Navigating the Negev

Published on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 by Webmaster

Navigating the Negev
How did a desert earn the No. 2 spot on the Lonely Planet’s list of top 2013 regional destinations?

“For decades, the Negev was regarded as nothing but a desolate desert. But today, this region is a giant greenhouse of development. Think eco-villages, spa resorts and even wineries,” Lonely Planet explained. Yet it remains, above all, a sparsely populated desert offering visitors a rare glimpse of landscape and wildlife.

The Negev consists of several distinct regions: the Beersheva-Arad Rift in the north, the mountain ridge in the center, and the Arava Rift Valley and Eilat in the south.

One way to get an overview of this expanse is a helicopter tour. Six different routes are offered by CN Airways leaving from Tel Aviv. But it's more common to hire a jeep driver-guide to get the lay of the land in each region. The Negev is dotted with hotels, guest lodges, Bedouin-style accommodations, eco-huts and khans (a traditional desert inn).

Hotels in both the budget and luxury range are more plentiful in the resort city of Eilat at the southern tip, but they're popping up elsewhere, too. The Beresheet leisure resort in Mitzpeh Ramon was named one of the world's 121 best new hotels by Conde Nast Traveler for 2012.

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