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Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

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Cincinnati, OH
posts: 22
reviews: 23
Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Three friends and I will be completing our visit to Jerusalem on a Tuesday afternoon in September and must vacate our hotel. I was trying to figure out the best way to visit the Dead Sea/Negev for a couple of days. Most of the tours I see from Jerusalem are for one day and I would like to spend at least two. Is it to rent a car and tour on our own - Dead Sea, Masada, and drive through the desert? Is it okay to drive through the West Bank, especially since we can't leave Jerusalem until around 4:00 pm? I had thought about taking a bus to Ein Gedi and then arranging a tour with Eco Desert Tours - but the bus availability to leave Jerusalem is less later in the day. Would appreciate any assistance about logistics and also "must sees". I am open to hiking in the desert - the desert really intrigues me - but not sure about the heat in September. Thanks to all who are so willing to share their experiences and knowledge with first-time visitors like me. Joy Norman, Cincinnati, OH

posts: 21,544
reviews: 29
1. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Renting a car for the dead Sea area is fine. The road to the Dead Sea is well travelled and well posted. It's not like driving in the Sahara desert. Places to see include Ein Gedi, Masada, and in the Negev you can see Mitzpe Ramon, Mamshit..Shoshi will write about it since she's the expert on the area (as well). You can spend the night at Ein Bokek (lot or Isrotel hotels) or at Ein Gedi - and maybe the second night at Ramon Isrotel Inn. Only thing is you won't be able to turn the car two days later which is Saturday unless you do it at the airport, because all the other agencies will be closed.

posts: 21,544
reviews: 29
2. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Oh, by September it should still be light well after 4 pm.

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
posts: 13,406
reviews: 41
3. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Are 2 days 2 two nights or you will be there for 1 night only and where are you headed from there?

Renting a car and driving to the Dead Sea is best. You can drive on Thursday and reach there in the early evening. Book a place to stay now. You could saty at the youth hostel in Massada or in Ein Gedi, or the hotels in Ein Bokek. After visitin the Dead Sea and Massada you can visit Mamshit, on the way to Beer Sheva. Because it is a Saturday you cannot visit the Air Force museum there (a pity). Depending on your next stop you can choose between Mizpe Ramon (going shouth) or Ayalon Institure in Rehovot going north. Tell us more about your plans for more suggestions. for a more unique experience see http://www.arava.co.il/english/

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 12,492
reviews: 141
4. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Joy, just a note -- we should touch base after I return home to Cincinnati on August 9. Do you have a copy of the free, noncommercial travel guide that I send to people? If not, feel free to write me at Labatt@fuse.net, and I will send it to you. (I obviously have my laptop on vacation with me.)

Absolutely safe and easy to drive to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem. I'd consider staying at Kibbutz Ein Gedi guesthouse, which has a world-renowned desert botanical garden.

Douglas Duckett

posts: 21,544
reviews: 29
5. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Douglas, what's that? A UK flag on steroids?

Montreal
posts: 195
reviews: 1
6. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Anon, this is the flag of British Colombia (Pacific coast province of Canada, where Douglas is vacationing), which duplicates the design of the provincial shield.

Masha

Montreal
posts: 195
reviews: 1
7. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

I wanted to say Columbia :)

Jerusalem, Israel
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem
posts: 3,579
reviews: 23
8. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

I agree that you would be best off driving.

If you are leaving Jerusalem on a Tuesday at 4pm, then you should probably drive straight to your hotel at Ein Boqek or Ein Gedi, as most of the sites will already be closed by the time you get there.

On tuesday evenings, there is a sound and light show at Masada, on the Arad side. I think it starts around 8:00pm, but best call and check in advance. You should have time to check in to the hotel, and then drive to the show. There isn't much else to do in the evenings, unless your hotel has something on - most do, although since September this year is not holiday time, they may not have something every evening.

The following day, do Masada (sunrise walk up, if you have the strength and inclination!), Ein Gedi, and the Dead Sea. Either sleep over a 2nd night in the Dead Sea area, or drive to Mitzpe Ramon. On your 2nd day, you can see the Ramon Crater, and about 1 hour's drive north, in the direction of Beer Sheva you have Ben Gurion's hut and his grave, and just before that Avdat, an ancient Nabatean city. Very interesting. So, in addition to Shoshi's suggestions, you have a lot of options as to what to see.

You don't have a problem returning the car in Tel Aviv 2 days after you leave Jerusalem, since you are leaving J'lem on a Tuesday (I guess Anon and Shoshi both misread it as Thursday).

posts: 21,544
reviews: 29
9. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Sorry for the misread and thanks for the help in deciphering the flag.

Cincinnati, OH
posts: 22
reviews: 23
10. Re: Two days in the Dead Sea area/Negev

Thank you all for your help. My itinerary is now to rent a car in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, 9/23, and drive to the Massada Youth Hostel. Spend the night there and do the sunrise hike to the summit of Massada. What time would that begin towards the end of September? Also want to do the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and take a dip in the Dead Sea before driving to Mitzpe Ramon, staying in the Youth Hostel there, and spending the next day on a jeep/hiking tour in the desert.

What am I missing at the Dead Sea? Cave of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Other?

Would you recommend renting a GPS? We will be travelling from King David Street in Jerusalem, to Masada, to Ben Gedi, to Mitzpe Ramon, and then returning to Tel Aviv.

Thanks again. It is so encouraging to not have to figure all of this out totally on my own.

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