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Exploring Israel’s Negev Desert with Adam Sela Jeep Tours

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Exploring Israel’s Negev Desert with Adam Sela Jeep Tours

One of the highlights of my time in Israel was bouncing around the dusty Negev Desert on Adam Sela‘s four-wheel-drive tour. All words & photos by your desert drifting guide, Ben Holbrook. This hallowed landscape is famously home to the Makhtesh Ramon, the world’s largest ‘erosion cirque’. It looks like a giant meteor crater but was actually created…

One of the highlights of my time in Israel was bouncing around the dusty Negev Desert on Adam Sela‘s four-wheel-drive tour.

Negev Desert Jeep Tour with Adam Sela, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3687

All words & photos by your desert drifting guide, Ben Holbrook.

This hallowed landscape is famously home to the Makhtesh Ramon, the world’s largest ‘erosion cirque’.

It looks like a giant meteor crater but was actually created some 220 million years ago when the oceans that covered it eroded the area.

It sounds like a cliché but, as we stood in the still silence, looking out across the endless peaks of burnt-terracotta rock, it felt like we were on a different planet entirely.

Later, a lonely complex vibrated into sight through the windscreen, which Adam explained was used to create and test research equipment for exploring Mars.

“And this area here is used to train tank drivers. Sometimes you’re driving along here and suddenly there are these huge tanks everywhere.”

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Off-roading in the Negev Desert, Israel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3771

Negev Desert Jeep Tour with Adam Sela, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3687

Negev Desert Jeep Tour with Adam Sela, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3687

Israel/Egypt border.

Negev Desert Jeep Tour with Adam Sela, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3687

Hyena tracks.

Coffee break.

Negev Desert, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-4033

Exploring the canyons.

Negev Desert Wildlife, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3687

It was 7.30am and Adam pulled the car over so we could take in the view. Through the morning mist appeared a trio of tawny ibex teeter-totterering over the limestone rocks to see what we had to offer. They looked both angelic and devilish all at once, wearing expressions that seemed human and familiar. “They eat everything and anything,” Adam explained as one of them chomped down on an empty cigarette packet.The scenario shook me from my early morning haze, the realisation that even this, even the Holy Land, the actual one from the Bible, has been tarnished by man. I’m not a believer, but I can’t help but think we’re all going hell.

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As we neared Eilat on the Red Sea, our final destination, we stopped in the Eilat Mountains.

From here we could see Aqaba in Jordan and Israel’s Red Sea. Saudi Arabia sat on the horizon and, just behind us, the barbed wire border of Egypt.

I was fascinated by the whole experience, by the lay of the land and its geographical uniqueness. But I was also fascinated by Adam.

Born and raised in Kenya, to British parents, his mother tongue is English. But it’s an antiquated English that was both reassuringly familiar and somehow entirely alien to me. It was like talking to Prince Phillip, but fifty years ago. Proper. Polite. Polished.

Adam moved to Israel some 30 years ago and joined the army. He never returned to Kenya. “I used to visit now and again, but I have no family there anymore, so I have no plans to return. And I’ve seen it, I know it… There are so many other places to visit.”

Today he has two sons with his Israeli wife and speaks perfect Hebrew. For all intents and purposes, he is an Israeli.

“You know when you’re bilingual when you dream in the language,” he laughed when I asked him whether he ‘thinks in English or Hebrew’.

***

Adam Sela, Negev Desert, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-4033

Negev Desert Jeep Tour with Adam Sela, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3687

Negev Desert, Israel, 4X4 Jeep Tour with Adam Sela, Israel by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-3806

Adam Sela, Negev Desert, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-4033

Negev Desert, Israel Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com-4033

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Make it Happen

Adam is the perfect gentleman and a fantastic guide. Whether showing you the geology, culture or wildlife, he talks with sincere passion and immense knowledge.

If you’re going to Israel, I urge you to get in touch with Adam to arrange a tour.

Experiences range from off-road jeep tours and hiking to mountain biking and rappelling.

Find out more on Adam’s website here. 


Are you planning a trip to Israel? Would you like to go to the Negev Desert?

Leave a comment below or talk to me directly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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