Judean Desert Ride
South Israel: (IT-ILRT02)
A desert wilderness once home to bears, leopards and fugitives. The turquoise Dead Sea, shimmering in white light. Vineyards, orchards and olive groves on fertile hills. Hidden caves guarding the secrets of the ten tribes of Israel.
The Kingdom of Judah beckons the brave to hear its tales. Lovers of history and horseback riding alike will be thrilled by the challenge of these horseback riding vacation. You will explore the land of the Tribe of Judah, delving deep into the bloody history of the Israelites. These tours tell the story of the Essenes and the end of the revolt against the Romans in 70 AD. Living a communal life devoted to poverty, purity, freedom, and justice, the Essenes had their chief residence along the shores of the Dead Sea. In fact, some believe Jesus and John the Baptist were members of this elusive community. This tour takes you on a thrilling ride through the mysterious history and breathtaking beauty of the Judean Desert.
Judean Desert Getaway
- 5 Day Itinerary
This getaway explores the wild Israeli desert – exploring the wilderness during the day and camping under the starry skies at night. It includes a tour of majestic Masada and a visit to a spa on the shores of the Dead Sea as a finale - Dead Sea extensions trips are possible. This is a riding and camping expedition for the young at heart and the serious adventurer.
Kingdom of Judah Ride
- 8 Day Itinerary
During the first part we will roam the pastoral Ela Valley where Saul’s army fought the Philistines. We will stand where David shot the stone that killed Goliath. In Beit Guvrin, we will crawl through secret caves where Jews hid during the Great Revolt. All of this history occurs against a backdrop of vineyards, orchards and rolling hills and valleys. The second part of the tour is for the truly adventurous as we enter the wild Judean desert. Riding along cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea you will experience the fierce virgin beauty of the desert.
Highlights of this adventure include exploring Masada, the site of the famous mass suicide of Jewish rebels, riding on horseback to Jerusalem, a walking tour of Nazareth and the Old City of Jerusalem and a swim in the Dead Sea at a thermo mineral spa.
Accommodations will be one night in a country lodge and 3 nights camping. We
have carefully chosen our sleeping locations for cleanliness and
comfort. Amenities always include hot showers and running toilets.
Riding makes you hungry. Our staff will prepare
healthy, fresh, filling meals so no one ever rides on an empty stomach.
Our tours are not kosher. However, no pork is served on any of our
trips. We can accommodate vegetarians and other special dietary
(including kosher) requests if given prior notice. As for drinks, we
know there is nothing more satisfying than a cold beer after a long
ride. Some of our meals, usually dinner, include beer, wine or liquor.
These drinks are free of charge. When dining in Arab restaurants, no
alcoholic beverages are allowed.
We use only well trained horses
accustomed to trail riding in our equestrian vacations. Our horses are a
mixture of Quarter horses and local (Arabian) horses and trained in
Western riding. They are well groomed, in great shape and perfectly
suited for horseback vacations. We match you with a horse and tack
according to the information you provide when signing up for a riding
holiday. For riders with greater riding proficiency, we can provide a
more spirited horse; for less experienced riders, we pair horses that
are easily handled. Also, upon request, pure Arabians from our breeding
program, Sirin Arabians, can be provided.
Quality Western tack for comfort and ease. In
general, we use Western tack made in the USA. In our experience with
trail riding vacations, riders who are used to English tack quickly
adapt to riding Western style. Nevertheless, we can arrange for English
tack if given notice ahead of time. If you would prefer to use your own
tack, this is possible only if it fits the horse we have assigned you.
You are welcome to bring your own tack but we cannot guarantee you will
be able to use it.
The overall success of a
horseback holiday depends on all riders having the skills to safely
perform at the pace expected. Riders with insufficient skills are a
danger to themselves and to others. As a result, it is crucial that you
be experienced and fit enough to ride 30-40 km (18-25 miles) a day. On
our part, we make every effort to clearly explain to people inquiring
into our horseback riding vacation packages the riding difficulty of
each tour. These horseback vacations are designed for riders with a good intermediate riding skills. During the trips we walk, trot and canter.
is of utmost importance on all our horseback vacations.
is always a top priority. Our staff is comprised of trained
professionals who are certified trail riding guides. We know the land
and the trails, having chosen them for their suitability for these types
of riding holidays. Also, before every trip, our guides make a run
through to ensure the trails are safe. We use only quality, highly
trained horses. We know each of our horses well and are able to expertly
match horse and rider.
