Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

Half of Israel’s land area is made up of the Negev Desert, which covers the southern part of the country. Despite being a barren and dry landscape, tourists are often caught by surprise by the different exciting activities to try here.

Below are the best things to do in the Negev Desert on your next trip to Israel:

Experience Bedouin Hospitality in Its Most Authentic Form

As part of the authentic Bedouin tradition, a small cup of coffee welcomes guests as they sit in a tent on the ground with hot coals burning away in a fire pit. The village elders will be more than happy to tell you how life is in a Bedouin village.

Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

Don’t be surprised if you see kids running around in bare feet. They were taught early on to walk around without shoes so they could get used to the desert rocks and heat. 

You might even be lucky to see how the village elders prepare libbe, or traditional charcoal bread, by forming dough into a thick circle. They bury it under the hot coals and let it bake in the heat and ash. You will also be served hot tea and dates while waiting for the bread to cook.

This authentic Bedouin hospitality will let you see how warm and welcoming these people are to visitors in their area. 

Discover the Beauty of Ein Avdat

Natural springs are found all over the Negev Desert. Ein Avdat is a park filled with natural pools of water formed by a waterfall found in the deep canyon that water has carved out. It is an important source of life for both the huge poplar trees and desert animals.

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Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

Just remember, however, that you are not allowed to swim in the pools because these are exclusively reserved for wildlife. You will love the fact that it is located right in the heart of the desert, with sand and rocky hills surrounding it, making it a true oasis amid the Negev Desert. 

The area has two entry points: the upper and lower parking lots. You can start your exploration at the lower lot and circle back to your vehicle. The hike is fairly easy, but make sure you bring lots of water with you because it can get hot in the area and there is not a lot of shade available. 

Rappel Down the Crater Cliffs

This next adventure is not for people with a fear of heights. You also need the assistance of a certified guide so you can rappel. The activity itself only takes place in an authorized area on the crater wall.

Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

After you are outfitted with the necessary gear, your guide will lock you in and give you instructions. Lean back off the cliff and slowly rappel down the side of the cliff with a long, straight drop-off.

Gaze at the Stars 

The Makhtesh Crater is the ideal spot for stargazing, as long as you have the right equipment. The small number of people and cars, the absence of streetlights, and the little light pollution allow you to get a clear view of the night sky.

Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

You can hire a guide so you can start your evening with a cozy campfire and an extensive explanation of the solar system and beyond. Your guide will also point out some astrological symbols in the stars and cap it off with roasted marshmallows before the telescopes are brought out. 

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The powerful telescope will be set up to give you a glimpse of different parts of the wide sky. You can witness the planets, and if you are lucky, you might even see some shooting stars dashing through the sky. The Negev Desert is truly one of the best places on Earth for stargazing.

Swim in the Dead Sea 

Your trip to Israel will be incomplete if you don’t take a dip in the popular Dead Sea. Visitors are allowed to swim or float in designated areas. Take note, however, that if you visit in the summer, the place might be closed off because of the heat.

Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

If you do want to go swimming, see to it that you don’t have any open wounds on your body because the heavily salinated water might cause pain. Make sure you also wear an old bathing suit because the water might destroy the fabric if you put on a new one.

Explore Makhtesh Ramon on a Jeep

Makhtesh Ramon, or Ramon Crater, is a crater formed by erosion, not impact. Ocean waters once filled the 250-year-old crater. Out of the seven Makhtesh Craters, Israel is home to five of them.

Travel to Israel: Best Things To Do in the Negev Desert

The Makhtesh Ramon crater found in the Negev Desert in the southern part of Israel is an enormous one with lots of things to do and see around the crater for visitors. 

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One of the best ways to explore the crater is to go on a jeep tour. The guides will stop along the way and point out different interesting facts about Makhtesh Ramon. These guides are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and they will be more than happy to tell you everything they know.

You can also watch out for fossils in the area and learn their ages; some date back to 250 million years ago. However, these fossils are not allowed to be kept because all of them are part of the preserve. You need to leave them where they are for the next visitors to find and admire them. 

The jeep tour will wind up and down the hill and through the desert, over huge rocks and areas that used to be water streams formed by flash floods. You can look forward to a cozy tour because the Jeep tours are always stocked with refreshments and lots of water to help you cool off. 

These are just some of the best things to do in the Negev Desert. The next time you find yourself on Israeli soil, don’t miss the chance to visit this wonderful natural scenery.


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