Horse riding holiday Israel c. Claudia Ziegler
Horseback vacation Israel
Horse riding Ramon Crater
Horseback vacation Ramon Crater
Horse riding holiday in Israeli desert
Endurance riding in Israel c. Claudia Ziegler
Horse riding holiday Ramon Crater
Desert horse riding holiday Israel
Desert horseback holidays Israel
Horse riding holiday Makhtesh Ramon
Horseback vacation Makhtesh Ramon c. Eyal Bartov
Horse riding holiday Alpaca Farm Israel
Join us on an exciting and fast-paced exploratory ride in the Negev desert of Israel, a unique and adventurous trek for experienced riders. The riding includes a two-day 100km round-trip to Makhtesh Ramon, a unique geological feature only found in a small area of Israel and the Sinai peninsular in Egypt.

The makhtesh looks like a crater but rather than being formed by an asteroid or by volcanic activity, it is the result of erosion. The word ‘makhtesh’ actually means ‘mortar grinder’ in Hebrew, reflecting the bowl-like shape of the feature. This particular makhtesh is the largest and is also unusual in having two rivers draining from within.

This horse riding holiday has exclusive access to the Negev Desert and Ramon Crater National Parks, exploring these areas with their interesting geology and ecology. One night is spent camping within the heart-shaped makhtesh, a truly unique experience with the sky so full of stars it is hard to believe.
 
Extended periods of trot and canter cover much of this stunning desert landscape, with many interesting and unique plants and animals to look out for. Accommodation is on an alpaca farm with comfortable cabins run by a local family, apart from one night camping inside the crater.

The first of these rides will be an exploratory with a view to regular dates going forward. Extensions to the Sea of Galilee and other sights can be arranged.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from LM of London on 13/04/2018

Ride Summary
RE the Exploratory!
I really liked it! They were a charming family and the Alpaca farm was such a nice place to stay. The accommodation was great, as was the scenery, food, friendliness of staff, etc. It was particularly good for vegetarians, which could be a great selling point as not all of your trips are able to offer vegetarian food as easily. I loved my horse, Buck, that I had for the first 2 days – he was perfect, but sadly had sore feet and had to be rested after. The subsequent horses were also lovely but Buck was my favourite. The short ride on the third day, my horse was pregnant – I’m sure it was probably okay but I just didn’t want to kick at all so we went along a bit slowly! After that I had Elon – a little bit nutty but he settled down – I would say he was for experienced riders only; and finally Romy – also nice but also not easypeasy (but absolutely fine). So overall, I’m not sure how well they would cater for beginners or less confident riders, although they assured us they could!

I think what I like/am used to differed a little from Nicky and Karen as my favourite part by far was the 2-day 100km crater ride with the camping overnight. Nicky will have told you her thoughts but I think they thought this was a bit intense. I think it would depend on your customer – this would either be way too much for some people but could also be the main attraction for others! I thought it was great. As an aside, the tack, girth checks, safety etc all seemed to be good and they made sure we had regular water stops and plenty opportunity for photo and loo stops etc. Nothing was ever too much trouble and Ilan knew tonnes about the area, plants, animals, geology etc. Sharon was lovely! Think Ilan asked her if she could be involved if this takes off which would definitely be a good thing.

I think some of the positives could become negatives with a larger group and would need to be pinned down a bit more – as in, it was very laidback, flexible, and free and easy in terms of arrangements and itinerary. This worked well with 3 people but wouldn’t be so good for people who like to know exactly what’s what and when or with more people. Likewise, the cabin was excellent for 3 people but wouldn’t want to be in there with too many more people.

So overall, I would definitely recommend this trip to others – depending on the itinerary! I think they could adapt it to different levels of experience and adventuress-ness – you could definitely make a relaxing farm break with day rides. But the crater ride is also a really great experience!

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments

Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments

Meals
Meal Quantity     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?

How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
0
Please explain why you scored it as you did:

Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Any other comments:

Unicorn comments: Thanks for the feedback! I think this is working out to be a great trail!

Day 1
Arrive at the airport and transfer to the farm. You will have a short introductory ride in the afternoon/evening to get to know your horse.

Day 2
Today you set out on a full day ride into Makhtesh Ramon. When descending the steep rocky sides of the crater you will need to dismount and lead your horse. You can ride across the base of the crater to your campsite. Marvel at the spectacular number and brightness of stars in the clear desert sky before bed (55 Km).

Day 3
You rise with the sun today and ride through the dramatic and unique scenery of the crater Full day ride in scenery roads in the crater (45 Km). Ascending the cliff on foot, leading the horses, and then ride back to the farm for the evening.

Day 4
Today you and the horses have a day off riding to recover from the long trek of the previous two days. The farm can arrange activities such as jeep tours or visits to local attractions for you, or you can make your own plans if you wish. No lunch included today.

Day 5
After breakfast you mount up for a full-day ride into the highlands of the National Park returning to the farm in the afternoon (25 Km).

Day 6
Today you take a final ride to the Negev highlands in the morning (20 Km), having the afternoon to relax, perhaps taking a walk around the farm or a trip to a local town. No lunch included today.

