When visiting Israel, an excursion not to miss out on is a visit to the fascinating and ancient desert fortress of Masada. Having never been before, I booked a tour to visit and hike the 2000 year old fortification, the scene of a deadly Roman siege against the Jewish rebels in 72 AD that resulted in the mass suicide of nearly 1000 Jewish men, women and children. Masada rises majestically above the Judean and Negev deserts, overlooking the Dead Sea; the lowest point on Earth and although it is possible to take a cable car the 400 meters to its summit, and also the gentler Roman Ramp path, it is highly recommended to hike the side-winding snake-paths up the side of the mountain. This gives you spectacular views over the stunning, raw and arid landscape and a real appreciation of the magnitude of what was involved in the siege.
Hiking Masada, it has to be said, is not an easy task. Although the height and incline aren’t the most imposing or arduous, it is the searing desert heat which begins very shortly after sunrise that makes the hike all the more difficult. It is imperative that no matter what time of the year you visit, you take hydration very seriously. I used a 3L Source Hydration pack and I can tell you, was thankful for every last drop of those 3 Liters by the time I had hiked to the top. Just as important as keeping yourself hydrated, is making sure you bring the correct footwear too. This was obviously not a concern to the two middle aged Russian women I saw hiking in stiletto heels, but for the rest of us, wearing the correct footwear will help you get the most out of your Masada hike and prevent the blister and unwanted smells comparing that seemed bewilderingly popular on the bus at the end of the day. Considering the rocky terrain and the unforgiving sun, I opted for a pair of men’s Source sandals giving me comfort and sturdiness without the weightiness and lack of ventilation found in hiking shoes/boots. In this kind of environment, I always go for a good pair of hiking sandals as I find they don’t weigh you down like boots and shoes tend to do.
Once the hydration and choice of footwear has been sorted, it’s time to slip on a hat, slap on some sunscreen and enjoy your historical hike to the summit of ancient Masada. There, you are greeted with unique and interesting antiquities and a view that will simply take your breath away.
About the Author:
Samantha Wilson is a blogger who writes about travel and tourism. She enjoys visiting new places and getting the best deals.