Though it is possible and legal to hike alone, hiking with a partner or two is always better. There is someone there to take your picture, there is someone there to share jokes with, and most importantly- if anything, anything at all, goes wrong- even if it’s just a sprained ankle- Having a partner is the best and quickest way to get help. If you are traveling alone and don’t have a hiking buddy, it’s always a good idea to ask around at the hostel you are staying at or at the desk of your hotel. You can join a hiking tour at NegevTrek.com or Check out WaterDrop for other hikers in the area.
If all of these fail and you are left to hike on your own- Make sure to take a cellphone with you and inquire about reception along the trail you picked. Leave a detailed written plan with a receptionist or a hostel employee and make sure to carry a lot of water and a map.
The amount of water you need to carry depends a lot on the distance, duration, season and difficulty level of the hike you are planning. As a rule of thumb NEVER leave with less than a 1.5 lt bottle of water (50 oz). On any hike of more than 2 hours you should carry at least 3 liters of water, and 6 liters of water are usually enough for a full day hike. If you are planning on camping you should add another 1.5 lt for cooking and washing dishes.
Even on short hikes it’s a good idea to always have some food in your backpack- a small snack, a candy bar or two or a piece of fruit. More often than not people end up taking longer to complete a hike than originally planned, and having a bite to eat always makes a walk that is longer-than-planned-due-to-backtracking, much easier to bear.
Short answer- NO. Though many of the hikes pass through beautiful springs or hidden waterholes, drinking from natural sources in the Negev is not recommended. There are no taps or water tanks along any of the hikes or treks and apart from a handful of cases, campgrounds in the Negev have no facilities or running water.
Before setting on a hike or trek make sure to carry enough water for the entire hike. On multiple day hikes you can arrange a water dropoff at waterdrop.
Carrying water for more than one day is possible but definitely not recommended.
Depending on the type of hike you want to go on, you can use several spots as home bases. As far as verity of available trails Mitzpe Ramon is one of the best spots, followed by the Sde Boker area. You can also use Beer Sheva or Arad for hikes both in the Negev and the Judean desert.
Transportation to and from hikes in the Negev poses several challenges.
Driving a rental car will give you the most flexibility but will limit you to hikes that a round trips. Leaving your car unguarded at a trail-head is possible but the danger of break-ins, though very low, is still there. Public transportation gives access to many of the trail heads and gives you the ability to start your hike at one spot and finishing it at another spot.
Hitchhiking is possible and many hikers do it. Generally speaking the hitchhiking scene in the Negev is better than in other parts of Israel, but caution is always necessary, just like in any other country.
No. it’s illegal and will make it extremely hard to find you if something goes wrong.
It’s always a god idea to make sure someone knows where are going and when you expect to be back. Leave a written description with a hotel receptionist, a friend or a family member.
If you meet a park ranger along the way, or other hikers, it is not a bad idea to share your general plans.
For an emergency dial 101 for an ambulance or 100 for the police or search and rescue services. Another possibility is to contact your hotel/hostel.
Ask at a visitors center, or at the field school.
You can find updated weather information on several websites including Israelweather.
Yes, but only day hikes - not multiple day treks. Even for the day hikes - you will have to make some adjustments, but hiking in the Negev during any season is a rewarding experience. Temperatures during the day in the summer reach as high as 40c, so it is best to set out on your hike as early as possible – before sunrise. Hike for up to 4 hours, and then stop- either head back to your hotel or hostel, or, find a tree or the shade of a rock to spend the hot hours of the day, and start hiking again later in the afternoon.
Hiking during mid-day is dangerous.
No, the designated areas were you are allowed to camp and light a fire, don't have any facilities whatsoever- including water. For hiking multiple day hikes you would need to organize a water delivery or a water cashing. You would need to calculate 6 liters of water a day.