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Israel’s Negev Desert covers over half of Israel spanning the southern section of the country and includes the southern section of the Dead Sea.

While Jerusalem is my favorite city, I find the Negev and the Judean Desert to be the most intriguing regions of the country.

This is because so different than most places I’ve been and most of its natural landscape hasn’t been encroach on by people and urbanization.

People often think the Judean Desert is the Negev Desert like when they think that is Masada located in the Negev.

The mistake is pretty easy for a tourist to make because they look very similar and share many of the same animals like camels.

However, the Judean Desert is further north and only on the east side of the country, but it does lead right the Negev which spans from side to side.

In the past, many animals were common in the dessert today, living mainly in the African savannah.

The Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve and the Jerusalem Zoo have been making efforts to return many wildlife back into their habitat.

Animals like onager and the Arabian oryx have successfully been reintroduced.

Unfortunately, they haven’t yet had the same success with the Negev ostrich.

Main cities in the Negev are today are some of the same as those in Biblical times located in the land belonging to the the tribes of Shimon, such as Beersheba and Arad, which have fascinating archaeological parks.

The Negev Desert has some great natural attractions like Timna National Park and the Ramon Crater.

It also has some of the most interesting non-Biblical historical sites.

There are Nabatean cities similar to Petra such as in the Nitzana, Mamshit, and Avdat, which are all UNESCO World Heritage.

Arguably the most impressive of these is Shivta, which has never been conquered or destroyed.

Related to modern Zionistic history, you can visit the first prime minster David Ben Gurion’s house in Kibbutz Sde Boker.

The Negev Desert is also full of fun activities like jeep and camel of the desert, sandboarding on the dunes, and rappelling down the cliffs of the Ramon Crater.

Also, the Negev wine route encompasses a number of vineyards and wineries which offer tours and tastings.

Not to mention, the lack of light pollution makes the desert is perfect for stargazing, especially during the biannual meteor shower, and astrophotography.

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