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The Ramon Crater is a crater in the Negev Desert, Israel, measuring 40 km long 5-10km wide and roughly 400 metres in depth. This geological feature is called a Makhtesh and was formed by erosion over millions of years. The only settlement here is the town of Mitzpe Ramon on the northern edge of the crater, where you’ll find the observation point, visitor’s center and hotels. The views are pretty spectacular!
Mitzpe Ramon Jeep Tour
Thanks to the dramatic desert landscape, the Makhtesh Ramon crater is perfect for adventure activities such as mountain biking, hiking, canyoning, jeep tours and rappelling (abseiling).
In the hands of our guide Adam Sela, we were picked up from the Isrotel Mitzpe Ramon Inn and taken on a jeep tour of the crater, before rappelling down the edge of it!
Adam has extensive knowledge of the crater and drove us all around it in his jeep- it was quite the ride! We learnt all about how it was formed, and got to see some of the wildlife that lives in the crater, including the Nubian Ibex. You would think that somewhere as barren as this wouldn’t have that much wildlife in it, but this is not the case!
Lyn, one of the other journalists on the tour, put it best:
“I bet it’s like the Jerusalem nightlife in this crater, so much going on!”
The Mitzpe Ramon Visitor’s Center
The new Mitzpe Ramon Visitor’s Center had only just opened when we visited the crater. The tour starts in a room dedicated to the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who tragically died the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. You can read quotes, information about his life, and see his space suit on display.
We then took an elevator up to the next floor, where we watched a video about Ilan Ramon’s life and his career in the Israel Air Force service. Finally we were led to another dark room, where we watched a video about his preparation for the Columbia mission and his final moments before the disaster. It was a moving video, which ends with the opening of a curtain, presenting this view:
The rest of the Ramon visitor’s center experience features interactive displays explaining how the crater was formed. There is a 3D video explaining the formation of Makhtesh Ramon, as well as a video about all the animals that live in the crater. These include the Asian wild ass, the Ibian Nubex, the desert rat, and even the odd leopard!
Accommodation in Mitzpe Ramon
At Mitzpe Ramon we stayed at the Isrotel Mitzpe Ramon Inn, which is a hotel located inside a refurbished apartment building. There are no elevators in the hotel and many flights of stairs, but the bell boys are supposed to bring your bag up for you. Unfortunately the service was rather slow and after 40 minutes of waiting for my bag, I discovered that they had mistakenly taken it to the wrong room! This resulted in them frantically trying to locate my missing bag. The evening meal and breakfast however was very good and there is a sauna and indoor pool if you want to relax after a day of adventure in the crater.
My trip to Israel was organized by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. All opinions are my own.