Day 7
Transfer to the airport after breakfast.

Please note that this is itinerary is for the exploratory ride on 9 February 2018. Riders must have an adventurous nature and be prepared for changes to itinerary and accommodation without prior notice.

Accommodation - Please note that for the exploratory ride the accommodation is in shared cabins and that private rooms are not possible at this time. For more information please see the Accommodation tab or speak to one of our travel consultants

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are over 30 horses at the farm with a mix of breeds and sizes. Around half of the horses have Arab bloodlines and are used for the endurance trails. The horses are all well adapted to their environment and have been trained for endurance work. They are well tempered and fit to allow for long canters across the desert and equally steady climbs where the terrain dictates. With exclusive access to horse riding in the Negev Desert and Ramon Crater National Parks, the riding is often fast-paced across open desert or along trails. There is some walking required when going up or down the steep sides of the crater.



It is compulsory to wear a riding helmet for this ride - we strongly recommend that you take your own properly fitted helmet, although there is a selection of different sizes available to borrow on site.

Rider requirements

This is an endurance-based programme where riders will need to be experienced and capable of maintaining trot and canter for extended periods of time. There may be some rough terrain on the rides and at times riders will need to dismount and lead their horse when going up or down steep ground. The minimum age for the exploratory ride is 18 years.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is in shared cabins on a farm which provides a base for the riding holiday. Guests will stay either in one of the cabins (2-3 people) or the family suite (3-5 people). Cabins are open plan with a double bed and 2 sofa-beds. The family suites have a double bedroom and separate living area with 5 sofa beds. All accommodations are completed with a spacious bathroom, fully equipped kitchenette (fridge, stove, oven, dishes and tableware), dining table, air conditioning and cable TV. Each cabin or suite also has views of the desert and farm, with a shaded porch overlooking the alpaca and llamas. One night of this tour is spent camping in the desert. Guests share one big tent, although individual tents can be arranged with prior notice, subject to availability.


There is also an option to stay in 'Studio Khan', a dormitory-style cabin which can sleep up to 20 people. The sleeping in the studio is with sleeping bags on mattresses over a wooden floor. With heaters in the winter and cool natural breeze when summer. Blankets and bed sheets are available by request.

Outside the studio is a large balcony and an equipped kitchen and large dining tables. There are also several showers and bathrooms and a large and cosy area for a big bonfire or stars watching. A discounted price may be offered for staying in Studio Khan depending on room availability.





Please note that for the exploratory ride it is not possible to request a preference for accommodation in advance. All guests must be prepared to share rooms with other riders of the same sex.


Breakfast: Bread, soft and hard cheese, yogurt, cereal/all grain, fresh vegetables, tahini, boiled eggs, homemade sliced cake.

Lunch: Sandwiches, fruits, energy bars. 

On the night camping in the crater you will be served Potjie, a vegetarian South African dish cooked over open fire in an iron pot containing of vegetables, grains, and rice and sometimes meat.

The farm is not providing dinners (yet), they can recommend other food suppliers from the nearby town that can bring the food to the room. There are also many restaurants in Mitzpe Ramon. Expect dinner in a restaurant to cost 100-150 ILS per person. The farm can arrange transport/taxi up to 50 ILS a direction. Please follow the links to see the menus of some local restaurants in English.


Innsense


Tzukim


HaHavit

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

The following information is provided as a guide and updated regularly however visa requirements can change quickly and depend on diplomatic relations. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

Visas:

British, EU, Canadian and U.S.A. passport holders don’t need a visa to enter Israel as a tourist for a period of up to 3 months.
It is for the Israeli authorities to determine the right of entry into Israel, if you have any particular concerns about visas or entry into Israel, you should contact your local Israeli Embassy. Visitors entering via Ben Gurion airport are given an entry card instead of an entry stamp in their passport. While this practice is in place at other ports of entry, there have been instances where passports have been stamped for entry purposes. You should keep your entry card with your passport until you leave. This is evidence of your legal entry into Israel and may be required, particularly at any crossing points into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

You should expect lengthy personal questioning and baggage searches by security officials on arrival and departure from Israel. Electrical items, including laptops, may be taken from departing passengers for security inspection and either stored in the aircraft baggage hold, or returned to you in the UK. Damage may occur. If you arrive with valuable personal items (computers, camcorders etc.) you may be required to pay a deposit that is refundable on or after departure. Israeli security officials have on occasion requested access to travellers’ personal e-mail accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry.

