You can find Drejat just to the north of Highway 31, which links Beer-Sheva and Arad. It is on a road that has at this point in time no official number yet. The turnoff to Drejat is just about a kilometer before the entrance to Kuseifa. The kids, like in most places, were the friendliest of all, just take a look at the first two photos, the eyes of the girl in the center of the first photo will destroy boyfriends in the near future don't you think !!
I was lucky enough to make friends with Wafa, the girl you can see in the last two photos and she invited me to visit with her and her family in their homes, her brothers home, her mothers home and her grandmothers home, all accepted me and made me welcome. It was a pleasure to speak with her grandmother and learn a little about her life (Wafa had to translate for me since I sadly do not speak Arabic and her grandmother only speaks Arabic).
All in all a wonderfully enlightening day.
We visited this fairly new Arab village that is only a few kilometers west of Arad as part of a project called "Du-Kium" or Mutual Living. The program was designed to let both Arabs and Jews learn about each others cultures by inviting them into each others villages.
This village was an "illegal" village for many years...what does that actually mean. It means that the first settlers (about 10 years ago) moved here without permission to settle in this spot, squatters in other words. After several years of discussions with the government agencies that handle this type of thing the Drejat people were given permission. Today Drejat is a fully accepted village. When they first moved here they did not construct buildings, but lived in caves as you can see from the first photo this woman opened her door so I could photograph her living room. The second photo shows both cave entrances and the new homes beginning to be built here. The third photo shows our group with Drejat villagers walking the streets of the village and the last photo shows our meeting after having toured the village.
This artificial lake is located outside the town of Yeruham, and is a good spot for picnic because of the trees that are planted around. In fact this is probably one of the only shady points you can find within kilometers and there is also taps with running water for your use there.
Ein Yokniam is a small riverbed, usually dry, called "nahal" in Hebrew. Only a short walk from the parking area are some beautifully carved rocks and cliffs, formed from the flow of water (what little there is) and the action of wind and sand. I took Malena for a visit there and we found the perfect place to sit and take a photo as you can see.
Ein Yokniam is easy to reach, you take highway 25 east till you reach the junction of highway 206, take 206 south till you reach highway 225 which turns west (that will be on your right). From this point it is only a few hundred meters till you reach the parking area on your left.
The walk is only 15 minutes and well worth it.
Just south of Beer Sheva, along highway 40, you will find a desert wilderness of sand dunes, some scrub trees and lots of ants...it seems they enjoy the wide open spaces of the desert and they thrive here. You can see in the pictures that it is very easy to find their homes, you will find a very wide "trail" carved out of whatever material is covering the sand...Just be careful you do not interrupt their trail, they will attack and their bite is worse than their bark.
Nahal Rahaf is a beautiful dry gorge running from near Arad to the Dead Sea. In the middle of a desert people do not expect to find wildlife or plant life. But in this area the valleys provide pockets in the shade of the cliffsides where water can be found even in summer. This is where you will find the "congregation" of wildlife, like this tiny desert mouse that I caught on film when he came out to try and steal a meal from our picnic.
The Tristamit is the most intellingent bird I have encountered in our desert. They will sit near you at a picnic or when you stop to rest on a hike. They will slowly edge closer till they are able to "strike" and pick up some of your food, even if it may be in your hand. They will of course steal from your plates on the table if you are not watchful. They are beautiful to watch and if you are lucky you may even coax one to eat from your hand.
Nahal Rahaf a dry gorge running from near Arad all the way to the Dead Sea was a wonderful place for us to find some peace and quiet on Independence Day 2007.....as you can see in teh pictures, Giora and I took our time to enjoy a cold beer. We found some shade in the lee side of a cliff overhang which was, even in the heat of day, still cooler from the night. This area is a "mecca" for mountain climbers since the lower section has 7 dry waterfalls, the largest of which is about 50 meters
Nahal Kaniem, found just west of Arad and sloping east towards the Dead Sea is one of the many dry canyons in Israel. Water is to be found there only during rainy season (when it usually floods if there is enough rain) or cached in pockets that have been carved out of the rock over the centuries. But this is enough water for the plants that have adapted and made their home in the dry desert. As you can see here in these pictures many species thrive under these conditions and the waterholes that provide the extended period of watering them until the dry season makes ALL surface water disappear.
Here at Mamshit, one of the ancient city ruins of the Nabateans, you can find each year in the spring a Bedouin Market. It is sent up at the entrance to the National Park of Mamshit and for a single fee you get entry to the Park and to the Market. There are activities for children, concerts, arts and crafts, music and even local foods. You can pick up a few souveniers to take home, but beware of the elevated prices, the few items I checked can be found elsewhere for less than half the price they were asking.
After you finish at the market, don't forget to take a tour of the ruins.
Xiao was telling me with a circular motion of her finger around her ear that she is a crazy tourist, running around in the desert trying to catch up with those camels you can see in the background to take their picture !!!!
But no, need to tell the truth here, she was telling ME that I am crazy for photographing HER taking pictures while she was running after the camels.
And YES, this IS QUITE COMMON BEHAVIOUR for people who come to visit us, and have never seen camels loose, just wandering around...
As you can see in the next picture, both Vere and Julie were going to "get their camels" also, no matter if they had to run after them across the entire desert of southern Israel
If your are in our southern desert hiking or even in Arad, you may see this beautiful raptor. This small member of the Falcon family makes its home in the cliffs in the surrounding mountainous desert. I have even seen them occassionally make their homes on rooftops of tall buildings. I have seen them in all seasons hovering looking for their prey. This one posed for me just outside our house. Tried getting closer for a better picture, but I guess he figured enough was enough.
Susia is an ancient Jewish settlement from the second century here in the southern Hebron mountains. Up to a few years ago this site was protected and developed by the Israeli Parks Authority. Today it is in what is called Palestine and I have no idea of its present state.
Some parts of the walls and columns have been restored and a roof placed over the most important find, the mosaic floor seen in the second picture.
Nahal Aboov is a short desert canyon hike that is an easy family hike. The trail starts just a few kilometers south of Arad and follows the Aboov canyon till it exits at the edge of highway 258. This is a picture of one of the walking sticks who decided that he was too tired to walk and hitched a ride on my shirt. If you have never seen one of these giant walking sticks they can be quite "surprising", this one was about 12 centimeters long, its name is Eremoplana Infelix and is the largest of the type here in Israel.
Because of the nature of the soil which is high in clay content you will often find "pictures" in the clay here. From the simple layering of the dried clay as you see in the first two pictures to the "fish eye" that is formed with the help of a nest of a parasitic wasp. The last picture shows evidence of the life to be found in the canyon because of the fresh water spring there. The track is from a mountain Ibex.
We choose this hotel for a 2 nights stay in Eilat and it turned out that this was a very good...more
Mobile Post Dead Sea, Arad, 86910, Israel
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Nahal Nikrot 4, Mizpe Ramon, 80600, Israel
Good for: Couples