Introducing Mitzpe Ramon
Mitzpe is Hebrew for ‘watchtower’, and accordingly, this small but engaging desert town is perched above the dramatic Maktesh Ramon crater. All along this spectacular ‘watchtower’, you’ll find far-ranging views and an extensive network of hiking routes. Pick up a Maktesh Ramon Nature Reserve map at the visitors centre and set off into the desert on foot; this wild wonderland is good for days of wandering.
A failure of the desert development program since it started life as a remote Moroccan community in the 1950s, Mitzpe Ramon hasn’t taken off as planned, despite many attempts at incentive schemes to attract new businesses and residents. More recently the government resettled large numbers of Soviet immigrants in the town but that has only served to exacerbate the problems of severe unemployment.
The town is slowly revitalising itself without the help of ‘well-meaning’ government strategies. Today Mitzpe Ramon is styling itself as an all-seasons ecotourism destination, but it has also become a haven for an eclectic mix of artists and city-escapists who have reclaimed the unlettable industrial zone, where they have set up galleries, stores, restaurants and even a small planetarium.
With its excellent range of accommodation, Mitzpe Ramon is the best place to base yourself for visits to nearby Avdat, Ein Avdat and Sde Boker.