Southern Negev Attractions
1. Ein Yorke'am- Ein Yorke'am is a small Oasis, in the center of the Negev. In winter and spring there is there, a pretty big fresh water pool (and clean), that you can swim in it.
the trail which lead to the pool is beautiful! On the way, you can see several kinds of landscape and trees, and shaped rocks by the wind and water. after a third of a mile walking (500 Meters), suddenly, you enter to a gorge which will lead you to the pool.
It's a really nice experience of walking in the desert, in an area which is dryer than Ein Gedi (If you've been there).
2. Ein (or En) Avdat National Park- Ein Avdat (Ein= Spring), so the meaning of the name in Hebrew is "The spring of Avdat".
This Oasis is located near the Nabatean City - Avdat, our next spot in the journey.
Three things are very unique in Ein Avdat:
2.1. A beautiful waterfall over the year. The waterfall and the pool, which is swimmable, are getting their water from three springs in the area.
2.2. on the slope of the canyon, you can see Monks’ caves, from the Byzantine period, which sought seclusion, and they overlook the canyon.
2.3. Euphrates poplar grove: a large and impressive grove of Euphrates poplars, trees whose main distribution in Israel is along the River Jordan.
From the car parking to the waterfall, it's around 10 minutes' walk, very easy one.
Link to Ein Avdat National Park website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/en-avdat-national-park-2/
3. Avdat National Park- In the heart of the desert, on a hilltop above the stream of the Tsin (which is dry, most of the year), are the impressive remains of an ancient Nabataean city- Avdat.
Avdat, which was declared by UNESCU as a World Heritage Site, was the main city in the trade path between Petra and the port of Gaza. Its location, make it easy to defend, and gave them a lot of opportunities of farming in the valley. They Built dams in the valley in order to collect the rain water's floods at Winter and even a Spa compound in the bottom of the slope, to delight the convoys (And make money from it), without let them enter to the city itself.
In the excavation, which had been made there in the 50's of the 20 Century, the Archaeologists found remains from three periods:
3.1. Nabataean- A Nabataean temple from the year 268 AD (they found an Inscription in the entrance of the temple which remark this year), and part of a military camp (which we are not sure if it's belong to the Roman period or earlier.
3.2. Roman's Period- Burial Caves from the 3rd century AD, very impressive, with names of women which served as the priests of Aphrodite and buried there, and, an observation tower supported by stone arches from 294 AD.
3.3. Byzantine Period (After the Nabataean convert to Christianity) - Entire neighborhood with water cisterns, pretty big fortress, two baptisteries (baptisteriums in Latin), the Spa area from the 4th Century AD, five wine press, and Caves which were used as storerooms, and two Churches.
Link to Avdat website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/avdat-national-park/
4. Bedouin Hospitality- In this area of the Central of the Negev, there are several Authentic places, which we can be hosted by one of the Bedouin Tribes leaders in their tents.
It's a very interesting experience, to see how they live, to hear their problems, to drink coffee and to learn their culture and habits.
In some places you can even get lunch, see the local folklore, and buy local things they produce- such as carpets from camel's and goat's hair, and other things.
Of course, you have to coordinate every visit, in advance.
5. Alpaca Farm- In the Middle of the desert, a man with a vision, decided to establish an Alpaca Farm. He import several Alpacas and Llamas (Which are actually small Camelids) that originate from the Andes Mountains in South America. It was in the 80s of the 20 century.
Since then, the enlarge the number of these animals, start with Horseback riding, and other experiences that you can imagine.
This farm is near Mitzpe Ramon, a small town in the middle of the desert, they provide you all the facilities for sleeping, camping or touring the area.
You can learn more about this farm in the attached link of the farm's website: https://www.alpaca.co.il/?lang=en
6. Camel Mountain - A scenic promenade of about 3 kilometers, is a fabulous attraction in Mitzpe Ramon. The promenade begins at the Visitor Center in Mitzpe Ramon and ends at Camel Mountain. Along the promenade there are sculptures and explanations regarding the landscape that you see.
An appropriate time to walk on this promenade is on Sunrise, or on Sunset. The view of the Crater in these times is one of the most beautiful landscape in The Israeli's desert.
One of the thing I recommend is to climb on the Camel Mountain (10 minutes' walk), to the porch the Municipality built there. The Sunrise and the Sunset from there, it's a thing you will remember for years.
7. Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center - On the edge of the cliff above Ramon Crater there is the Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center.
