I joined a tour that was supposed to give us a taste of all the summer activities taking place in the Negev courtesy of the Negev development authority, GONEGEV as part of their summer campaign. It's a clever idea actually. You arrive in the afternoon, stay in air-conditioned places until evening starts to fall and then enjoy outdoors activities in the chill dry desert air. The next morning you're back in air conditioned places until you arrive home. I found it to be very pleasant.
The Beer Sheva ANZAC Memorial Center
A ride through the old city
Sandsurfing with Dror BaMidbar
Shivta National Park
Dinner, stargazing, yoga and breakfast at Khan Beerotayim
The Plaot Room (i.e. "A Curiosity Room") at Nitzana
The Be'er Sheva ANZAC Memorial Center A beatiful memorial center was erected in Be'er Sheva in honor of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers that fought in WWI against the Turks. Did you know that the last equestrian battle took place in Israel? The center has several video footages from the period and also offers guided lantern tours through the adjacent cemetary telling some of the soldiers' stories.
A Ride Through the Old City The municipality of Beer Sheva offers guided minibus tours through the old city every Friday morning at 9:30 AM throughout July that present the best attractions in the city and include visits to two air-conditioned visitors' centers in the city. I took a few photos of the selfie spots and boutique hotels where you can stay if you wish. The cost is 40 NIS per person and registration is through the following Hebrew website.
Above: Anilevitch Hotel and Spa
Above: The Ottoman House Sandsurfing with Dror BaMidbar I was delighted to visit Dror again because sandsurfing is fun! Dror greeted us with some refreshments, which he also offers to groups as well as jeep tours in the desert. He is a major tour operator in the area and can organize full scale events in collaboration with other local operators. He also is a skilled sand sculptor as you can see. :)
Shivta National Park Shivta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a magnificent ancient city that has remained standing in the desert since the Byzantine rule in the Land of Israel (4th-7th century AD). Due to its location there are no guided tours on site, only a few pamphlets so if you really want to hear the full story about the rise and fall of Shivta, you should come with a well versed guide such as Iris. She is quite a gifted actress who brought the city to life.
Bottom Left: Iris doing her thing
Dinner, Stargazing, Yoga and Breakfast at Khan Beerotayim Khan Beerotayim is the perfect getaway from the city. You need to bring your own bedding, but otherwise, it's clean and the food was fresh and delicious. For dinner, we had a main dish of "Mansaf" made of a ragu of lamb and rice with several homemade salads and a really nice local wine. Breakfast was a buffet. The stars are so bright in the desert sky and Boaz Sar Shalom, our instructor brought a telescope and laser pointer to show us all the visible constellations and planets. In the morning, I realized that I had slept near the camel pen, but they had been so silent I didn't even know they were there till I woke up. The Khan offers camel tours as well. In any case, my group enjoyed Yoga with Noga at around 7:00 in the morning when the air was still pleasant and all was serene.
Clockwise from top left: Noga doing Yoga, me doing nothing, the breakfast buffet, the telescope and the silent camel.
The Plaot Room at Nitzana Before there were museums, there used to be independent curiosity collections. Liron's curiosity room is home to her late father's wondrous collection of nature objects, action figures and concert tickets from the 50s. Her father was a nature photographer and an avid collector at heart who had some pretty cool stuff. The visit is combined with an interactive application that kids will love because it gives them tasks and motivates them to learn about various objects that pique their curiosity. Certain objects can be touched and there is even a corner with microscopes. This was our morning air-conditioned stop before going home.
Above: Liron about to reveal the wonderful curiosities
Food This post is all inclusive.
Accomodation This post is all inclusive.
My Timeline The drive to Beer Sheva takes about 1.5 hours. We left Tel-Aviv at 13:00 and left Nitzana the following morning at 11:30.
Apparently a trip to the Negev in the summer is not such a bad idea. You should try it!
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