In the Sde Boker Field School there is a collection of desert animals, mainly reptiles.
Our visit there constituted the evening cultural program in the Field School.
We heard an introductory lecture from a local herpetologist, and then went around the glass cages and had a close look at the various snakes.
It's not everyone's cup of tea (or of venom), but interesting.
In the end, if you've had enough of snakes, there are some birds and also a cute little fox in a den!
This is one of my favorite spots in the Negev. A canyon, a spring, a natural pool reflecting the beautifully layered limestone walls, greenery in the middle of the desert, and if you're lucky you can see the ibexes coming down the cliffs for a drink of water.
There is a paved road leading to the entrance of the nature reserve and a car park. From there it's a 10 minute walk. We visited the reserve very early in the morning, and the last part of the road was still closed to vehicles by a barrier (it opens at 8 am), so we walked an extra 20 min to the reserve entrance, which was also enjoyable.
There is a fun climb from Ein Avdat to the Zin Plateau with metal ladders bult into the rock of the canyon walls. It's not hard, and the views are great.
Ben Gurion was one of the men essential in the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. I think that if you could label him the "Father of the Country" you would not be far wrong. He along with a few outstanding others were and ARE still thought of as the founders. When Ben Gurion was in political office, he constantly paraded the Negev Desert as the best place for the future of the country. So much so that he also made his home here at the Sde Boker Kibbutz. He lived very simply in a small wooden home (called a Tsrief in Hebrew) where he played host to visitors from around the world, up until his death. You can visit both his home to see how he lived and a part of his library (the other part is housed in Tel-Aviv) and also visit his gravesite where he is buried with his wife Paula.
Walk along this promenade, on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Tzin Canyon, and be inspired like Ben Gurion by the magnificent views of the canyon; hear the call of the desert; breathe the clear, dry desert air; feel the wind.
If you are lucky you will also see a family of mountain goats with their impressive curved horns, climbing the rocks with an agile step.
The promenade is located right behind Ben Gurion's tomb.
David Ben Gurion died on December 1st, 1973, at the age of 87. His wife Paula had died five years earlier.
Several prime ministers of Israel were buried on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. Ben Gurion chose otherwise. Ben Gurion himself pointed to the site where he wanted to be buried: In Sede Boqer, on the edge of the cliff overlooking the vast Tzin Canyon. No other location could have been more suitable for him: In the heart of the Negev, with a breath-taking view representing Ben Gurion's vision of the Negev being the key to the future of the State of Israel.
The path from the parking lot to the tomb passes through a beautiful garden of desert plants.
The Institute for the Heritage of David Ben Gurion is right next to the tomb, and has an audio-visual show about the life and work of this great leader.
Ben Gurion was the legendary first prime minister of the State of Israel, who played a pivotal role in its creation. When he resigned from office for the first time, in 1953, he declared he would make the young kibbutz of Sede Boqer his home. And so he did. Kibbutz members even had to vote whether to accept him as a member!
Visiting Ben Gurion's wooden hut in the kibbutz makes you admire his greatness, his modesty, his determination, his willingness to lead a spartan life in a remote desert village in order to live his vision and give a personal example to others, to the young generation of Israelis.
Walking from the site entrance to the hut, note the quotations from Ben Gurion's writings carved in stone, such as: "Whoever seeks wisdom, south he should go".
David Ben Gurion lived in the Sede Boqer hut with his wife Paula. When you visit Ben Gurion's hut you will see the living room, the bedroom and the study with its impressive library. The furniture and all the objects are still arranged in the original way Ben Gurion placed them. Paula had her own bedroom, and this is the only room which contains family photos. Mahatma Gandhi's portrait hangs in David Ben Gurion's bedroom. A small copy of Michelangelo's Moses is placed on a shelf in the library. Plato's statuette can be seen in the living room. Good companions for a remarkable leader: David Ben Gurion.
A great time to visit Sede Boqer is on the weekend in November when the Ben Gurion Walk takes place. This is a popular sports event held every year in memory of David Ben Gurion, Israel's legendary first prime minister who made Sede Boqer his home, and whose name symbolizes the vision of the development of the Negev desert.
Whole families arrive for this happening, and take a 7 km walk in the beautiful desert landscape, from Ben Gurion's Hut (see my tip) along the Tzin Plain to Ben Gurion's tomb overlooking the Tzin Canyon (see my tip). Others (like me...) prefer the longer 13 km walk, which takes you down to the Tzin canyon and then back up again, to end near Ben Gurion's tomb. A 20 km walk will take you to Nahal Etz and Hurvat Halukim before descending to the Tzin Canyon.
The atmosphere is happy and festive, along the way there is a Bedouin hospitality tent with some food and drinks, an arts and crafts fair and an activity corner for kids. The weather is usually nice and pleasant for hiking. See you there next year!
Special, yes the wine is special and the person making it also, if you have time to talk, ask Zvi about his wine you will not go wrong. I suggest trying the Zinfandel it was excellent and one I love. His wines are a little more expensive than the average, but well worth the extra because you do GET EXTRA.
We visited the Sde Boker Winery, to taste some local brew. As it turns out the vinter is a fellow Californian, Zvi Remek, and he has produced some excellent blends. The one we favored this time was his Zinfandel.
Zvi produces the wine on his own, he works the fields, crushes the grapes, puts it in oaken barrels and bottles it, from start to finish...quite an undertaking for a single person. If you would like to ask more you can contact him.