Touring Negev Israel

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Touring Negev Israel

Postby jordanrider » 21 Sep 2012, 2:35pm


I will be flying to Tel Aviv in February and heading down to Eilat roughly about one week later. I have decided to take the oportunity to Tour with the hope of passing via the way of Mitspe Ramon.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on the best or most scenic route ? Preferably West or Central routes as I have travelled the Eastern road network previously.

I will be riding my trusty Salsa Fargo 29er... so ideally a few off road sections would be nice.

Best Regards Jasen

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Joined: 26 Oct 2011, 7:48pm

Re: Touring Negev Israel

Postby Yael » 21 Sep 2012, 7:37pm

PM on way :)

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Re: Touring Negev Israel

Postby Yael » 22 Sep 2012, 11:47am

Oh, and I obviously forgot one of the most important things, but this is probably better posted in public view where it might come in handy for someone else: February is the end of the winter there. The weather can be quite random and temperatures vary (it gets cold in the desert at night, too). Last winter was very harsh and unusually wet, started late and ended later than usual. Flash floods can be a very serious risk in this area, both on- and off-road (deep, narrow wadis, slow to drain, combined with very heavy rains, and it can catch you by surprise). Make sure you know what the local conditions are and if you are on your own, make sure someone knows where you're going if it's likely to happen. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, there's always a poor soul stuck in a car, sailing away... low probability of it happening to you, but easy enough to prepare for and avoid.

Have fun!

[edited for early Saturday morning phrasing]

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Re: Touring Negev Israel

Postby iviehoff » 25 Sep 2012, 2:35pm

About 10 years ago, I cycled from Beersheva to Eilat by the obvious route through Mizpe Ramon, with two wild camps on the way. The second wild camp was in the bottom of the crater, taking a track off the main road for a km or so to get a nice camp site. A park warden in Mizpe Ramon itself had advised us this would be a nice camp spot. We had just set up camp, in a location clearly frequently used, when some military people came along and said "can't camp here". They suggested we go and camp next to a noisy industrial thing on the main road (which was impractical anyway - I had already assessed the ground as uncampable, even if it hadn't been noisy.) Eventually it turned out that actually they were just trying to discourage us because some young tourists had been murdered camping in a location near there a few years before, a memorial is found on the road as you climb up the south wall of the crater. They let us be when they saw we weren't discouraged. In the morning we prolonged our off-road ride for a bit, but it was rough enough not to be nice. Once out of the crater to the south the best of the scenery is mostly over, and you go through an area which has been trashed by being used as a tank driving training ground. The wind here was also quite astonishing - I don't know if that is general or just the day we did it. Though we did enjoy an amazingly fortunate sighting of an oryx just outside the trashed area.

It was scenically interesting, and I'm pleased I've done it, but cycling the King's Highway in Jordan was much better.

willem jongman
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Re: Touring Negev Israel

Postby willem jongman » 30 Sep 2012, 10:30pm

I have driven the central road a couple of times by car, and I think it is very beautiful. As Yael warns, floods are a serious risk in winter (hard to believe if you see the area in summer). In summer, the temperatures are very high.

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Re: Touring Negev Israel

Postby Mattie » 9 Oct 2012, 11:51pm

I have done this in late summer 2010, and I could see the damage done by flood water, in some parts, although it was baking hot when I was there.

The tour was from Ben Gurion, to Asqelon, then a campsite near Ha Basor. Then the back road through the tank testing ground, very interested to see a Mirkva in real life, then on to Mitzpe and then Eilat.

Then Eilat, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea, Jarusalem, Tel Aviv.

The best part of the trip for me was the first bit and as far as Eilat. Some fantastic desert scenery and easy to cycle really. Arriving at Mitzpe and looking out over the crater was something special.

The ride from Eilat to Ein Gedi was not so interesting and had to take a taxi up the hill to Jerusalem as the road was narrow, busy, and very very hot (also running out of time) The ride round Jerusalem and on to Tel Aviv into the sun set was another highlight of the trip.

I often found Acacia trees and stoped to have a little drink of Nestea, in the shade

This is on the road between Eilat and Ein Gedi

Overlooking the Jordan Valley, with Jordan in the distance and Eilat off to the right of the picture.

Anyway I hope you enjoy your trip, good luck.