This visitor center, was built and design in a very Unique way. First of all, you enter to the exhibition, on a path which leads you underground, in a corridor which was carved in the rock of the crater. The experience of walking in this corridor, while you surrounded with Rocky walls, gives you the inspire of the Crater.
On the end of the corridor, you'll enter to a big hall which gives you the story of the first Israeli Astronaut- Ilan Ramon. From the hall you enter to an Elevator which will take you to the top of the Space Shuttle (A model of Colombia) which took Ilan Ramon to the space, and crashed on their way back to Earth.
8. The sawmill site- When you driving out from Mitzpe Ramon downhill to the Ramon Crater (which is the biggest crater in the world!!!), After 10 minutes' drive in the Crater you reach to The Sawmill site.
This site is a unique and beautiful geological phenomenon. From the road there is a floated bridge, made of recycled materials, which lead you to a hill, made from sand which is a combination of Quartz, clay soil, and a mineral named Feldspar. The floated bridge was made in order we won't step and damaged the site.
Due to Magma activity in the Crater, the Quartz in the sand got "melted" and turn into a stones which are shaped like a wood that was cut in a sawmill. The site is very Unique, and from the hill you can observe all the area of the crater. Worth to visit!
9. Kibbutz Neot Semadar- Kibbutz Neot Semadar was established in 1989 by a group of friends interested in creating a learning community that focuses on cooperation and creativity in daily life. As individuals in a dynamic community, they explore what it means to live together as co-learners, observing ourselves in everyday activities and relationships. Their interest in relationship extends to the environment through organic farming, desert architecture, water recycling, The Art Center, winery, and more.
The Kibbutz offers you several options of experiences for groups and individuals such as:
9.1. At the heart of Neot Semadar, The Art Center towers above its surroundings. This unique building houses diverse workshops such as: jewelry, pottery, stained glass, paper, weaving and woodwork. The wide range of materials and artistic endeavors allows for interdisciplinary techniques to emerge, creating a variety of unique products. Moreover, it is an opportunity for a person to work and create together with others.
9.2. Kibbutz Neot Semadar’s daily life routine is a continuous journey of observing human relations, the concept of freedom and the ability to create and harmonize with oneself and with the environment.
The participants of the workshop are invited to meet with the local people and actively experience the connection between art, contemplation, creation and collaboration, while learning artistic and original techniques.The workshop takes place at the Arts House – a unique and inspiring architectural building that houses various workshops and art galleries, in an enchanting structure interspersed with gardens and ponds. The workshops are structured to combine actual work in the studio with nature walks allowing your connection to the power of the desert, the silence and the inspiration it inspires.
If you are seeking for something totally different than the routine, you are living- this is the place.
Link to Neot Semadar website is: https://neot-semadar.com/school/about-2/?lang=en
10. Timna Park - Timna Park is one of the Most Beautiful Parks in the World. It is outstanding in its variety of scenic, geological and archaeological sites of global significance. Its acacia trees and other arid-land vegetation, its herds of wild ibex looking out at you from the cliff tops, and its evidence of human activity from antiquity to the present all make Timna Park an incomparable visitor magnet. Various activities await you, including pedal boats on the lake, colored sand bottle craft, making "King Solomon's stamps" and much more – fun for kids and grownups alike. You'll also enjoy the delicacies at King Solomon's Khan restaurant, a souvenir shop and overnight campgrounds. Park Timna is a very large park, it is advisable to reach the park in vehicles rather than on foot!
You’ll also see exciting finds at the Temple of Hathor near the spectacular Solomon’s Pillars, at the Mushroom, the impressive Arches, and of course, the ancient rock-drawings depicting hunters of ostriches and ibexes, Egyptian battle chariots and other images.
This is the first place in the world that they started to mine copper and to shaped it in a very hot oven, there are remains of the ovens and the copper's mines (3000 years old).
Very interesting for kids and adults as well!
Link to Timna Park's website is: http://www.parktimna.co.il/EN/
11. Eilat- Eilat is the Southern city in Israel. The city located on the Northern coast of the Red Sea.
Eilat it's a resort city with a lot of attractions, starting with the Underwater Observatory Park, Dolphin's Reef, water sport, Yachts for rent, boat riding, submarine diving, scuba diving, Jeep tours, camel riding, Eilat's Musical Fountain, Coral Beach, Adventure and extreme Park, Ice Skating, Skydiving, and many more attractions which you can order via the local hotels.
A nice place to spend, at least 3 days.