Machtesh (crater) Ramon Tour

The view of the Negev desert
The view of the Negev desert

Our tour will have two options based on the time of year of your visit. During the summer months, it is preferable to visit the Negev desert area after 5pm to avoid the heat and  arrive at the first destination in time to see the beautiful sunset. In the winter months, the tour can depart earlier in the day. 

 

The first destination of our tour will be the community farm ( called a kibbutz in Hebrew) of Sde Boker. Here, we will see the desert home of David Ben Gurion and his wife, Paula. Tours of the home are available if desired. Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel and widely hailed to be the State’s first founder.  Ben Gurion was a visionary of the development of the  Negev desert. In 1953, he resigned from the government and moved to the newly established kibbutz. Here we will see the tomb where he and his wife are buried.

 

We will see the beautiful Tzin Spring as well as a stunning panoramic view of the whole desert which is one of the best locations to watch desert sunset.

  

Our next destination lies 20 miles away in the small desert town of Mitzpe Ramon (Roman post point from Hebrew). Mitzpe Ramon is located on the highest peak in the Southern Negev mountains at 4360 feet above the sea level. The town is right on the edge of Ramon crater which is called Machtesh Ramon in Hebrew 

 

If our visit is during the day, we will be able to look at the collection of interesting art  by Israeli artists in the Sculpture Park. Created in the 1980’s, we will see the structures constructed of massive slabs with local dolomite.

 

Our next destination is the  Museum dedicated to Israel's first and only astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon. He was an Israeli Air Force combat pilot and the payload specialist aboard the American space shuttle Columbia which was launched on January 16, 2003. The crew of 7 was tragically killed on February 1, 2003, when Columbia broke up upon reentry into the atmosphere over Texas along its return flight path towards Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  

 

Ilan Ramon loved Ramon's Crater (makhtesh in Hebrew) and later in his life changed his name to Ramon from his family name of Wolferman. The museum overlooks the largest crater in the Negev desert, Makhtesh Ramon . This crater has very steep walls comprised of stone and are nearly perpendicular. The walls surround a deep valley which contains the seasonal stream (wadi), the Nahal Ramon. It becomes a water course annually during the rainy season, otherwise is dry.  The valley is 5.5 miles wide and 24 ml long. The steep walls surrounding it are 984 feet high.

 

We will drive down by the historical Independence route and will reach a famous hill that is a geological phenomenon known as The Carpentry Hill  or The Lumber Mill  when translated from Hebrew. The name is given to it because of the unique structure of the quartz flat stones that form and cover the hill which is the result of erosion. The hill is 0.37 miles from the motorway with handrails and very convenient wooden steps leading to the top of the hill.

 

During the summer months, after the sunset you will be dazzled by the site of millions of stars and see the  Milky Way while recalling the words of God to the desert wanderer, Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish people,

“'Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.' He said to Abram, 'So shall your seed be'” (Genesis 15:5).