Itinerary - Option No.1
Arrive in Mitzpe Ramon in the evening and check into your accommodation - Catch the light of the sunset from the cliff.
We will arrange a time for the orientation session with a staff member.
Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant (not included in package cost), or at your chosen accommodation.
Hahavit restaurant in town. Great option for dinner.
Day 1: Hatzaz Daroch 16km
After storing any unnecessary luggage, and loading your campground-bags on the support vehicle, start out with an early breakfast at your accommodation. Our jeep pickup will be waiting to take you to Merhav Am. Follow the black markers along the jeep road for about 2.5 kilometers, passing a short access road to the Hatzaz Cisterns. At a sharp curve of the dirt road the black markers will continue straight on a foot trail. Walk through the shallow valley as you make your way to a brief climb and magnificent view. In the winter keep your eyes open for Daffodils hiding in small waterholes. Descend into the valley and follow the trail along the narrow rift. Be prepared to scale your way down two ladders and along a narrow passageway (hope you’re not scared of heights!). Check out the incredible rock formations as you go. Follow the black markers out of the valley and onto flat terrain. Continue on the black trail as it makes a sharp right and merges with the INT for 1.5 km. When the INT and a blue trail branch to the left continue straight (Northwest) for another 1.5 km. You'll head south from here to your campsite for the night, underneath Hod Akev. You will meet the support vehicle and our staff member, receive your camping gear and collect your night bag.
After filling up your water bottles for the next day and pulling off your shoes, you can lend a hand at chopping or seasoning- dinner will be served under the stars. Meals included: packed lunch and hot dinner.
Day 2: The Zin Valley springs 13 km
Wake up to tea and coffee and have breakfast while you break camp.
After loading the support vehicle with everything but your day pack head south and up the narrow trail to the top of the cliff. This trail is extremely narrow at parts, and includes a difficult ledge.
Arrive at the top of the plateau, and enjoy the scenery, but not for long, as your climb isn't over yet- Head up to the top of Akev Pinnacle (HOD AKEV). Head down on the other side and reconnect with the red trail. Follow the trail all the way to the amazing pool of Ein Akev. DIVE!!
Three kilometers up canyon, you'll arrive at your second spring- upper Ein Akev. This watering hole is small and shallow, but it supports an amazing variety of plants and animals- some of which you will see along the rest of your hike. Continue up canyon, and eventually out to another platou, gradually climbing and funneling into a wadi opening up to the vistas of the grove of Poplars at Ein Shviv. It’s hard to imagine that these trees survive in the desert.
Your campsite for the night is located on the edge of the oasis. You will meet the support vehicle and our staff member, receive you camping gear and collect your night bag.
Again, after filling up your water bottles for the next day and pulling off your shoes, you can, as usual, lend a hand at chopping or seasoning- Dinner will be served under the stars. Meals included: Breakfast, Packed lunch and Hot dinner.
Diving into the cold water of lower Ein Akev
Day 3: “Thirsty Snake” pass and “Hot Day” pass- 17 km
Wake up to tea and coffee and have breakfast while you break camp.
After loading the support vehicle with everything but your day pack- food and water, head back south along the pipeline road and up the ancient southern route.
On this day you will enjoy wide open scenery looking out into the vast Zin Valley below you. You will discover the secret tunnels at “Thirsty Snake” pass and navigate through rolling hills of flint to “Hot Day” Spring and up “Hot Day” pass. As your day comes to a close and you approach the campground at Hava watering holes, you’ll pass through the ancient settlement of Sharav ruins. The thought of someone surviving out here is hard enough to imagine, let alone settling here, and yet the ruins of this small village show how civilizations were able to flourish even in the most arid conditions.
As usual, the smell of dinner cooking will guide you to the support vehicle, a change of clothes and a chance to kick your shoes off.
Meals included: Breakfast, Packed lunch and Hot dinner.
Day 4: To the Ramon Crater – 19 km
Tea, coffee and morning mists are the scents of your wake up. Eat breakfast and pack your lunch as you prepare for an adventurous day. You’ll start down into the Hava canyon and to the ice-cold water at Hava watering holes. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a dip in these shaded pools. As you hike down the canyon you’ll admire the folded layers of limestone and flint- a result of millions of years of pressure and tectonic movement. If you want you can detour (2km roundtrip) to visit the tiny little Hava spring- a precious source of pure drinking water for nomads in this desert. In order to climb out of Hava canyon, you’ll have to maneuver through the cracks leading out of the cliffs, but the scenery at the top- well worth it.
In Bedouin tradition this area is known mainly for its winds, and walking along the ridge you’ll get a chance to understand exactly why. Hold on to your hats. As you slowly gain elevation you will eventually reach the Mahmal stronghold- a roman fortress guarding the ancient pass along the spice route. This point looks out onto the magnificent cliffs of the Ramon Crater, a view that will remind you that you are only one day away from being back at Mitzpe Ramon.
The last stretch of the day will follow the ancient spice route that connected Petra and Gaza, and saw caravans of hundreds of camels 2000 years ago, and as you pass the old mile-stones you’ll be able to see your campground hiding in the shadow of the formidable Ardon Mountain.
Wonder what's for dinner tonight?
The Ardon Mountain campground is an amazing spot for star gazing. A special dinner will be prepared for the last evening.
Meals included: breakfast, packed lunch and hot dinner.
Day 5: Mount Ardon to Khan Saharonim – 13 km
Only coffee and tea at camp this morning. Breakfast will be packed to be enjoyed on top mount Ardon. You better get an early start if you want to enjoy the first rays of sun at the top of the mountain. As you climb up the narrow path, the amazing colors of the sandstone below will be exposed by the brightening sky. The peak of mount Ardon is truly the climax of this journey. Now it’s time to pull out your breakfast and catch your breath. The trail will continue along the cliff and drop steeply down to “Red Valley”. Watch your step as you descend. Continue south along the dunes of the valley and admire this beauty of nature as they change their colors. At midday you will reach the great acacia trees at Ardon wadi, and while resting in the shade, you can admire the rock formations that build the canyon walls. If you still don’t feel the need to rest, you can continue on to the cave at the mouth of Saharonim Horseshoe canyon. After a rest in the shade, your hike will take you up the gravely floor of the canyon and through an impressive boulder filed. Eventually you will cross “Ramon’s Gate” and get to Ein Saharonim- The only natural stable source of water in the whole Ramon carter. Plants and animals depend on this precious source to survive, and over the course of history, human nomads have relied on it as well. Your trek will end at “Khan Saharonim” a 2000 year old rest stop on the spice route, where caravans of hundreds of camels rested for the night on their way from Petra to Gaza.
The Khan, along with all the other sites of the spice route was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The support vehicle will meet you here and drive you back to Mitzpe Ramon. We recommend a shower, a cold drink and a last look at the sunset on the cliff..
Bus transportation is available to Eilat and also to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, via Beer Sheva. Alternatively, you can stay another night in Mitzpe Ramon.
Meals included: breakfast and packed lunch