The Israeli embassy in the UK can be contacted at:
Address: 2 Palace Green, London, W8 4QB. Telephone: 020 7957 9500. Email: info@london.mfa.gov.il Website: http://www.embassyofmongolia.co.uk/

The websites below give up to date travel advice tailored to their citizens on: Entry requirements; Health; Safety and Security including terrorism; Money and Local Customs. Please ensure you have checked the country you are travelling to is a suitable destination for your personal circumstances before booking your holiday.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/israel

In the USA the Department of State gives travel advice at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/israel.html

In Canada the Government of Canada gives travel advice at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/israel-the-west-bank-and-the-gaza-strip

In Sweden the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives travel advice at
http://www.swedenabroad.com/en-GB/Embassies/Tel-Aviv/


The British Embassy in Israel can be found at: British Embassy, 192 Hayarkon Street 6340502, Tel Aviv, Israel
Telephone: +972 (0)3 725 1222
Email: webmaster.telaviv@fco.gov.uk
Office Hours Local Time: Monday to Thursday, 8am to 4pm, Friday 8am to 1:30pm
Website: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-tel-aviv

US Embassy in Israel can be found at: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv Israel 63903
Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7575
Emergency after-hours telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7551
Email: amctelaviv@state.gov
Office Hours Local Time: By appointment only from 8 to 11am, Monday – Friday, except for the first Wednesday of each month and during Embassy closures.
Website: https://il.usembassy.gov/

Canadian Embassy in Israel can be found at: Canada House, 3/5 Nirim Street, Tel Aviv, 6706038 Israel
Telephone: (011 972 3) 636-3300; Within Israel (03) 636-3300
Email: taviv@international.gc.ca
Office hours local time: Monday to Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/israel/index.aspx?lang=eng

Swedish Embassy in Israel can be found at: Embassy of Sweden, P.O.B. 9393, Tel Aviv 6109301
Israel
Telephone: +972 3 718 00 00
Email: ambassaden.tel-aviv@gov.se


Last update: 3/10/2017

Climate Summary

The best times to go riding in this area are between October and April when temperatures are slightly cooler and it is not too wet or dry. It can get very hot in July, August and September, and riding is often not possible during the middle of the day. Average rainfall is generally quite low, and the summer months often see no rain at all.

Climate Chart
Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to Israel, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.

We strongly advise you to consult with your General Practitioner before travelling. The best medical advice regarding suitable immunisations and prophylaxis to enable you to travel safely requires knowledge of your medical history and therefore cannot be covered in this advice sheet. Recommendations are also subject to change and it is important to obtain the most up to date information available.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health warnings for this ride, although it is strongly recommended that you use plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water.

Electricity

In Israel the power sockets are of type H. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. These sockets are unique to Israel, you will need an adapter to charge devices.

Film and Camera Equipment

It will be possible to charge batteries and cameras each night in the cabins, however there will be no power supply on the camping night.

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may vary according to the time of year and your personal preferences.

• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015. Please note that it is mandatory to wear a riding helmet on this ride and there is a selection of helmets available to borrow at the farm.
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots).
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• Fleece for evenings
• Warm layers
• Sleeping bag
• Casual Clothes for when out of the saddle
• Raincoat - although it rains very rarely it may be a good idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
• A copy of your passport

Water bottles are provided at the farm.

Programmes

This is a 7 day/6 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates throughout the year. Other dates are available on request for groups of 2 or more.

Departure Dates

2018: 9 Feb (exploratory)

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-81,399
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-3199
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-81,615
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-3229
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-81,989
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-3285
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-816,749
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-32,375
Wildlife

Most of the flora and fauna in this area has specifically adapted to the desert conditions. The Asian wild ass has been reintroduced to Makhtesh Ramon. Other larger mammals of the area include Nubian ibexes, Dorcas gazelles, striped hyenas and few Arabian leopards. A small population of Arabian leopards, an endangered animal in the Arabian peninsula, survives in the southern Negev. The Negev Tortoise and the Negev shrew are only found in Israel

Other Activities

The area boasts boutique wineries, a natural cosmetics manufactory, spas, cycling, hiking, galleries etc. Eilat, a seaside tourist resort on the Red Sea, is two hours’ drive away where the diving, snorkelling and seafood is superb. Additional day rides, yoga, tours of the wool factory and trail walking can be booked at the farm. Extra days horse riding close to the Sea of Galilee can also be arranged.

Other Information

You should expect lengthy personal questioning and baggage searches by security officials on arrival and departure from Israel. Electrical items, including laptops, may be taken from departing passengers for security inspection and either stored in the aircraft baggage hold, or returned to you in the UK. Damage may occur.

If you arrive with valuable personal items (computers, camcorders etc.) you may be required to pay a deposit that is refundable on or after departure.

Israeli security officials have on occasion requested access to travellers’ personal e-mail accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, Ovda Airport or the farm
Transfer:
2018: From Tel Aviv 500 ILS or Ovda airport 350 ILS per vehicle (1-4pax) each way. Car hire is an alternative option.
Flight Guide:
London to Tel Aviv from £350
Riders who booked this ride also considered
Gallop in Moon Valley Oct 2011
Chile, Atacama Desert Trail
Fantastic riding adventure in the driest desert in the world...Read more >
from $3,935
Village Life
Spain, Catalonia Extreme Trail
Fast riding and long days in the saddle for competent riders...Read more >
from $1,025
Cantering through desert dunes in Oman
Oman, Beach and Desert Ride
This is a great compilation of adventurous riding on forward...Read more >
from $2,555