It can get very hot in Israel, especially in
the summer and in the desert. We have strict rules regarding weather
conditions, including never riding in temperatures over 90°F (32°C). In
addition, there is always a first aid kit.
what appears in the media, Israel is generally a safe and easy country
to travel in. Both Jordan and Egypt are committed to peace, and on-going
talks with Syria have made this area relatively stable and quite
favorable to tourism. All of our equestrian vacations are conducted in
secure areas of Israel with guides well versed in handling security
Judean Desert Getaway - 5 days
Day 1 Pick up at 10 am from your hotel in Tel Aviv or at 10:45 am from Ben
Gurion International Airport and transfer to the Kibbutz Dahlia in the stunning Ramot Menashe region for introductions and a brief explanation. Immediately following we will drive to the Double Saddle Ranch. After matching horses and tack with riders, we will set off for an introductory ride in the Riding Adventure Park in Kibbutz HaZorea. This will give us an opportunity to bond as a group and to get to know the horses. Then we will head out for our first trail ride to HaZorea Stream and Shalom Valley – giving you your first taste of Israel’s beautiful natural landscape. We will sleep in a cozy country lodge located on Kibbutz Dahlia.
Length of tour – 10 km/ 6.2 miles
Day 2 Waking at sunrise, we will set out at 6:30 am by car to where our horses will be waiting for us in Adumim Plains near Jerusalem. After a picnic breakfast in the desert, we will ride towards Mt. Muntar for a breathtaking view of the area. Riding south through Hurknia Valley, we will ride on dried stream beds and learn to find natural water cisterns in the desert. Towards evening we will arrive at our campground near Dargoat Stream.
Length of tour – 29 km/ 6.2 miles
Day 3 Today we will pack our horses with our tents, food and camping equipment and set out into the desert expanse. Crossing Dargoat Stream, we will ride south through the desert heights (in the winter if we are lucky we might see a desert flood). In the afternoon, we will head out towards Ein Gedi – one of the most ancient settlements in the world which is based on desert agriculture. Ein Gedi is the biggest and most important natural oasis in Israel. Possessing a tremendous amount of water, the springs of this area sustain and affect the entire Judean Desert. Desert hares, birds, ibexes and leopards live around this essential water source. Archeological finds have also recorded the existence of people living here for thousands of years. We will see the oasis from above and then ride to the spot where we will spend the night. Dinner will be Bedouin pita (patir) – an authentic meal similar to what has been eaten for the last 2,500 years by caravan leaders and desert inhabitants.
Length of tour – 31 km/ 19 miles
Day 4 Today will be a truly special day filled with the exhilaration of riding in the desert and learning about the fascinating history of the ancient peoples who once lived there. We will ride up the Essene mountainside and though channels of the Hever, Mishmar and Tseelim Streams to explore the caves where the Essenes lived. To these caves Jews and the first Christians fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. These caves are also famous for the rare archeological findings discovered within testifying to the Bar Kochva revolt (132-135 AD). We will spend the night near Tseelim Stream.
Length of tour – 31 km/ 19 miles
Day 5 Another day of exhilarating desert riding ahead of us. After breakfast, we will pass through the expansive plains of the Kanaim Valley. Then we will head east riding above Tselim Stream until we again reach cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. Along an old mule path, into the Dead Sea Valley, we will ride north until we come to a trail once used by the Roman Legion forces. Suddenly, Masada will stand majestically before us. Parting with our horses and trail guides, we will walk up the monumental site of Masada. Immediately following Masada, we will drive to a spa on the banks of the Dead Sea. As a treat after many days of hard riding, we will cover ourselves in the black mud of the Dead Sea and go for a dip in its healing waters. In the late afternoon we will drop you off in the area of the hotels in Tel Aviv, in
Jerusalem or at the airport. Our staff will be happy to assist you in finding suitable accommodations in one of the
hotels near the Dead Sea for those who wish to continue to see this
Length of tour – 14 km/ 8.7 miles
Kingdom of Judah Ride - 8 days
Day 1 Pick up at 4 pm from a hotel in Tel Aviv or at 4:45 pm from Ben Gurion International Airport and transfer to the Kibbutz Dahlia in the stunning Ramot Menashe region. After introductions and explanations followed by dinner, you will enjoy an enlightening lecture on the history of the Kingdom of Judah. We will sleep in a cozy country lodge located on the Kibbutz.
Day 2 After matching horses and tack with riders, we will set off for an introductory ride in the Riding Adventure Park in Kibbutz HaZorea. This will give us an opportunity to bond as a group and to get to know the horses. Then we will head out for our first trail ride to HaZorea Stream and Gahar Spring– giving you your first taste of Israel’s beautiful natural landscape. Later in the afternoon, we will drive to Nazareth for a walking tour of the holy sites and markets. You will enjoy the unique sights, aromas and tastes of this intriguing city. A delicious dinner will be served in an Oriental restaurant in Nazareth followed by sweet baklava for dessert. We will return to Kibbutz Dahlia for the night.
