Kibbutz Lotan has established an international reputation as an innovator in the quest for low-tech ways to provide food and shelter sustainably and affordably. An eye-opening guided tour (1½ hours, daily at 9.30am) takes you to the prototype EcoCampus, where you can try out a bicycle-powered washing machine, and the Eco-Park, where ideas for sustainable desert living – some of them pretty far-out – are given a trial run.
Tour participants see houses built of mud-covered hay bales, composting toilets and their by-products, a parabolic solar cooker that can set a palm frond alight in seconds, and playful sculptures made of painted mud.
Lotan's Center for Creative Ecology offers educational programs that teach participants hands-on skills in fields such as permaculture farming, ecofriendly waste treatment and the design of regenerative systems. The Eco-Experience (US$65 per day, minimum four days) mixes work on sustainable projects with classes and demonstrations. Graduates of the four-week Green Apprenticeship (US$2030) have established dozens of mud construction companies around the world. Both programs include lodging (in mud-covered geodesic domes) and full board.
Regional bus 20 from Eilat stops at the kibbutz, and Egged buses to/from Eilat stop on Hwy 90, 1.5km from the kibbutz.