The road to Eilat runs through primeval desert that looks like a deserted planet, but there are hidden gems tucked away in the silence and vast expanses of the desert, under the blazing sun. There are two roads that lead to Eilat, and if you’re not in a hurry, you may want to travel down on Route 40 and then return on the Arava Highway – Route 90.
Stop at the Ein Avdat Nature Reserve and explore the wonderful rivulet, with white chalk on one side and green vegetation on the other. Along the way pass by the cave dwellings of the monks who lived there during the Byzantine period and marvel at the wonderful juxtaposition of fresh water, desert landscape and rich vegetation. If you’re lucky, you may meet a deer or an ibex.
Driving time: one to two hours
Take Route 204 from Kfar Hanokdim (a drive of about an hour).
Continue on to the Ramon Crater Visitors’ Center, where you can enjoy a perfect view of the spectacular crater as well as a geological exhibition, including mechanical models can be operated, displays and videos. From there you can continue to the desert garden “Ramon Chai” with its rich display of flora and fauna unique to the region.
Take Route 40 to the Visitors’ Center (an hour and forty minutes from Kfar Hanokdim, 35 minutes from Ein Avdat).
Carry on to Neot Smadar, a unique kibbutz that manages an independent farm in the heart of the desert. On Neot Smadar, a lovely, blooming green corner of the desert, you can taste the variety of delicacies produced on the kibbutz and savor the fine wine at its winery. Admire the magnificent Art Center built to resemble a castle and walk through the workshops of local residents engaged in metalwork, ceramics and more. If you’re already hungry, the kibbutz’s organic restaurant, Pundak, is highly recommended.
To arrange a guided tour of an hour and a half, the telephone numbers are:
Route 40 from Ein Avdat (a drive of about an hour and 20 minutes), and route 90, if you’re coming from Kfar Hanokdim (a drive of about two hours).
Make your last stop before Eilat at Kibbutz Yotvata, where you can tour the famous factory that produces the excellent Yotvata dairy products, or take the longer tour on the Chocolate Milk Way that takes in the kibbutz’s agricultural land, and passes through the Peace Gate on the Israel-Jordan border on the way to the kibbutz’s dairy production plant and barn.
For additional details ring: 08-6357499 – customer service extension