I went to Israel to make a road trip, so I planned a journey of about 900 km in Naqab desert. Sincerely, I didn’t know exactly how it would be because, before I go somewhere I don’t want to see all on Google (StreetView this time). So, I only checked the roads to be ok because my plan was to rent a car, so I wanted to bring back the car in the same condition as I took it.
Let the adventure begin!
I’ve never been in a desert before, so I was pretty impressed as soon I left Tel Aviv and passed the border of the dessert. Going through Ashkelon and Beer Sheva, I took the Route 25 to Dimona. And then, my GPS suggested me to take Route 206. I saw it was a secondary road, a very stretch one, with a single lane. Ok, what could go bad?
I started to climb and climb the mountains’ canyons. All the view was amazing so I drove at 20 km/h just to admire that piece of wild nature. Suddenly, I was on the top of the mountain, where the Scorpion’s Ascent ended. So I was supposed to descending it. On road’s edge, as protection parapets, there were barrels filled with sand!
We saw monuments and rocks with different aspects like sphinxes, or turbans but also some beautiful forms made by nature. The hone’s layers were amazingly disposed and colored in different shades of yellow and orange!
When I got down, I stopped in a parking delimited with rocks that were arranged in a straight line. In the middle of the desert!
Named also Aqrabbim Ascent, is a recognized heritage site in Israel, built by the Romans in the Ist century when they had under control the middle east, as a faster road to cross the canyons.
Also, the Nabateans used as part of the Spice Route (ancient trade of spices from Asia to Europe – for Nabateans).
Straight to Eliat
After meeting Route 90, I went straight to Eliat. Some things amazed me, a European: There were signs to make you aware of the camels and oryxes on the road. Moreover, I met signs that I couldn’t imagine: on the road, there were installed flooding indicators that measure the water. In that arid desert! I still could not imagine how this could be possible!
The desert of the Dead Sea
Here, the gold landscape is filled with the different shades of blue of the Dead Sea, seen from En Bokek. As I looked in the distance, I could see that major part of the lake was dried, and the soil was white, covered with salt. The saddest thing I saw were the signs at the shore of the old lake: Danger/ risk of drowning.
About Naqab Desert
Naqab or Negev desert covers more than half of Israel, in the south. It has major cities as Be’er Sheva and also small villages inhabited by the Beduins. It is a rocky desert, with canyons, craters and large valleys called wadis. The vegetation has very few species here, all resistant to drought. So, you’ll rarely see trees but some underfed bushes.
The roads are very well maintained and signaled. For sure, it was a very safe road for us! And the traffic is almost non-existent outside the cities, where is a little bit chaos.
Naqab in Pictures
A part of the photos from Scorpion’s Ascent and those with me driving are courtesy of Mădălina Mărgărit.