The south area of Israel is known as the Negev- the desert of Israel.
The interesting landscape of the desert, with the different textures and colors, has always been a point of attractions for many tourists. .
With the Coronavirus, the city of Tel Aviv, which was always the place you go to for fun, seemed suffocating more than ever. Being quarantined in my small apartment was not fun I’ll tell you that, and I knew I had to get out of town!
As soon as the government allowed traveling and the opening of natural parks I decided to explore the Negev with a friend who is also a tour guide and two tourist friends!
There was only one problem, hotels were still closed! I was desperate to leave the city so I decided that this little city mouse would camp for the first time everrrr!
I survived this adventure and now I can give you all the tips and details for a great trip in the Negev.
A trip to the Negev for everyone to enjoy!
You can visit the Negev in a two-three day trip and see quite a lot.
We chose to explore the Negev on a two-day trip and even came back to places we really liked the last time.
What’s great about the Negev is that you can get to most viewpoints with a car and the trails are relatively easy and are suitable for families o someone like me who’s out of shape after this quarantine.
Important tip – Download the map of the area on Google Maps because there is no reception in many places.
Visit the Negev during the winter is great because you don’t suffer under the hot desert sun but the nights are especially cold so take it into consideration. If you camp in the crater, it’s less cold.
What to wear for a trip in the Negev?
Whatever you want!
The routes in the Negev are light and do not require special outfits. I was doing the trails in skirts or shorts and for the night time, we brought warm pajamas.
Oh, and black tights are a big no-no because they’ll become dusty every time you sit down.
What’s so great about the Negev?
Besides of all the places you’ll visit in the Negev, what makes it special is the vibes of the place.
For two days we disconnected from our phones (except for some calls to the dogsitter) and it just felt like we were in a different world.
After working from home and living in Zoom these two days gave us new strengths and energies.
Negev Camping Trip
In October 2020 we went on a two-day camping trip and camped at the Night Park Be’erot of The Nature and Parks Authority.
Be’erot Night Park is located inside of the Ramor crater so it’s less cold at night compared to Mizpe Ramon.
You can book this campground and other on the Nature and Parks Authority website.
The entrance fee is 100 NIS (per tent) and you can rent mattresses for 10 NIS on the website and sometimes in the campground (if the place is not packed, like the time we were there).
In the campground, you can put your tent under the shaded areas.
There are benches and picnic tables, places to barbeque, and of course toilets and showers that were very surprisingly comfortable.
There is also a small grocery store with coffee and the employees of the Nature and Parks Authority can give you recommendations on trails, etc.
I didn’t sleep very well, but it had to do with the campsite. .
Watch Stories from our trip here.
Negev Trip at Silent Arrow
In July 2019, we went on a two-day trip and spend the night at the dormitory tents of Silent Arrow in Mitzpe Ramon.
Silent Arrow is located just off the road, but when you arrive you forget that you are anywhere near civilization.
The area is surrounded by the desert dunes where you can go up to stargazing or just shout your lungs out. You can also practice shooting with a bow and arrow!
This place has huge tents with comfortable mattresses, heating and heavy blankets. We slept in a private tent for just the three of us. There is a kitchen with dishes (salt, oil, etc.) and comfortable private toilets and showers.
50 Shades of Brown - View Points in the Negev
At Avnon View point you’ll get 360 degrees of desert, desert and some more desert.
This is my favorite spot but it’s only because we got to watch camels stroll around just inches away from us.
These are not camels like the ones in Kfar Hanokdim or in the different pit stops where people try to make money of them. These camels probably belong to one of the Bedouins in the area and just walked around without a saddle or anything.
For someone like me to see animals walking in the wild like I’m on safari it was an amazing experience.
Needless to say, we didn’t get too close to camels so we won’t spook them, and of course, we didn’t feed them. Still, the camels seemed very comfortable walking so close to us and I of course almost fainted when one of them got super close to us while we were sitting on the cliff.
To get to the lookout you’ll need to put Yeruham on Waze and just drive straight all the time, across the city of Yeruham until you basically get to its end. Then get on the dirt road and continue straight till you see the little hill. . Then you can just park and go up the small hill or enjoy the view at the bottom.
Ben Gurion’s Tomb National Park in Sde Boker is a place I keep coming back to.
No, I don’t have a thing for graves, but I do have an animal thing. The tomb is located on a cliff with a beautiful view on Ramat Abdat and Nahal Zin but the entire area is surrounded by green parks where you can see ibexes walk around freely.
Be ready with your cameras because you won’t be able to stop taking their pics. And I’m pnly saying that because when I arrived I ran out of space on my iPhone.
