A car tour towards Dimona including the Small Crater and Coloured Sands, Mamshit Antiquities and Mamshit River.

Sites along Route: Ruins of the Nabatean city Mamshit, Mamshit River, Makhtesh Katan (small crater), and an overnight stay at one of the Arava communities.

Our family excursion begins on the Dimona- Mamshit Road (Road 25), following the signs to Gan-Leumi Mamshit (Mamshit National Park), we’ll drive about 2.5 kilometers to the main entrance of Mamshit Antiquities.

The park contains impressive remains of the Nabatean city dating back to the first century AC. The city was first built as a guard post west of the Ma’ale Akrabim route. Later, the city became a commercial hub and many farms were built around it, supplying fresh produce to convoys crossing the desert. The visit to the national park enables seeing the ancient churches from the Byzantine Period, strolling through the old market place and the impressive public bath house that existed there in ancient times.

For those who like to hike, there is a short trail, which begins on the west side of Mamshit, near the observation point, descends into Nachal Mamshit (Mamshit River) and the ancient dam system. The trail is marked in red. The hike through Nachal Mamshit is one-way; you should have another car waiting at the end or arrange for someone to pick you up at the end.

A short hike of about half a kilometer west, on the red path, will lead us to the Nabatean dams that were restored by the British. From there we’ll continue about half a kilometer southwest and another half a kilometer east to the Mamshit well which is used to this day by the Bedouins living in the area. The ravine hosts a vast array of herbs such as germander, fragrant oxeye and more. There are also many remnants of terraces in the area. Another 2 kilometer walk to the southeast leads us to Road 206 where our car should be waiting. After the hike, we will  continue driving towards the Small Crater, otherwise known as Machtesh Chatzera.  We will return to Rotem Junction and continue about 20 kilometers east on Road 25, at the small crater junction we will turn south for about 10 kilometers.

Now we have reached the eastern opening of the small crater. Here you will find a dam, numerous Tamarisk trees and a water drilling zone. We will park the car and head west on foot into the Small Crater, which in itself is a spectacular sight and site J. The crater is approximately  8 kilometers in length, 6 kilometers wide and about 450 meter deep. The Small Crater is drained by the Hatzera river through which we entered the crater. At the small crater we will collect colorful sand, but only in areas permitted by regulations of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. We will walk around and take in the magical scenery of the crater. The recommended time of day for this hike is during the cooler hours.

We can end the day at one of the Arava communities’ lodgings.