Next to a small town in Israel called Mitzpe Ramon, the Majestic Ramon crater (Makhtesh) is revealed, read more below Mizpe Ramon Hotels and Ramon crater tours and activities
Getting to Mitzpe Ramon
About an hour and a half drive south of the city of Beer Sheva and you will arrive at a small
town called Mitzpe Ramon. At the southern end of the town, quite without warning, you will
find yourself on the edge of a precipice (don’t worry. No danger of driving over the edge)
with a spectacular view of the Ramon Crater, or, as it should be called, the Makhtesh
What is the Ramon Crater(Makhtesh)?
First of all, strictly speaking, this is not a crater. A real crater is a result of a large, heavy
body hitting the ground at great force and thereby leaving a crater. The Ramon Crater or
Makhtesh was caused by many years of erosion. First of all the top hard crust of what was
then the top of a mountain was slowly scraped away by winds. Then, when the softer sands
of the underground layer was exposed they were washed away by rivers leaving the walls of
the crater. Think of a soft boiled egg. You remove the top, eat away at the inside, and are
left with the topless shell.
This phenomenon is unique to the south of Israel and Sinai. Therefore the correct, globally
accepted, scientific name is the Hebrew Makhtesh.
The Ramon Makhtesh is 40 kilometers in length, between 2 and 10 kilometers wide and
reaches a depth of 500 meters. It is the largest of three major Makhteshim (plural of
Makhtesh) to be found in the Negev desert.
Ramon crater visitor center
The Mitzpe Ramon Visitors; Center
Situated high up, where the town of Mitzpe Ramon meets the edge of the crater, the visitors
center has much to offer, a very interesting exhibition demonstrating how the makhtesh was
formed, an exhibition dedicated to the life of Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut who
perished with his crewmates in the Columbia space shuttle that disintegrated when
reentering the earth & atmosphere, and finally, a superb observation deck.
The most common animals to be found in the area are the Nubian ibex. These graceful
animals are quite used to people so you will usually see them wandering around the area
including the town center and between the houses. Other animals include Dorcas gazelles,
striped hyenas and a few Arabian leopards
Ramon Crater Tours and Activities
Hiking – in and around the Maktesh
Biking – there are many paths in the Makhtesh that are suitable for biking.
Jeeps – A great way to reveal the secrets of the Makhtesh. Rent one on your own or take a
a guide who knows the terrain and can find the best spots.
Rappelling – Experience the descent of the precipice with the help of specially designed
equipment. It may look difficult but it is surprisingly easy, and does not require any previous
experience. The experience is great.
Bedouin Hospitality – relax in an authentic Bedouin tent, enjoying the view, while sipping
strong black coffee together with fresh pita bread.
Mitzpe Ramon Hotels
Mitzpe Ramon is a small town but has a range of hotels to suit any budget. Right at the top
of the range is the famous Bereshit hotel. This hotel is right along the edge of the crater so
that there are spectacular views from all the rooms, from the lounge, from the dining room,
and even from the swimming pool. Every detail is special and you will remember your stay at
this hotel for a long time. Other hotels are more standard in style but clean and efficient and
good value for money.
Alternative accommodation can be found in and around Mitzpe Ramon ranging from
Bedouin tents to luxury chalets set in the desert atmosphere.
Restaurants – There is a choice ranging from fast food to classy restaurants.