You can’t do everything! When planning a trip to Israel, you my be told, or tell yourself that some-thing has to go; you can’t possibly do everything in just 7, 10, or 14 days. Jerusalem has its Holy Sites, Tel Aviv its cultural importance; The Galilee bursts with beauty and historical importance, whilst the Golan Heights offers its visitors a unique look at modern Israel.
For all these reasons, so many visitors to Israel will venture as far south as Masada, and return to road 90 northward for the remainder of their stay.
Why is it then, that the Negev gets overlooked so often when building an itinerary? It’s true that the heat of the summer is enough to put off even the hardiest of travelers, but that intense heat last for just a few months and from October through May the temperature ranges from bearably hot to on-the-chilly-side.
So, it must be that there isn’t much to do there. Wrong again. with attractions ranging from hands-on tasting tours at ground breaking farms, to alpaca farms, to jeep safaris, to unrivaled landscapes, to coral reef there is plenty to keep every member of your group interested.
Well, in that case, it must be that the Negev isn’t important enough for a visit. For many people a visit to Israel isn’t just a holiday; it is a vacation with a meaning and this is the reason that folks trek from historical site to archaeological remains, from national park to museums and galleries. It’s true that when you look at a map the area south of Beer Sheva looks pretty empty, but in this half-a-country there are marks of every period of history, not to mention incredible testimony to the advances in technology and development made by modern Israelis.
Okay, okay, so you’re thinking about including the Negev in your next trip; what exactly is so worth-while? The list places to visit is varied and immense, but for a taste, why not consider:
- Climbing through the ancient copper mines in Timna Park; and whilst you’re there visit King Solomon’s Pillars.A visit to Timna can be a couple of hours or a couple of days, with camping and biking available.
- Rappelling down the cliffs of the Ramon Crater, or jeeping through the geological wonderland of the crater floor.
- Visit Sde Boker to see the humble house of David Ben Gurion and visit his grave.
- Hike through the Negev and the Eilat Mountains using the marked paths or in the many National Parks
- See and if you wish, swim with the dolphins in Eilat
- Take a tasting tour through the greenhouses of the Salad Trail
- Tour the first Israeli outposts in the Negev, seeing how they bought water, protected and supported themselves.
- Travel along the ancient Nabatean Spice Route – camels are optional.
- Taste the local produce as you visit local wineries and learn the secrets of desert viticulture.
My point, my dear readers is this: The Negev has a ton to offer, in addition to the relaxing shores of the Red Sea. Give it some thought, and maybe your next trip to Israel could be southward bound.
Written by Jo Lane, Gordon Active Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide