Given the extensive length of our trip to Israel, we have chosen to break it into four parts, one for each general location we visited. This post will discuss the southern part of Israel (not Eilat, though).
On our way south, we stopped at Naot Farm. What a wonderful decision! It was beautiful and a good way to puncture our journey. The cheese was delicious. Our one regret was not booking a tour, which was simply too expensive. Book if you can afford it!
You should also stop at the Air Force Museum in Beer Sheva on your way south. It’s a wonderful museum but mostly outdoors so wear sunscreen and a hat. Make sure a guide is available. We also visited Ben Gurion’s Desert home in Sde Boker. This was not as meaningful as the one in Tel Aviv, but you do get to watch a cheesy, although informative, movie. Stop if you have the time.
We arrived in Mitzpe Ramon and immediately checked into our hotel, The Desert Home Inn. It was cozy and comfortable, although not nearly as elegant as the Beresheet Hotel down the street. This bed and breakfast was the right price, however, and the food was fantastic, but not kosher. We did eat two dinners at the Beresheet Hotel: one meat and one dairy. The meat meal was the best food we had on Shabbat at a restaurant.
We spent the rest of the day walking around the edge of the machtesh – a miniature Grand Canyon – which was simply gorgeous. Bring sturdy shoes! The next day we took a jeep ride with Chen, who works for the tour guide Adam Sela. He was wonderful! We learned a lot while exploring the beauty of the machtesh. We also went stargazing with Adam later that night. Although also a great experience, we stupidly booked this event on a night with a full moon. Perhaps not the best star gazing setting…
Depending on how much hiking you want to do, we recommend spending one day driving south and another two days at the machtesh. Don’t miss the museum and memorial for Ilan Ramon. It was very moving.