I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy my time in the Negev, not so much because I thought it wouldn’t be spectacular, but because it came at the end of almost 10 weeks on the road. As it turned out, the heat, silence and endless horizon of the Israeli desert made the perfect healing cocktail.
“It’s not a crater in the astronomical sense,” Lee, one of the owners of the cozy Green Backpackers hostel in the remote town of Mitzpe Ramon laughed, as she pointed toward the massive dent in the Earth I was about to hike across. “Rather, it was left when an ancient sea that used to be here receded.”
I was a bit disappointed to learn than I wouldn’t be coming in contact with anything alien on my trek, but the landscape of the Ramon Crater was nonetheless extraterrestrial. And not just because of how it looked: As I stood at the beginning of the nearby “green” hiking trail (for which the hostel is named) and peered out over the rim of the crater, I experienced a silence so profound and disarming I could only compare to what I imagine it being like in space.
Negev Camel Ranch
After a too-short time in Mitze Ramon, I headed down an impossibly dusty desert road to the city of Dimona, which was still quite a ways away from my ultimate destination: The Negev Camel Ranch.
I wrote about this ranch back in October, the very day I visited, because I was simply too excited not too: Camels, after all, are my favorite animal. Appropriately the owner of the ranch, a man named Ariel whose family has lived in the Negev for hundreds of years and who has sold camels to people all over the Middle East, including countries with which Israelis are not supposed to deal, loves them even more than I do.
As had been the case in Mitzpe Ramon, the incredible quiet of the desert surrounding the Negev Camel Ranch was simultaneously comforting and terrifying, its energizing elixir made even more entrancing by the presence of a couple dozen sweet, smiling camels just a stone’s throw from where I was sleeping.
informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!