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The Kingdom of Judah

The Kingdom of Judah – 8 days

Intro

Riding Level

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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.

Horseback riding in the land of Judah

Lovers of history and horseback riding alike will be thrilled by the challenge of this horseback riding vacation. You will explore the land of the Tribe of Judah, delving deep into the bloody history of the Israelites.

During the first part of this horse tour, 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.

Dates & rates

Accommodations:

Country lodge, one night of camping in the desert and one night in a hotel in Tel Aviv

Availability:

Year round excluding July and August. The best season is December through April

Rate:

$2900 per rider ($1700 per non-rider), single supplement $260

2017 Tours

From Date To Date Duration Reserve
01/04/2012 05/04/2012 5d-4n Open
23/12/2012 27/12/2012 5d-4n Open

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in the early evening at 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.

Additional information

On the first day of the trip, participants have the option of being picked up at 4 pm from a hotel in Tel Aviv or at 4:45 pm from Ben Gurion International Airport. This service costs an additional $35 per person and it is necessary to notify us ahead of time where to pick you up. It is also possible to arrive independently at Kibbutz Dahlia by 5:30 pm. On Day 7, we spend the night in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is known for its spirited night life and participants have free time in the evening to explore the city on their own. The tour officially ends after breakfast (10 am). Trip participants can stay in the hotel until 12 pm. We reserve the right to change the itinerary as necessary to accommodate weather conditions or additional unforeseen events.