Desert ≠ Desert

July 3, 2016

As you might probably know, once you made it to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, you won’t have to search long to find the next Israelian desert. Heading south east and passing Jerusalem, you will quite soon spot the mountain rows belonging to the Judean desert. If you continue going east, you will descend about 1,200m towards the lowest place on earth- the Dead Sea.

If you however head south instead of east after passing Jerusalem, you will soon find yourself in the middle of the Negev Desert, including the famous Ramon Crater, which is the biggest of its kind (I hope you are curious and will directly start researching after having finished reading, which kind of crater I am talking about).

As you might guess from the pictures, both deserts seem to be quite the same- dry, stony, surrounded by blue sky, mentionable in the Guiness Book World of Records, and of course HOT. And although most of these conclusions might turn out to be true, there is one huge difference.

Especially during summer, people attracted by floating in the salty Dead Sea’s water face temperatures around 45- 50°C. The water itself turns into a bathtub filled with nicely heated water that one might wish for in the northern european winter...


Anyways, a visit is for most people coming to Israel a MUST- and everybody who has floated in that water surrounded by mountains understands why.


Unfortunately however, most people plan to go to the Dead Sea as one of the first things on their trip. Unfortunately as it keeps them afterwards from coming to the Negev. When already struggling with such temperatures when only lying on/ in the water, how should it be possible to even imagine to go hiking? Without collapsing not possible most people might think now.


But this is where the beforehand mentioned difference becomes important. Although the Negev desert clearly is a desert as well, temperatures are by far not as extreme. The Negev is placed about 900m above sea level and therefore way higher than the Dead Sea. Everybody who has paid attention in geography and physics class in high school should now immediately understand why temperatures will be lower- everybody else will need to update their geography/ physics knowledge. A nice wind further cools the temperatures especially at night down, so that you might even have to use a jacket in August. But when saying that it does not get hot at all in the Negev, would reveal me as a lair. However, there is a simple measures to deal with the heat during noon- stay inside the hostel. Start your day early by enjoying the sunrise from Camel Hill (I have to admit that my laziness in the morning as so far kept me from watching the sun rising and I therefore can’t provide you with pictures. Reliable sources however claim the view to be definitely worth fighting the laziness). Afterwards go for a nice long hike. Take your time and enjoy the fantastic views.

Make sure to take rests whenever you spot some shade.

Once you get back to the hostel, you will be awaited and rewarded with some cooling self-made ice tea.

Don’t miss the golden hour after a prolonged siesta and make sure to have enough battery on your camera to record one of the most beautiful sunsets you might ever see.

At latest by now, there should be no doubt about the necessity of visiting the Negev desert even in summer and after having had a shocking date with the Judean desert’s temperatures.




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