhere not to miss on your trip to Israel.
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2. Ramon Crater
Deeper into the Negev is the Ramon Crater, one of three unique makhteshim, erosional cirques that can be found in Israel. These landforms can only be found in the Negev and Sinai deserts, and the Ramon Crater (in hebrew Makhtesh Ramon) is the largest of these. Originally believed to have been the result of a meteor strike with the earth, they were actually formed many thousands of years when oceans covered the land. From the visitors center, stare in awe across the beautiful landscape and understand the geology and science behind the crater, or, in person, perhaps with the aide of an Israel tour guide, explore the crater for yourself.
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3: Negev Jeep Tours
A Negev Jeep Tour enables you to explore deeper into the desert than would likely otherwise be possible. With the aide of a guide, you will have an adventure as you climb and descend the dunes, travel through the wadis (dried desert streams), and maybe hike a little as you go where even the jeep cannot, as well as educational experience as you start to understand how the wonders of nature have created such a magnificent landscape, and as you see some of the flora and fauna that survive in this inhospitable climate.
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4: Timna Park
One of the great national parks of the Negev, Timna occupies a horseshoe shaped-valley about 25km north of Eilat, Israel’s southern-most city. The park includes Mount Timna which is the world’s oldest copper mine, Solomon’s Pillars, towering sandstone columns that were actually formed by nature, not, as you might have thought, by man, and a lake, in which you can explore by pedal boat. Criss-crossed by hiking trails, Timna is a fascinating place and offers safe surroundings for you to explore the desert.
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5: Events in the Negev
Israelis are proud of the natural beauty their country offers and take advantage of this, regularly planning and hosting events in the depths of the desert. Whether it be opera at Masada, a music festival, dance event, or sporting challenge, the Negev is brimming with amazing things to do, in places you might not expect.
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