Of course, there’s also the historical significance of the place. So here’s some background for you – Ben Gurion lived in Tel Aviv (in the avenue that was named after him), but later in life, our David fell in love with Sde Boker and asked the residents f the area to move there.
They played hard to get and initially refused because they wanted to preserve their simple lifestyle. But eventually, they agreed and Ben Gurion was buried there with his wife.
In the beautiful park, you will find trees that provide shade and you can have a picnic there, play frisbee and more.
Hiking in skirts - Trails in the Negev
Ein Ovdat is a national park with a beautiful oasis resting beneath a rocky cliff.
The route in Ein Abdat is either one way or back and forth. You can reach the small pool in half an hour and return to the car or continue for about two hours and end up at the top of the canyon. In that case, you’ll need someone to pick you up from there.
On the way, you’ll have some shady spots where you can rest but you can’t eat or go into the water at any point!
Entrance – 20-30 NIS.
These are 3 places you can see in the Ramon Crater Saharonim trail (right next to the Be’erot campsite).
From the Saharonim parking lot, you’ll walk around half an hour (unless you have a 4X4 and then you drive farther up) to the starting point of the different trails. Right at the trailhead you will find a huge tree that will provide you with shade and you can rest there after you walk down.
The different trails in Saharonim vary from 2 to 6 hours or even longer. Of course we chose…?
The two-hour round-trip route to Harut Hill.
Another optional route was a two to three-hour circular route to Haurt Hill, then coming down through Ardon and returning to the trailhead.
The different trails in Saharonim vary from 2 to 6 hours or even longer.. Of course, we chose …..? The shortest route, dah.
We left for the track at 9 am which is already late as far as I’m concerned (especially since you usually get up at sunrise but we just took our sweet time).
The trail is not really two hours since the first half hour we just walked from the parking lot to the starting point of the trail. From there, you will walk and then have a short climb (about 15 minutes) up the rocks to the top of the hill.
Going up is not difficult, kids do it, adults do it. And most importantly- I did it!
Along the way, you can enjoy the different textures and insane colors of the desert.
At the top, you will have some wind but there is no shade. There you will see the crater, Mount Ardon and Ramat Saharonim.
Dessert in the Desert - Stopping Points in the Negev
Ben Gurion’s tomb in Sde Boker is a point I return to on every trip to the Negev.
No, I don’t have a thing for graves, but I do have an animal thing. The tomb is located on a cliff with a view Spectacular on Ramat Abdat and Nahal Zin but the entire area is surrounded by green areas where yalim travel freely.
Get their cameras ready because you can’t stop filming them. And I’m saying that because when I arrived I ran out of space on my iPhone.
And of course it’s hard to ignore the historical significance of the place. So that’s how for general knowledge – it’s true that every Tel Aviver knows Ben Gurion Boulevard, including Ben Gurion’s house, but later in life David fell in love with Sde Boker and asked the residents to move there.
They played hard to get and initially refused because they wanted to preserve Their simple lifestyle. But eventually they agreed and Ben Gurion was buried there with his wife.
In the beautiful park you will find trees that provide shade and have a picnic, play frisbee and more.
Yeruham Lake is an artificial lake built in 1953 for beauty purposes but also as part of a water irrigation system. .
You can have a picnic in the area and watch the different water birds that usually come in winter.
In the Negev, you will find two archaeological sites preserving the relics of the ancient Nabatean cities.
The Nabatean People wandered the Negev region around 300 BC and at some point accepted Christianity so you will see churches among the relics.
You can see the Nabatean city of Shivta or visit the Mamashit National Park which is a national heritage site.
Entrance to Shivta: free of charge
Entrance to Mamashit National Park: 20-30 NIS
The Minsara is an interested stopping point in which you can walk up to the top of a hill made up of sandstones (quartzite) that look like wooden slabs sawn in the carpentry.
This interesting geological phenomenon occurred as the sandstones were melted by hot magma and in the process of cooling down cracks were formed and the rocks were shaped like wooden slabs.
There’s a floating bridge around the hill from which you can see the interesting stones without destroying anything.
Ruch, Even, Mayim is a nice stop with a pool that fills with rainwater so it’s best to arrive while it has water.
You can have a picnic (of course while keeping it clean) but there’s not too much to do other than that.
The Minsara is located right next to it.
Mandatory stop. Yes.
On the way to the Negev or back it is highly recommended to stop for a refreshing and delicious ice cream in Golda.
After hiking to Harut hill with the sun burning, we stopped for some gas and saw the sign that reads “Golda”. Their vegan ice cream brought me back to life!
There’s also an Aroma for those of you who need cold coffee.