So let’s take a peek into the secrets of the desert by visiting Ramon Crater Nature Reserve. The Reserve is renowned for its makhtesh; a geological landform specific to the Negev Desert in Israel and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. In fact, the Makhtesh in Ramon Crater Nature Reserve is the largest in the world at 40 km long, 2-10km wide, and 500 meters deep! As you stand at one of the many observation points, you will be stunned by the sweeping views of the canyon; so make sure to have your camera ready at all times! While the land appears barren but it actually a hive of activity, from the ancient geological formations to the thriving flora and fauna; this park is a magical place that you can explore with me on a private tour.
Ramon Crater Nature Reserve – A Geological Wonder
Ramon Crater (Makhtesh Ramon) Nature Reserve is so famous is its incredible erosion cirque, called a Makhtesh, which can also be called a steephead valley or a box canyon. Unlike most craters, it wasn’t formed from a meteor’s impact or a volcanic eruption, but millions of years of natural earth processes. How did it start? Today, we have the Negev Desert, but hundreds of millions of years ago, the area was an ocean.
As the ocean receded, it left behind a hill that slowly flattened over time. About 5 million years ago; when the Great Rift Valley formed, the rivers changed courses and carved out part of the rock. Essentially, the center of the crater deepened at a faster rate than the walls; making for a deeper and deeper canyon with steep walls. Today, the deepest spot is 500 meters deep and is known as Ein Saharonim, which is the only water source for the park’s wildlife.
Ramon Crater Nature Reserve – Not Just Geological Wonder!
Since the crater features such a variety of geology throughout its layers; a broad range of biomes call the Ramon Crater home. Over 486 plant species grow here with 71 considered rare, 8 classified as endangered, and 25 as endemic, meaning that they only grow in this area! A wide range of flora also means that you get a menagerie of fauna, too.
From the clifftops to the oases, you can find incredible animals from the Nubian Ibex, known for its impressive, curved horns, to the Arabian Leopard who is numbers are sadly declining. One particularly fascinating animal is the Sinai agama; this lizard changes its color to blue during breeding season! Due to the extreme heat of the area during the day, you are unlikely to see many animals during your tour, but you will likely see their tracks crisscrossing the area.
Ramon Crater Nature Reserve Opening Hours:
Note: Entrance to the visitor’s center is by reservation only!
and the last entry to the site is one hour before the site’s closing time
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00-17:00
Friday and holiday eves: 08:00-16:00
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00-16:00
Friday and holiday eves: 08:00-15:00
Holiday eves: 08:00-13:00
Yom Kippur eve: 08:00-13:00
On holidays and Saturdays, I recommend arriving early; entry is based on the availability of space.
For groups of more than 30, visits can be reserved outside of regular hours with an additional fee.