Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater)

Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater)

The Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) is an extremely interesting geological site located in Israel's Negev Desert, about 53 miles (85km) south of the city of Be'er Sheva. The crater (or more properly, makhtesh) was not formed from the impact of a meteor, but is rather a geological formation unique to the Negev desert, caused by millions of years of erosion and weathering following the retreat of the ocean. These days, the 40km-long, 500m-deep crater is housed within Ramon National Park, one of Israel's most popular ecotourism destinations. The crater, which is shaped like an elongated heart, is a magnificent sight - and a potent reminder of the incredible age of the region. The crater is also home to a variety of indigenous plants and animals, including the Nubian ibex, striped hyena, Arabian leopard and Dorcas gazelle. There are numerous hiking trails leading down to the bottom of the crater, where you can see the ruins of prehistoric Khan Saharonim (a stop used by Nabatean traders travelling the Incense Route more than 2,000 years ago). An ideal destination for those who like their experiences of nature to be silent and expansive, there are also wonderful star-gazing opportunities (and cheap accommodation) available at the nearby town of Mitzpe Ramon.

Information & Facts

Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel. Most of the population also speak English.

The Israeli Shekel (ILS) is divided into 100 agorot (singular is agora). Money can be changed in the small exchange bureaux found on most main streets, or at banks and hotels. ATMs are prevalent throughout the country and linked to American systems. Most banks are open Sunday through to Friday until noon, and are open again from 4pm till 6pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, though commission on these is high.

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