As Summer vacation has already begun for many of us, it is time to share some traveling tips with you. Hopefully, many members of our community will travel to Israel! In the first blog of this series, I discuss the beautiful Negev desert, a place that is often neglected by people visiting Israel.
While growing up in The Netherlands, the only sand that I was confronted with was at our beach at Scheveningen. Not being a big fan of the beach, and not living in the most beach-friendly country (I don’t think that I have to explain the Dutch weather), I mostly avoided sand whenever I could.
Except for the times that I visited Israel. Because my family mostly resides in the Negev desert, I was able to enjoy many amazing aspects of the region. Next to the city of Beer Sheva, the Negev consists of interesting places to visit. One of the most beautiful locations in the desert is the Mitzpe Ramon Crater. Located one-and-a-half hours driving from Beer Sheva, this crater consists of a landscape that you must see with your own eyes. You can drive through the crater, but I would also recommend hiking to see the stones better.
As you can see, this is even an interesting place to visit with small kids. Although providing them some ice-cold food will ease the symptoms of the long walk through the crater.
Another must-visit place in the Negev is Ein Gedi. This kibbutz is beautifully located in the mountains and is a green oasis of nature. There are also an incredible nature reserve and national park, with Nubian ibices who walk around freely. If you decide to stay over in the kibbutz, it is a lovely opportunity to watch the sunrise.
Moreover, the Dead Sea is nearby Ein Gedi, and floating in the Dead Sea is, of course, something that everyone must have experienced in their life. Tip from me: don’t shave on ‘floating-day’, as the minor open wounds (in your neck) won’t enjoy the high degree of salt…
After visiting Mitzpe Ramon, Ein Gedi, and the Dead Sea, you wouldn’t want to miss out on riding a camel. Especially as a kid, I really enjoyed this experience and it is something that I still remember until this day.
However, the Negev isn’t ‘just’ a desert. When you visit the region in spring, you’ll be surprised about the green nature. There are many beautiful red flowers and everything that is sand in the summer, is green in the spring. Just like in many places in Israel, the Negev’s beauty keeps surprising me every single time that I visit.
Lastly, especially at our age as students, I would recommend making the trip southward to Eilat. For me, the city has ‘Las Vegas’ vibes, being completely isolated from the rest of the country in the middle of the desert. There are lovely restaurants and a harbor, but the most wonderful place to visit is the beach. At the beach, you can snorkel through the amazing coral reefs or decide to dive with the dolphins! Although you’re not allowed to touch the dolphins, they swim very near to you and you can even hear them laughing while swimming six meters below the surface.
Of course, the Negev has much more to offer, and I still haven’t seen everything in the region. Although many people tend to neglect it, I would highly recommend everyone to visit the desert and enjoy nature that is unlike anything that we can find here in The Netherlands (except for the flowers, maybe).
Enjoy your summer vacation!
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