Stretching from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, the austerely beautiful and sparsely populated Arava Valley has some of Israel's most sublime desert scenery, especially at Timna Park and around Kibbutz Lotan. In recent years the area has become a hotbed of research into ecologically sound desert development. To experience sustainable desert living, head to Kibbutz Lotan.
The Arava has a great deal to offer outdoor enthusiasts. For desert hiking, Timna Park is the best place to go. A popular 33km bike trail runs along a wadi between Tzofar and Paran (Faran) – it forms part of the Israel National Bike Trail.
The Arava is part of the Great Rift Valley (Syrian-African Rift), which runs for some 6000km from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley to central Mozambique. To the east is the majestic, multi-hued Jordanian mountain range known in Israel as the Edom Mountains.