Negev Desert on the South of Israel
The Negev desert is the southernmost region of Israel occupying a great portion of the whole country.
It stretches from the coastal plains on the west and the Judean Mountains on the East, all the way south to Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea.
In Hebrew, the word Negev comes from the root of the word dry. It is a correct name, since it has an arid and semiarid climate.
The annual rainfall is very low and the vegetation is according to the temperatures and dryness of the desert.
The views of the Negev Desert are awe inspiring
There are several areas in which the Negev Desert is divided
• Northern Negev – This is a Mediterranean zone with around 350 mm of annual rain. It is mostly inhabited and you will see how green it is.
When you hear how Israel converted the desert into agricultural fields, this is the place to look for. The area is full with Kibbutzim and Moshavim surrounded by town and cities.
• Western Negev
With only 250 mm of rain it has many sand dunes, some of them as high as 30 meters. This portion runs parallel to the Egyptian border to the west.
• Central Negev
This is the area where the city of Beer Sheba is located. It is more arid than the northern region.
The area is very dry because the soil does not retain the water causing much erosion. When there are big rains, the water runs down the wadis (dry rivers) and seldom stays to fertilize the area.
• Ramat Ha Negev
In English the High Plateau with altitudes ranging from 300 to 600 meters above Sea level. Temperatures are extremely different between day and night.
• Arava Valley
This is a valley running along the Jordanian border from the tip of the Dead Sea in the north to the city of Eilat in the south.
The area is very arid and only the courage and work intensity of the local farmer, and the use of irrigation and soil additives, have been able to achieve some green areas and progress in the agricultural fields.
The magic of Agricultural products in the Arava Valley
Now you see why Israel has become a world leader in desert irrigation and cultivation.
Many techniques have been introduced worldwide. Comes to mind the irrigation by dripping that saves water and goes direct to the area that wants to be cultivated.
David Ben Gurion, the father of the country, Israel’s first Prime Minister had a dream that the Negev Desert will be fully populated.
Even though he himself set the example by moving to Sde Boker in the Negev with his lovely wife Paula, the Negev is still barely populated.
There is a trend now to go and live in the Negev. The possibilities of young and retired couples to live with a lower budget are much higher than those in the Central regions of Israel.
The Negev Foundation actively promotes any new developments in agricultural in order to promote new settlement in the Negev.
Ramon Crater is one of the five craters or Makhteshim in the Negev Desert
The Makhteshim – Crater like formations
• Ramon Crater
In Hebrew, Makhtesh Ramon is the largest of the three Makhteshim in the Negev. Those are geological formations, some of them with no equals anywhere in the world.
The Ramon natural Reserve comprised of the crater and the surrounding mountains is the largest nature reserve in Israel.
• Makhtesh Gadol
In English the large Crater, is the second largest of the five Makhteshim in Israel. There are a total of seven in the world.
• Makhtesh Katan
In English the small crater is the third largest of the five. They are all considered to be the Israeli version of the Grand Canyon in the USA.