The Judean Desert is the smallest of Israel’s 3 deserts, yet it is by far the most interesting one! It begins on the eastern slopes of the Judean mountains and Jerusalem city, so it in fact descends from the Holiest City to the lowest place on Earth, a total of 4000 feet. The desert is known for its extraordinary geological and geographic phenomena as well as historical sites, all making this desert a fascinating place to explore.
We start off with a very early visit to Mount Masada. We will hike up the steep Snake Path and reach the peak just in time to welcome the rising sun over the Jordan Mountains, shimmering its light on the placid Dead Sea below. After we take-in this marvelous moment, we will continue to explore the famous fortress built by King Herod and where later the Jewish Zealots made their last stand against the might of the Roman Empire. We will then head down the mountain, this time using the cable car. Our next stop will be at one of Israel’s most beautiful nature spots – Ein Gedi. This is an extraordinary oasis with a rich ecosystem, renowned for the palm trees, waterfalls and ibex herds. Our last stop for the day is at the Dead Sea – Israel’s most incredible natural wonder. This one-of-a-kind body of water is located 430 meters (1,412 ft) beneath sea level, making it the lowest place on Earth. Its waters are hyper salinated, thus plants and animals cannot flourish in it. However, its salinity allows us to float on its surface effortlessly. Its mud is reputed to hold many curative properties, and you will have the chance to try it out for yourself – or just smear each other black for fun!