Located in Western Asia, Israel is a country which boasts of extremely ancient and rich histories, equally wide ranging geographical terrains and various kinds of traveling experiences from religious tourism, to historical and archaeological trips, and different avenues of adventure traveling. In Southern Israel is the desert region of Negev. The Negev Desert occupies more than half of Israel’s total area. It is easily connected by roads from the airports of neighboring cities of Tel Aviv and Eliat. Within the wide yellow and rocky expanses of Negev are hidden several traveling options for different kind of visitors.
Negev provides endlessly stretching lands replete with rocks and sand. The wild and uninhabited lands and the complete peace that the desert offers is as far removed from busy city life as is possible. There are many kinds of sightseeing as well as adventure activities available that one can undertake. But this in no way implies that this intimidating and desolate terrain is all that Negev has to offer. Within the wide expanses of Negev one can find several archaeological marvels. Besides these remains and ruins, the sparkling water bodies, seasonal spring, vineyards, and lush wilderness found in some areas of the desert make up for a sharp distinction and a respite.
There are many adventure activities for which the terrain of Negev is imminently suitable. From off-roading, to hiking, mountain biking, or desert-camping you can opt from a wide array of options depending on your disposition. Many overnight campgrounds are made available across the Negev desert. To spend your nights among the sand ridden surroundings, removed from signs of modern civilizations, to feel the quiet and silence, are all experiences which staying overnight in a desert is bound to leave you with. You can opt from different camps depending on the kind of experience you want, for instance you can stay in camps situated near the water bodies of the desert.
To see the extremely lush patches of greenery amid the arid deserts provides for a fascinating sight. If you are more historically inclined you can go with such campgrounds as the Moa. Asides from all the quintessentially desert experiences, this site is also steeped in history as it was originally a travelling Inn some 2000 years ago. You can observe the breathtaking views available in the deserts, with sands as far as the eyes can see and bonfires in night, clear star ridden skies.
Hiking among various trails in Negev is a popular tourist activity. If you want more adrenalin inducing pursuits you can opt for off-road drives, or mountain biking too. Ein Avdat figures as a famous hiking trail, owing to its scenic settings. The steep canyon, refreshing water body, the surprisingly well to do flora, presence of native fauna, make up for a beautiful location, worth exploring on foot.
Nahal Lavan or White Stream provides several suitable settings for off-road safaris across its banks. Starting from Mount Lavan, crossing ancient cities like that of Shivta, various cliffs, sand dunes, water reservoirs, and historical ruins it provides for a fascinating exploratory tours of the places otherwise not easily accessible. Borot Lutz, a picturesque and vibrant cistern in the rocky expanses of Negev makes for stunning hiking trails.
The brown and yellow of the sands is carpeted with profusion of flowers such as tulips. There are many naturally abundant, geologically fascinating or archaeologically significant trails available for more adventurous sort of travelers.
The history of human settlements in Negev can be traced back to some 7000 years ago. From Nomadic people to Byzantine, Islamic and British influences, Negev has seen it all. It has great historical and religious significance, as it figures in various stories of Bible too. The Avdat ruins are the ruins of Nabataean city dating as far back as 4th century BC. The ruins here illustrate the ancient methods of irrigation that were developed and employed for agriculture.
This city and ruins are also important owing to their connection to the Nabataean Incense Route, which is a UNESCO World Heritage designated route in Negev. During the 3rd cent BC and later this route was very significant trade wise, and was used to transport spices and incense form east. Cities located along the Incense Route include those of Mamshit, Shivta, Avdat, Haluza to name a few. All of these places thus become significant from a historical point of view, and make for Negev’s tourist attractions.
Mikdash HaNemerism or The Tigers temple located in Avdat is also an impressive site; these ruins dating back to 5th century BC were built by semi-nomadic societies. The Lost City as it is popularly known is located between Ro’eh Park and Hagai Observation Point. Dating back to 6th century BC, these extensive remains, the stone structures, and rock engravings all make up for a perfect exploratory trips located among striking hills.
There are many cultural offerings in Negev. Various museums within this region shed light on different aspects of the religious, industrial or artistic influences on Negev. The Glass Art Museum for instance showcases a remarkable collection of artworks made of glass. These glass art pieces are of various colors and styles, and make up for a different sort of sightseeing. The Negev Museum of Art, Israeli Air Force Museum, Omer Industrial Park, Cochin Jewish Heritage Museum are some other museums and centers worth visiting, which illuminate cultural aspects and past of Negev and Israel.
The deserts of Negev also boast of a unique geological phenomenon, as they are home to 5 out of only 7 Makhtesh worldwide. Commonly called as craters these are landforms that result due to erosion over a span of time. A deep valley is surrounded by steep walls made of rocks, and this forms a Makhtesh. The largest within Negev is the Makhtesh Ramon. The rocks in this Makhtesh contain fossils of mollusks that became extinct some 200 million years ago. Other Makhtesh include Makhtesh Gadol, and Makhtesh Katan among others.
Negev in Israel consists of desolate terrains but equally rich and colorful span of lands. The immensely vast and varied historical, archaeological, geological, adventure and natural trajectories of Negev make for a diverse and brilliant traveling spot.