Horse riding holiday Israel c. Claudia Ziegler
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Horse riding Ramon Crater
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Horse riding holiday in Israeli desert
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Desert horse riding holiday Israel
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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.

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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.

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 (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.

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 4-81,499
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-3215
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-81,695
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-3239
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-82,075
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-3295
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5double pp group 4-816,659
2018 Exploratory7d/6n5supplement group of 2-32,359
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
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