Negev

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The southern region of Israel, largely consisting of a desert, is called the Negev in Hebrew or an-naqab' in Arabic. It is very common to hitchhike in the Negev, and it hosts some popular hitchhiking destinations.

The tourist city of eilat is located on the red sea at the Negev's southern tip. The village of mitzpe ramon is located at the heart of the Negev, overviewing the largest natural creator in the world. The southernmost part of the dead sea is located in the northeastern part of the region. The city of be'er sheva is the largest community in the region, dubbed the capital of the Negev.

From the Negev, it is also common to hitchhike out of Israel, either to Egypt through Taba pass, or to Jordan through Aqaba pass. Both border passes are located near Eilat, at the southern tip of the Negev.

Hitchhiking in the Negev

Hitchhiking in the Negev is both common and simple. As the area is sparsely populated, you can just head out to the end of a city or a village and thumb your way right from the highway. In smaller communities, such as the Kibbutzim of the Negev, where public transport is less frequent, it is quite common for locals to hitchhike from the entrance of their dominion.

When hitchhiking in the Negev, the two most important things to remember are that it is a desert that is located in a militarized area of Israel. There are many ways locals and travelers keep themselves cool in the reality of the desert, and you should consider all of them.

In the Negev, especially in the summer months (between June and September), an average day in the sun can easily reach 40-42 degrees centigrade. To deal with the beating desert sun, it is recommended to hitchhike from covered spots like a bus station, a Trempiyada, or a gas station. Alternatively, you can try and avoid the hottest hours, which are between 11 and 15. Always hitchhike with a bottle of water, keep yourself hydrated, wear a hat and apply sunscreen if needed.

You should also stay alert in the Negev for closed military areas (more common in the West of the region) and areas of the desert that still has unexploded mines dating back to Israel's wars with Egypt, and others that function as drilling sites for Israeli Defence Forces units. These are not found on the Negev's highways, which are the easiest routes to hitchhike in the area.

Highways

Israel's two largest vertical highways, routes 40 and 90, pass throughout the region. Israel's Route 40 cuts through the Negev in its center, starting from the Beduin city of Rahat, going through Beer-Sheva and Mitzpe, and ending in Eilat. Israel's route 90, perhaps the most famous of the roads in the area, as it is a straight highway that starts on Israel's border with Lebanon, passing through the West Bank of the Jordan river, and reaches the Negev in the Dead Sea before continuing through various ecological Kibutzs until it ends up in Eilat.

While both of these roads are considered national highways, their hitchhiking spots are very easily reached by public transportation or even on foot. It is most efficient to try and hitchhike from bus stops and Trempiyadas along the way, and there are also gas stations that can function as a hitchhiking spot and also double as a place to take cover from the heat.