The Craters Region offers travelers a wide diversity of landscapes and experiences. The six-day walk along the Negev Highlands Trail that comprises the middle section of the Craters Region serves as a community-based tour of some of the region’s differing populations, stopping at a number of hospitable Bedouin tents and small desert towns and communities.
Many other parts of the region, however, qualify as some of the most remote sections on the Abraham Path. The walker’s experience in these areas is characterized not by communities and cultures (which are almost nonexistent in the rugged wilderness), but by natural splendor and the allure of the wild desert. Nevertheless, even these farflung areas show archaeological signs of ancient habitation, from fortresses to ancient foot routes to an impressive Nabataean city. It’s clear that the Negev has hosted numerous trade routes between more populated parts of the world since antiquity and that people have been finding ways to live here since long before the luxuries of modern technology opened up the desert to the casual visitor.
The “craters” from which the region takes its name are another point of interest along the path. Known as makhteshim in Hebrew, these geological formations are not, in fact, craters at all – they’re a type of box canyon found only in the Negev and Sinai. The creation of these geological formations owes to the presence of the nearby tectonic plate boundary that also created the Dead Sea rift valley. The makhteshim are stunning at first glance, but also hold many subtler treasures – brightly colored dunes and sandstones and fields covered in ancient deep-sea fossils.
Parts of the region are remote, and long-distance hikers will need to cache water supplies at certain stage ends, as there are no other water supply points. The stage ends where you’ll need caches are Tamar Fort, Colored Sands, and Wadi Holit. The latter cannot be accessed by normal cars and you’ll need to hire a jeep to drop water off for you.