Israel Negev Desert: The Story of How I Set My Inner Adventurer Free
Israel Negev desert is more than just rolling dunes of sand. Look closely between the rocks of the wadis (valleys), and you will find water, maybe even wine. That alone would have made Negev my number one destination, because, in Israel, wine is your all-important beverage – from the blessings read over it under the chupah (wedding canopy) to farewells where we say l’chaim and wish each other well over a shot glass of schnapps. Ask any hot-blooded Israeli man like me and you’ll know, the wines of the Negev vineyards are the best there are!
But the magic of the Israel Negev desert does not stop at its wine route. It is enchanting, not just to those looking for a bit of history, but to those like me – people who travel for the sake of adrenaline – to go seeking the limits of our inner adventurer.
And Israel Negev Desert offers adventure in plenty. I decided to take a jeep ride through the fascinating terrain with a group of European tourists.
There was the option of an open-top jeep (which I passed, because it would be way too uncomfortable to tour a desert without any shade on my head), an air-conditioned jeep (great, but it’s like your own world, and if I am taking a desert trail, I might as well hear and smell it, right?) and a covered jeep, which I took.
Usually the drivers in these jeeps are passionate about the desert that earns them their bread, and talk incessantly about it. It helps to have a translator with you because while I understood his Hebrew, the rest of the party didn’t. Of course, the terrain more than made up for that – and this is a route for bravehearts because the desert is unforgiving, relentless in its dips and turns, and steep where you wouldn’t expect it to be.
If you are up for it, you can also take a cycling trip through the desert. This kind of desert touring is only for those who can take the stress of biking through the bleak desert landscape, stopping only by the magnificent Ramon crater, or in a Bedouin camp for meals or at Mt. Boker for panoramic views of the desert.
Having pushed my stamina to the limit hiking through the breathtaking Ramon crater – one of the many makhteshim (erosion craters) in the area, I chose what I thought was a more relaxed activity – sand surfing. Dror Bamidbar offers to teach you to navigate the sand on surfboards and sleds and wraps up the session with some desert coffee served on mats.
When you are done for the day, Negev still offers you something for the night. My guide gave me a few choices. I could go picking fruits at a vineyard at night, or go to the Mitzpeh Ramon jazz club set in the makhteshim. There was also the summer concert featuring Persian and electronic music at the Ezuz village.
Summer in the Israel Negev Desert again next year? Of course!