Bedouin hospitality experiences including camel riding, Bedouin food, and staying overnight in traditional Bedouin tents are an increasingly popular experience for tourists in Israel. The Bedouins are a group of nomadic tribes who have lived in Israel’s Negev Desert for many hundreds of years. They trace their heritage back to the traders on the ancient Spice Route which crossed the region. Today, many Bedouins in Israel continue to live in traditional ways. More and more are opening up their traditions for the Israeli and international public to see, experience, and understand.
Across the Negev Desert in southern Israel are a number of farms which offer ‘Bedouin hospitality’. While in Israel, this is a must-do experience. These experiences include traditional Bedouin meals, camel rides, and overnight accommodation in traditional Bedouin tents. Amid the peace of the desert, a visit to one of these ‘villages’ provides a fascinating insight into the history and lifestyles of Bedouins in Israel as well as some fun things to do in the Negev.
Camel Riding and Bedouin Hospitality
Many of the Bedouin hospitality villages in Israel offer camel riding as an activity. Camels have been used by the Bedouin tribes and their predecessors for thousands of years. Similarly, they’re a great mode of transport across the desert. Camels can trek the ancient Spice Route from what is now Saudi Arabia to ports on the Mediterranean. Therefore, camels were the primary source of transport for many years. This is due to their ability to walk 40 kiomoeters a day.
Many of Israel’s Bedouins today continue to live semi-nomadic lifestyles. But most have moved beyond such traditional methods of transportation as camels. While an important part of Bedouin tradition and culture, camel rides are a fun activity at the heart of any Bedouin experience. Additionally, they’re great for families and a memory of the desert which will stay with you for a long time. Read more about camel rides in Israel.
Bedouin Cuisine and Hospitality
Bedouin cuisine is a variation of traditional Middle Eastern food, with meat and rice the primary ingredients. Much of this food is eaten using hands and provided in large sharing dishes in the center. While eating, guests sit around on cushions or low chairs. They share the experience under the blanket of the stars or the cover of a traditional Bedouin tent. Of course, Bedouin coffee is in itself particularly famous. It’s similar in many ways to the strong, bitter Arabic coffee from across the Middle East. Unlike the coffee, Bedouin tea is a unique blend of flavors. It comes from mixes of native desert plants which grow naturally in the harsh desert conditions. Most of the Bedouin villages observe kashrut regulations.
Sleeping in Bedouin Tents
Undoubtedly, the ultimate Bedouin experience is, of course, sleeping in the famous Bedouin tents in the peaceful desert. This experience is becoming incredibly popular for groups visiting Israel. But the tents are also popular for celebrations such as weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah tours, and birthdays.
Bedouin Experiences in Israel
There are a large number of centers in Israel offering authentic Bedouin hospitality experiences, here is a selection: