Most people who come to Israel have traveled beforehand. They have been to big cities, visited small villages, been to famous sites, hiked in forests, conquered mountaintops, and eaten exotic foods. But very few have experienced the desert. Israel has been blessed with many desert venues. There is the extreme desert, in which almost nothing grows, and the nothingness is glaring. There is the desert oasis (like Ein Gedi), in which water flows, plants and animals are in abundance, and pools and waterfalls provide a welcome respite. And there is the nighttime desert, which is mystifying, sometimes scary, and always fascinating.
I offer a gamut of desert options:
1. An 8-hour hike that begins before dawn and scales mountains and canyons, and ends at an oasis. This is an extreme hike for serious hikers only, and demands carrying a backpack with a lot of water (the amount depends on the season and the weather). This is the best way to learn the language of the desert, but it is challenging.
2. A visit to a desert oasis that is not specifically challenging, but includes pools, waterfalls, flora and fauna, archaeology and history.
3. A night in the desert. This is not challenging physically, but is tough for those who are challenged by being without cellphone service, without light, without chairs, without any amenities, and without coffee