Israel is set to become one of the best emerging destinations for sand boarding, with the sport gaining more and more popularity among locals. The Negev desert, with its shifting sands transported by the wind from the Sahara, is quickly becoming a tourist attraction that brings people from all over the world to experience the thrill of gliding down sand dunes at high speed with their board or toboggan.
Sandboarding in the Negev Desert
The Negev desert covers more than half of the country of Israel, but it has a mostly rocky terrain that is not suitable for sand surfing. There are soft sand dunes in the area sited between Beer Sheva and Mitzpe Ramon, approximately a 30 minute drive from either of these towns or a 2 hours drive away from Tel aviv. There are many companies that offer sandboard rentals and lessons for beginners in the area, but you can also book a tour in advance which is often combined with a desert jeep safari and other tourist activities.
When to go
The best time to go sandboarding in Israel is winter, from November until March. This is because the wind is weaker during the summer and shifts less sand from the Sahara, making the dunes smaller. The tallest dunes usually reach a height of 30m or so, which makes the Negev desert an ideal destination from beginner sandboarders.
Family fun for all ages
Sandboarding in Negev is a very popular activity for families with kids. The smaller ones can decend the dunes on a sand toboggan for sledding down, while the older often prefer to opt for a sandboard which they can use to ride the dune standing up, as if they were surfing. The two types of boards are very similar but toboganning is generally easier for children and beginners (and a lot of fun nonetheless!).
Is sandboarding in Israel safe?
Sandboarding is very safe as long as extreme board sports go. The dunes in Israel are not very steep and the sand is soft so accidents are rare. If you are planning to go sandboarding on your own (i.e. without a tour), then you may want to make sure that you have sandboard insurance and that the location you choose is ideal. There are snakes and scorpions in the Negev desert so it’s best to avoid dunes which are too far off from populated areas.
Best Sandboarding Tour
There are a few options for sandboarding in Israel, but we found that Dror Bamidbar offers the best tour specifically for this activity (they also offer Jeep tour of the Negev Desert). It’s got incredibly positive reviews on TripAdvisor, too, so check for yourself and make up your mind 😉