Mitzpe Ramon – is a town in the Negev desert of southern Israel. It is situated on the northern ridge at an elevation of 2,400 feet (800m.) overlooking an enormous erosion cirque known as the Ramon Crater. This crater, or “Machtesh”, as it is called in Hebrew (a term also used by geologists around the world) is 28 miles long and five miles wide. It is a formation unique to Israel and the Sinai.
Due to the desert climate, Mitzpe Ramon experiences very hot summers and cold winters.
Of all of Israel’s desert regions, the Ramon area has the most varied and lush flora. This can be attributed to the variety of habitats found here and to the difference between the climactic conditions on the Ramon Ridge and those on the Machtesh floor. The high regions of the Ramon Ridge, such as Mizpe Ramon and the Loz Cisterns, have a steppian climate. Because of the cold desert winters, the flowers here bloom in late winter and early spring, a time when the ridge is awash with color.
The Machtesh floor is drier and hotter than the ridge. Saharo-Steppian flora (originating in the Sahara Desert and the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula) are most commonly seen here. The desert springs and the damp soil near them also give rise to a special habitat. Rushes, whose leaves have needle-like points, cattails, and reeds grow near the fresh water. This is evidence that there is groundwater close by, even if none is visible.
Thanks to the variety of habitats in the Ramon region, many species of animals choose to make their homes here. Because of the size and remoteness of Machtesh Ramon and stringent nature-conservation efforts in the Ramon region, the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority decided this would be an appropriate place for the reintroduction of animals which had disappeared from the Negev Desert landscape. One was the onager, a wild ass which cannot be domesticated.
The Nubian ibex, once in danger of becoming extinct in Israel, now romps happily on the cliffs of Machtesh Ramon. The Negev highlands also has populations of leopards, hyenas, dorcas gazelles, wolves, red foxes, Afghan foxes, caracals, sand foxes, and Syrian hyraxes. The small rodents – fat sand rat, garden dormoose, and golden spiny mouse – and the many reptiles in the Machtesh are harder to spot. These animals are on view at Bio-Ramon.
Night star gazing at the Mitzpe Ramon
The clear unpolluted air and the altitude of Mitzpe Ramon makes it a great place for star gazing at night. Hikers and bikers will find here interesting desert challenges. There are also a reasonable accommodations here for all : Guest House, Campground, B&B and hotels