- Talma Gotteiner
The Negev – Sun and Fun
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I wanted to tell you about two incredible Negev attractions that are available year-round, but since they are also participating in the ‘Darom Adom’ Festival, that is currently ongoing, I thought that the timing of this post would enable you to find more complimentary activities during the festival and you still have two weekends to enjoy them till the end of Feb 2018. Please refer to my previous post on the ‘Darom Adom’ festival.
Trip Itinerary Options
The Salad Trail in Talmei Yosef
Dror BaMidbar – Jeep Tours and Sandsurfing
The Salad Trail
The Salad Trail is a fun agricultural tour suitable for the whole family: grandparents, parents and children. As its name suggests, the farm in Talmei Yosef has a large variety of crops so the activities vary with the fruits and vegetables in season and include: cherry tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, chinese oranges and potato digging as well as a passion fruit or passiflora maze. You can even organize a bigger celebration if you have a family occasion including a Poike meal or Saj baked pita bread and all sorts of game challenges. These are tailored activities that are available for corporate consolidation day challenges and family occasions.
Uri Alon, your host is an experienced agronomist specializing in international agriculture who enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge with all comers.
Is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable?
What Jewish blessing applies to the Papaya?
Why are Bombus bees more suitable for pollination of tomatoes than Honeybees?
What scale is used to measure the heat of peppers and what is it based on?
These are just an assortment of the questions that he asked and answered during my tour. I was lucky enough to join a reunion gathering of veteran ‘Hashomer Hatzair’ (youth movement) members who were part of the Nahal group called ‘Ronen’. They were interesting too. Apparently, they had met in ~1955 in the fourth grade and after serving in the army together in the ‘Nahal’, helped settle Kibbutz Yad Mordechai (refer to my previous post). Although the members originally came from Ramat-Gan, Rehovot and Jerusalem, they have settled all over and seven are still living in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai till today. Together, we saw the biblical garden of seven kinds of crops, the garden of ‘useful trees’, visted the hothouses of cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries and ended picking his colorful carrots. He has purple, white, yellow and orange carrots!
Last, but not least, Uri told us about his past as a mail pigeon delivery champion and about his aunt who was responsible for the delivery of mail pigeons in the Hagana. Uri and his aunt were the source of information and inspiration for one of Meir Shalev’s passages in his acclaimed book ‘A Pigeon and a Boy’.
Do you know how homing pigeons find their way home?
The final touch was to send the pigeons on a symbolic flight of peace.
I wanted to send a pigeon off too.
Open: Year round upon reservation. The tour takes between 2-3.5 hrs depending on the activities included.
Dror BaMidbar Jeep Tours and Sandsurfing
Thank G-d that Dror decided to move to the Negev seven years ago. I should have asked him what gave him the idea to start a sandsurfing activity, but who cares? It’s just plain fun.
By now, his prior sports hobbies have become his expertise and he is also a seasoned desert guide who knows the ins and outs of the ancient spice route and water reservoirs so you can fill in your second half of the day with one of his tours.
He and Uri are already used to hosting each others groups. It’s about an hour’s drive between them.
I joined a ‘Bar Mitzva’ celebration with a lovely family from South America. Dror had whipped up a falafel meal and shady tent. The Bar Mitzva boy demonstrated the positions during the instruction session and afterwards, we charged the sand dunes.
Check out the video for atmosphere:
Personally, I came out much cooler in the still photo so that’s all you’re gonna see this time.
This is how I ended my day:
Kibbutz Ruchama is on the way south so you can stop over in either direction and offers three points of interest. Firstly, at the entrance to the forest, there is a historic site related to the first settlers called ‘Atar Harishonim’ (Atar=site, Harishomin=The First). The site includes the original well that has been restored to working order, some picnic tables and a display of old farming and army equipment. A guided tour of the well and story of Ruchama needs to be reserved in advance.
Phone for tour reservations: 077-7295778
The second reason for visiting Ruchama is because of an interesting geological phenomenon. The forest near Ruchama is full of what is called ‘Badlands’ or in Hebrew ‘Bitronot’. These are steep slopes where the land fell off. The hills are composed of a rock that has insufficient vegetation to anchor the soil so when rain falls, the earth is swept away. Although Ruchama is in an arid region, it can rain very heavily and cause this phenomenon.
Last, but not least, the third reason for visiting Ruchama is for the anemones that are in full bloom during February.
See previous post with options in Sderot if you need any additional meal. In Ruchama, I suggest to go on a picnic. Tasting is built into the salad trail and Dror Bamidbar can also arrange a meal, if needed.
A few suggestions near Kibbutz Ruchama and Talmei Yosef include hotels in Ashkelon: ‘Regina Goren Hotel’ , ‘Leonardo Ashkelon’ and ‘Harlington Hotel’. Hotels nearer Ashalim where Dror is located, are ‘Isrotel Ramon Inn’, 'InnSense Bistro and Suites' and ‘Beresheet’ in Mitzpe Ramon.
The activities fill up a day to a day and a half depending on your location and stamina.
This is what it looks like on the map:
How is that for fun?
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Post Visit Note: Two additional hiking trails are available nearby at Akev and Ovdat. Click on them for more information.
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