The Israeli Desert:
Attractions in Southern Israel

The Israeli desert, in the southern part of Israel, covers more than half the country, so I figured I might as well write a few words about the interesting spots you can find there.

Israel's desert is called the Negev. Loosely translated, Negev means “dry” – and the name sure fits the area. It is a dry and hot area with (very) little rain.

The biggest city in the Israeli desert is Be'er Sheva in the northern Negev. Another city of much interest - and much fun – is the resort town Eilat at the southern end of the Negev (and the country) where it meets the Red Sea.

Not many Israelis live in the desert – only about 600,000. Of those, there are some 200,000 Bedouin inhabitants (Arab-speaking nomadic tribes). The majority of the Negev is being used by the Israeli army for training, and the biggest military bases are located in the desert.

There are a few interesting spots and attractions in the Negev desert that you might want to check out:

  • Makhtesh Ramon (the Ramon crater) – This huge crater-like geological formation is unique to the area. There are also two more similar craters, known as Hamakhtesh Hagadol and Hamakhtesh Hakatan.
Makhtesh RamonMakhtesh Ramon, a unique crater-like formation. Picture by Chadica.
  • Eilat – The best resort town in Israel (in my opinion).
One of Eilat's awesome hotelsA hotel at the awesome resort town of Eilat. Picture by Britrob.
  • Kibbutz Sde Boker – Home of the late David Ben-Gurion, who was the first prime minister of Israel.
A cute Ibex at Kibbutz Sde BokerA cute Ibex at Kibbutz Sde Boker. Picture by Chadica.

  • Timna Park – Not too far from Eilat you will find this natural park that has some of the most bizarre geological formations.
Timna Park rock formationsLooks a bit like Mars... Timna Park. Picture by Chadica.

And finally:

  • Beersheva – The capital of the Negev and the biggest town.

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