Nahal Hemar is one of the largest and deepest canyons in Israel and it is only a few kilometers south of Arad. It has a marked trail that begins just off the road from Arad to Dimona and can be done in a day. As you can see in the pictures it is a large dry canyon, but as you progress to the center of the canyon you will find a small fresh water spring which supports some trees, Accacia Horrida. When we were there we even found enough water to get our feet wet. In the last picture you can see from where the canyon got its name, Hemar is clay in English and you can see the moisture from the desert nights has caused the clay to "melt" and drip down the canyon wall.
Not far from Kibbutz Urim, you will a beautiful oasis. The Eshkol National Park offers swimming pools and plenty of activities for the kids. The nearby Besor Scenic Route is wilder and more natural and offer great views, especially in winter and early spring when the flowers are in bloom.
While in Israel it is well worth your while to visit the desert area in the south, one of the best things is meeting the people who have inhabited the area for hundreds of years, the Bedouin. In the past they were nomads, wandering a large area between Jordan, Israel and Egypt, today most stay in one spot. In the pictures here you can see a Bedouin Village that you can see from one of the trails around Arad, some Bedouin herders with their goats and sheep (almost invisible against the background of the rocky terrain, and a Bedouin herder that I met on a trail.
Don't get fooled by the name! While it is bigger than the Little Crater, the Big Crater is much smaller than Ramon Crater. Anyway, here you can find colourful sands and rocks. These are quite popular by the kids.
To get here, take road 225 from Yeroham to the east. The road passes through the crater and the colourful sand are right before the eastern exit of the crater.
See more in the travelogue.
If you are an airplane fan, or you travel with kids around Beer-Sheba, this is the place for you. Here you can find dozens of airplanes and helicopters used by the Israeli air force since 1948. There are also some airplanes used by the Arab air forces, like a MIG-21 flown here by a Syrian defector pilot.
Shown here is the Ace of Aces. This Mirage plane shot down 13 enemy planes. It was sold to the Argentinian airforce but they agreed to give it up for the sake of the museum.
The museum is open Sun-Thu between 8:00-17:00 and Fri 8:00-13:00. There are guides tours in Hebrew, English, French and more.
See more in the travelogue.
Directions: Follow the signs from Beer-Sheba. The museum is a little after the entrance to Qibbutz Hazerim.
One of the popular hiking spots in the south is Ein Avdat. This is an oasis in the middle of the desert, right below the kibuttz of Sde Boker. It is always surprising to see the amount of water and trees and in the middle of the desert. And, of course, the wild animals come here to drink the water.
The Judea desert is full with hiking trails. One of them is Hemar Wadi. It is located west of the southern Dead Sea. Between road number 258 and Newe Zohar.
See more in the travelogue.
The Israeli south part is not all desert, one of the great places to come for wild flowers is the Pura Reserve, a little south of Qityat Gat. The flowers and the colours vary with the season: red anemones in winter, yellow mustard in spring and much more.
Yet another desert hike is Wadi Chatira. You can start the hike in Ein Yorqeam and then keep walking eastward. You will have to climb down this ladder to go into the wadi (notice the green-white trail mark next to the ladder).
Ein Yorqeam is one the more accessible, but still "off the beaten path", places you can go to in the desert. The name is a little misleading as it's not a source. During the winter you can find rain water there, but it's completely dry in the summer.
To get here, take road 225 from Yerucham eastwards, through the Big Crater (Makhtesh Gadol). After 17 km, you should reach the junction with road number 206 where you should take a right turn. After about one km you'll see the sign for Mezad Yorqeam or Ein Yorqeam. On the way, do not forget to stop and admire the colourful sands right before the exit from the Big Crater.
We did a mountain bike ride of two days, this was our campsite. You just might notice all the trees .................................................
And if you don't see the trees, that means your eyesight is okay. There are NO trees, NO shrubs, NO water. Whatever you need, you truly must carry on your back, or in a 4 wheel drive vehicle. We used a support vehicle to carry our tents and extra water here.
Bring your own, or rent, or even borrow a mountain bike and take a ride in the desert. Most people I talk to have never ridden in a desert, they ride only in tree covered areas and the change for them is a real treat.
This is a small area next to the town of Yeruham. I march it is covered with this rare Iris flower, and some other blooming plants.
This plant is called a "Tsalaf" in Hebrew (Caper in English) and you can find it in many spots, but most of them in hard to reach places, like jutting out of a small crack in a dry canyon wall.
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