A “makhtesh” is a natural phenomenon unique to Israel. Craters are created by impact of celestial objects whereas the “makhtesh”, of which there are more than three in Israel, was created by flooding and erosion millions of years ago. The largest makhtesh is the Ramon Makhtesh. Put this on your bucket list. It is a must for your first trip to Israel.
Panorama of the Ramon Crater
Standing next to the Visitors Center you can enjoy the awesome panorama of the makhtesh. It is too large to take in one frame! If you choose there is a glass-floor observation platform (similar to the Grand Canyon) nearby.
Aerial View of Makhtesh Ramon
Now view the Makhtesh from an aerial view. The Albert Promenade is a trail decorated with impressive environmental sculptures, going along the edge of the crater starting from the Visitor Center. In the middle is a “bird balcony” hanging over the crater and offering the best view around. The paved trail is fairly accessible for the disabled, and beyond it a dirt path goes on along the edge to Har Gamal (Mount Camel) – a small observation platform atop a rock resembling a camel.
The road down to the floor of the makhtesh from the city of Mitzpe Ramon called Independence Ascent and was excavated in 1953 by the IDF Engineering Corps [My Alma Mater.]
Beresheet Hotel Mitzpe Ramon – View from the balcony
Beresheet means Genesis. It is a fitting name since the makhtesh looks like Earth as it was created. I didn’t stay at this hotel. But it has a nice view.
A Hike to Ramat Saharonim – Mt. Ardon – Tsinim Cliff Nature Reserve
I did take a hike through the makhtesh to see first hand the marvels of colored sand and the primeval dikes. If you are into active tourism, I highly recommend joining a group for a hike. Otherwise you can hire a jeep for a lovely guided tour of the natural attractions.