This weekend we had a really spontaneous night trip to the south. Sitting Friday night thinking about where to go the next day lead to the most spontaneous decision – we pack our things and drive three hours to the south to the darkest part of Israel – The Negev, in order to see a starry sky. Because it is pretty far away we tried to combine it with something else and what can be better than seeing a sunrise on the Makhtesh Ramon and then visiting a forest that is one hour drive from there to see blooming poppies.
So here we are, driving to the south, at the middle of the night, roads are empty and it is somehow unexplainable fun to have those kind of night rides. When we arrived at our point – Barak River it was about 4 am at the morning, the place was so dark and quiet , I’ve never experienced something like that. Not a single sound around, perfect place for a mediation, and it was so dark that you almost could see the milky way above you. Of course it wasn’t perfectly dark and there was some light pollution far-far away that make the vision less perfect but for me that was amazing- the sky so clear with so many stars, I was stunned. If you would ever visit Israel, and will have some extra day, I highly recommend you to visit the darkest places of Negev, this experience is amazing.
After spending there about an hour of taking photos and enjoying the darkness, the silence and the amazing stars view we moved to out next destination- sunrise at the Makhtesh Ramon. Maktesh Ramon (about a 20 minutes\half an hour from the Barak River point) like other Makhteshim is native to Israel\Sinai crater, that was made differently than other craters (that mostly formed by volcanic eruptions or meteors). Israelis craters were made when “erosion removes the softer minerals relatively quickly, and they are washed away from under the harder rock. The harder rocks eventually collapse under their own weight, and a crater-like valley structure formed ” (from Wiki).
Makhtesh Ramon is huge so we decided to go to the high point at the Mitzpe Ramon, a town with a great view to the Makhtesh. It was really cold but was worth it, the view was amazing, the fog just added some mystery to the whole picture. I must admit the scene was breathtaking.
Sun started to show it’s first rays and the clouds where pouring from the cliff to the bottom, like some sort of waterfalls.
And finally sunbathed Ramon Crater on it’s whole glory.
Tired (we didn’t slept for 24 hours) but happy from the amazing trip we went to our last point – Dvira Forest, to see blooming poppies. Sadly for us it was already the end of the blooming poppies season so we only had a glimpse of few, but the place is so beautiful that we didn’t even mind, with big open green field and small flower blooming forest.
Bonus Photo – Friendly horse:)
In Conclusion: If you visiting the south part of Israel and have extra time you definitely should visit Makhtesh Ramon and have the experience of complete silence and darkness at the Negev. So here are some points for a more productive travel:
- There are few points in the Negev where the light pollution is at it’s minimum and where you can enjoy your starry sky. One of the point is Nakhal Barak (Barak River) that we were visiting but you can check for place that is more suitable for you and maybe closer to the destination you are visiting.
- If you’re going south – it is a long way to drive from the center, it would be better to combine few stops in one ride, for example seeing makhtesh Ramon, visiting Eilat or jump for a swim at the dead sea, this way you will waste less time on the driving and will enjoy more of the beautiful places the Negev has to offer.
- Water – I know, it’s obvious but it is a dessert, and it’s hot in there, make sure you have enough water with you.
- Don’t go alone – it is pretty dangerous to go alone, Negev is huge (60% of Israel), many of the places at the desert or the mountains there don’t have phone signals and if something happens it is better not to be alone there.
The most important – Have fun:)