Length of tour – 12 km/ 7.5 miles
Day 3 Our horses will be waiting for us in the hills surrounding Jerusalem. We will arrive there by car and then set out on horseback for Ein Kerem, riding the same route pilgrims took in ancient times to reach the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In Ein Kerem, we will tour the Church of the Visitation. This beautifully adorned church honors the visit paid by Mary to Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother. Upon leaving the church, we will ride into the city of Jerusalem. We will then leave our horses behind and drive to the Old City. There, we will visit the holy sites of the three monotheistic religions. After the tour and a typical Israeli lunch, we will drive to Kibbutz Galon to spend the night.
Length of tour – 15 km/ 9 miles
Day 4 Fascinating historical sites and hard riding is ahead of us today. We will begin the day by meeting our horses at a point overlooking the Ela Valley. Following the Israeli National Trail, we will ride to the bottom of the valley and then to the spot where David overcame Goliath. There we will also visit the cave system used by Jews for hiding during the Great Revolt against the Romans (66 AD). A lecture about tax evasion during the Roman period will pique your interest about ancient life, though we can’t guarantee it will be easily applied for use in our modern tax system. Riding southwest through forested and agricultural areas, we will reach the Luzeet caves. These caves were an underground biblical settlement that was built during the Hellenistic period and inhabited until the Arab period. We will then head south for the biblical settlement of Beit Guvrin. Parting from our horses for the night, we will enjoy a delicious dinner accompanied by local wines. We will sleep in the country lodge on Kibbutz Galon.
Length of tour – 27 km/ 16 miles
Day 5 Our day begins by heading out for Beit Guvrin, an ancient Roman city that is remarkably well preserved. After a short tour, we will cross fields of wildflowers until we reach the famous vineyards of the Lachish area. Riding up Tel Gad, we will enjoy the beautiful views of the area. From Tel Gad, we will ride in the direction of Tel Lachish to visit the remains of a settlement that was a major city from the Neolithic times until the Kings of Judah. Heading north through Maresha Stream and Tel Maresha, we will return to Beit Guvrin. We will spend the night on the kibbutz.
Length of tour – 25 km/ 15.5 miles
Day 6 Today our desert adventure begins. Setting out early, we will drive south towards Rosh Zohar in the southern part of the Judean desert. After meeting our horses, we have our first exhilarating desert ride to a cliff overlooking the Dead Sea. We will walk in the streams which empty into the Dead Sea and along cliffs in the Syrian-African fault line. Heading north, we will ride in the desert expanses, experiencing the fresh air and open space that only the desert can provide. Our day will finish by following an ancient camel route which will lead us to our camping site in Kanaim Valley. Under the starry desert sky, we will sit around a camp fire, relaxing after our day of intensive riding.
Length of tour – 32 km/ 20 miles
Day 7 Another day of exhilarating desert riding ahead of us. After breakfast, we will ride through the expansive plains of the Kanaim Valley. Then we will head east riding above Tselim Stream until we again reach cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. Along an old mule path, into the Dead Sea Valley, we will ride north until we come to a trail once used by the Roman Legion forces. Suddenly, Masada will stand majestically before us. Parting with our horses and trail guides, we will walk up the monumental site of Masada. Immediately following Masada, we will drive to a spa on the banks of the Dead Sea. As a treat after many days of hard riding, we will cover ourselves in the black mud of the Dead Sea and go for a dip in its healing waters. In the afternoon, we will drive to Tel Aviv to spend the night in a nice hotel.
Length of tour – 14 km/ 8.7 miles
Day 8 Today you have the option of either exploring Tel Aviv on your own or resting. After breakfast, the trip is officially over. You can relax in the hotel until the afternoon or our staff will be happy to advise you on what to see in the city.
We reserve the right to change the itineraries as necessary to accommodate weather conditions or additional unforeseen events.
Rates and Dates for Judean Desert Ride
Accommodations and meals. 1 night country lodge and 3 nights camping, 5 riding days
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Tel Aviv at 10 AM on Day 1 pp rt
Additional dates are available for groups of 4+ from Oct to April
Meeting: Kibbutz Dahlia
Airport: Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport.
Transfer: Tel Aviv
What To Bring:
Mediterranean climate, Israel enjoys hot, rainless summers and
relatively short, but rainy winters.
Summers are humid along the
Mediterranean coast but dry in the central highlands and in the Negev
It does not rain from June through September, with July and
August being the hottest months at 22-33°C (72-91°F) on average across
More than 90% of the rainfall occurs between November
and March, with January being the coldest month with temperatures
ranging from 6-15°C (43 to 59°F).
Recommended riding gear:
Riding pants or Jodhpurs
boots (short) + full or Mini-chaps
hat (with chin strap)
jacket and pants (in the winter)
T-shirts/ long-sleeve shirts
jacket and hat for cool evenings (in the winter)
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable
for electric appliances
Suntan lotion and lip balm
Sleeping bag - which can be provided on request.