The Negev Desert was actually fertile pasture land thousands of years ago, and Israeli efforts at reviving this barren region are attracting worldwide attention. A hike in the wild and lovely Zin Valley lets you experience the wilderness close-up at Ein-Avdat, which helps you appreciate why Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, made his home at nearby Sde Boker.

The Ramon Crater (the world’s largest) provides breathtaking desert trails for biking, hiking, rappelling, jeep trips and camel rides. Visit the ancient Nabatean cities that once guarded the Asian-African Spice Route (now UNESCO World Heritage Sites), and tour some of the exciting successes in reviving Nabatean “desert agriculture” to create modern vineyards, orchards and forests.

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