Our Nabatean Adventure begins in either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. We begin by heading south to Israel’s Negev Desert. Here we will learn about the challenges facing Israel’s Bedouin as they integrate into a Western 21st Century society while trying to preserve their rich cultural heritage.
We will visit women’s initiatives that provide employment in a way acceptable to the very traditional Bedouin society and provide both empowerment and education for Bedouin Women.
Next we’ll visit the only sustainable Bedouin village in the Negev where an entire clan has adopted an environmental friendly orientation and welcomes tourism as a way to help preserve traditional lifestyle.
Avdat is next on our itinerary. Avdat was the capital of the Negev for the Nabateans as well as an important center on the Petra-Gaza Incense Route. During the Byzantine Era, Avdat grows and becomes an important agricultural center in the desert. See the remains of early churches from the Fifth Century and commercial wine presses that produced wine that was exported as far as Gaul!
We’ll spend the night in a hotel in Mitzpe Ramon, or if you chose one of the interesting B&Bs along the Negev Wine Route.
Our second day begins with a view of the Ramon Makhtesh, one of the unique erosion crates of the Negev Desert. Next we descend into the Makhtesh for an off-road adventure that includes a Nabatean Caravansary and watch towers, as well as chances to see the varied wildlife that includes gazelles, ibex and hyraxes.
When we reach the Arava Valley we’ll drive to the Rabin Border Crossing and enter Jordan. We’ll spend the night in Aqaba on the Red Sea. After dinner at the Royal Yacht Club we’ll tour the lively market that is open late because of the hot daytime temperatures.
On our third day we’ll get a late departure from the hotel to enjoy the Red Sea before we head for Wadi Rum. T.E. Lawrence described this wonderful desert as “in childhood’s dream. In his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence wrote of Rum:
Later , when we were often riding inland, my mind used to turn me from the direct road, to clear my senses by a night in Rumm and by the ride down its dawn-lit valley towards the shining plains, or up its valley in the sunset towards that glowing square which my timid anticipation never let me reach.
We’ll see parts of Rum not seen by the average tourist as we depart Rum to the North to rejoin the Desert Highway and continue to Petra.
If you enjoy cooking, then we’ll have dinner at Petra Kitchen where Tareq, the Jordanian chef will help up prepare traditional Jordanian cuisine and we go home with the recipes.
Our last day begins with a full day’s walking tour of Petra. We will enter the Siq, the narrow gorge that leads to the most famous monument, the Khazneh. Next we’ll tour the central part of the city. If you have the energy, we’ll walk up to one of the largest monuments, el Deir where we can enjoy a magnificent view of the Arava Valley.
In the late afternoon we’ll return to Israel to board a plane to Tel Aviv where this tour ends.