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Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

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Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

We have booked two nights at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz hotel, for our trip in June. We spent a night there on our last trip to Israel, climbing Masada, visiting the Dead Sea and Nahal David. We enjoyed it, so we booked two nights there on our upcoming trip. But now I am wondering whether we should spend those two nights instead at Mitzpe Ramon, in the "Beresheet" hotel, which looks beautiful, and perhaps a jeep tour in the Desert. Do you have any recommendation, between the two? (I don't want to do both -- too much running around from place to place). We will be coming from Jerusalem, and after this, we will drive to Rosh Pina. It looks like the drive is about the same time from either place, although by a different route. Thanks.

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1. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

Since you have already been to Ein Gedi why not try something different and go to Makhtesh Ramon. Ohad of the Ramon Jeep tours offers fantastic rides in the desert.

The only downside is that Mitzpeh Ramon is much further south than Ein Gedi and will take you over four hours to drive to Rosh Pina whereas from Eim Gedi about three hours. This only if no traffic and without stops.

The Beresheet hotel is worth staying at

Chana

Israel

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2. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

Thanks Chana. Google Maps suggests I could drive Mitzpeh Ramon to Rosh Pina in 3 hours and 15 minutes, by Route 40 to Route 6 (toll road). Is this the way you would drive? It suggests the other routes (Route 40 to Route 90, or up Route 90) could be up to an hour longer. Does this make sense?

How does one drive on the toll road (route 6)? What I mean is how does one pay the toll?

Israel
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3. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

Google Maps shows the roads at 6 a.m. without traffic. The drive is longer than you see even on the toll road. The cost is about 65 shekels plus the service fee collected by the rental agency (about 50 shekels). You definatelty can take the tollroad which as you can see is about half of the driving experience between the two places.

Chana

Israel

Israel
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4. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

How do you pay the toll? The car license plate is scanned electronically while you are driving and the bill is sent by mail to the owner, in this case the rental agency who will then bill you with - as Chana says - an added service charge. You don't pay cash in a tollbooth.

Others will know better than I do if I have missed any vital information. All my knowledge on the subject is gleaned from this forum! I do public transport, not private cars... ;-)

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5. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

I concur with those who recommend staying n Mitzpe Ramon since you have already been to Ein Gedi.

If you're prepared to pay for the Beresheit Hotel (which is, I think US$500/night off-season), then the added service charge for paying a toll should not be your deciding factor in determining where you stay.

Israel
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6. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

While it's a toll road for most of its length - Rt 6 is free for the southern portions - from Nahal Soreq to the southern end, which means from Rt.3 going south.

israel
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7. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

I also join in recommending Mizpe Ramon. Taking the toll road is a good idea, you'll drive it all the way so the fact that the first part is free is meaningless. I can recommend Adam Sela for a jeep tour (www.adamsela.com) . I have done that with him and it was outstanding. If you do a whole day with him he can provide a picnic lunch too.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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8. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

I join in the recommendation of Mitzpe Ramon -- the makhtesh ("crater") there is amazing and unique to that part of the world. And I strongly join in the recommendation of Adam Sela (www.adamsela.com), with whom I have toured twice. He is just magnificent and touring with him is a wonderful experience.

The Beresheet is a stunning hotel, and I am staying there for two nights this coming May in the biggest splurge of all of my Israel travel, but it is VERY expensive. I would book through Chantal of Regent Tours (toll free 866.383.6130 from the US, or regent@actcom.co.il); she saved me quite a bit of money over the rate on their Internet site. It is still very expensive. There are less expensive alternatives. (My partner is coming with me for the first time since 1999; hence the splurge!).

Douglas Duckett

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9. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

Thanks for all the advice. I know the hotel is expensive -- and I am not one who lives lavishly -- but since I plan to die with more than $1,500 in the bank, I figure my kids are paying for this splurge. So why not...

I will definitely contact Mr. Sela about a jeep tour, though perhaps not a full day.

Assuming I take the toll road to get from Mitzpe Ramon to Rosh Pina, any interesting stops I should consider? I do want to visit Kochav Hayarden, but that is pretty near the end of the drive.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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10. Re: Ein Gedi or Mitzpe Ramon?

If you don't see Ha-Makhtesh Ha-Katan (The Small Makhtesh) with Adam, definitely see that on your drive to the Dead Sea area. In some ways, it is the most interesting of the makhteshim (though the Makhtesh Ramon is the largest) because you can see the whole feature in one view. If you are interested in the ancient spice trade and Bibllical references, you may also want to see the Scorpion's Ascent, an ancient Roman trade route that also marked the southern border of Israelite territory in that area according to Numbers 34:4.

Adam definitely does half-day tours. I would have him take you into the Makhtesh Ramon.

Enjoy!

Douglas Duckett