The Negev Desert, often bypassed by travellers hurrying to Eilat, is much more than just sand.
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Look closely between the rocks of the wadis (valleys) and you will find water and even wine. The Negev Highlands region is also home to so many vineyards that it now has its own wine route. Today, ecologists from all over the world come to the kibbutzim of Sde Boker and the Arava to study solar energy and water treatment. But this isn’t new. Two thousand years earlier, the Nabataeans cultivated grapes and practically invented desert irrigation, which can still be seen at the ancient ruins of Shivta, Mamshit and Avdat.
This region, comprising 62% of Israel’s land mass, may seem sparse but it offers a world of adventure, including mountain hikes, camel treks, 4WD desert drives and Red Sea diving. Yet perhaps the biggest secret of the Negev is Makhtesh Ramon, a crater-like wilderness, which feels like another planet.
The Negev is hot - and not simply when it comes to the region's weather - based on the Lonely Planet travel guide, probably the most popular guides on the planet. It is so hot, actually, it ranked because the # 2 best region to go to within the guide's Top Parts of 2013.
And, states the guide, if you have never visited the Negev, time to visit has become the pristine character from the area, the untouched by time perspective of huge desert's hillsides, valleys, and caves, has been squashed out by development. The Negev, in the current form, might not last considerably longer, stated the guide.
“For decades the Negev was regarded as as only a desolate desert,” states the guide. “But today, this region is a huge green house of development. Think eco-towns, health spa resorts as well as vineyards. Within the next couple of years a brand new airport terminal at Timna is scheduled to spread out, then a higher-speed railway to Eilat and much more hotels.”
But development, and particularly the railway, will probably change things, because the region gets to be more accessible, with increased Israelis prone to visit or perhaps get ready the region. “Time is drained to see the desert as character intended,” states the guide this is the time for a vacation to the Negev, before time runs out.