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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Havat Arundel (Havat is ranch in Hebrew), located in the Arava, a southern desert in Israel, was used first by the Jordanians as a police outpost. Later in 1949 a brigade of Golani troops on their way to Eilat. Again used by Israeli paratroopers in 1956 as a forward post. Since then it has been abandonded and only in 2005 did Karen and Dani Cohen receive permission to establish a 70 dunam ranch here. Today they have plans for commercializing it and having B&B, pub, restaurant and other "attractions".
We visited with our friends Patrick and Lea, just standing in the trench, I could well imagine a soldier there in 1949 or 1956, well before there were other settlements, looking out over the desert and wondering.....
The Nizzana Hillocks are a natural formation and the geologists say "Aeolian sand movement in an arid linear dune ecosystem, Nizzana, Western Negev, Israel"...okay, so now that we have said that, I went there for the beauty of the place and of course to take a few photos.
Almost forgot to mention that you do not need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to reach the Hillocks, there is a road that leads close, then park your car and walk about 500 meters into the desert.
Just at the junction where you turn right to access the Nizzana Hillocks, take a look at the top of the hill to your left, you just may notice the ruins of the Scottish Hospitall above and the few walls and columns that are left of a Nabatean settlement below.
Remember the old saying "if my grandmother had wheels"?
Well that was what popped into my mind when I saw this sign of a camel with wheels and that we should get him to join our mountain bike club ^O^
The Tamarix trees were growing in a small grove (great for a picnic before or after you hike into the Nizzana Hillocks) and were so thick that they had become intertwined.
You can take a step back in history and travel the route that the camel caravans took through Israel to make the business connection between the red city of Petra and the Gaza shipping area. Khan Sharoniem is just one of many sites along this route. But to get there you must travel through many kilometers of unforgiving and dry desert. It is nature at its purest and while it may seem placid, it can be agressive toward those who do not take precautions before entering its environs.
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