Tour the Flour Caves in Israel

There are two major road trips worth taking in Israel, one north to the Lebanese boarder and one south to the Red Sea. On the trip south there are plenty of stops to make along the way and in further posts I will tell you about others, but one of the most unusual is a trip to the “flour caves”.
Travelling south from Jerusalem on route 90, the green hills of Judea turn to brown and yellow desert. By the time you pass the Dead Sea you will be in flat dusty terrain. Going off of route 90, the Arava Highway, and following a dust road marked in red, into the flat desert you will feel like you are driving across the moon. The dry, flat expanse is beyond ones imagination, and you won’t see the caves in the distance as they are underground, to be more precise it is a canyon not cave.
Bring good walking shoes or sports shoes and candles or flash lights. the site is not guarded or monitored, and there is no entrance fee. You first walk for about 15 minutes through a gorge leading to the cave entrance. On the high walls of the gorge you can see lines of different shades of color, these indicate the water levels of previous centuries. Then you enter the caves, you can stand up right at all times. Seeing the caves should take about 30 minutes, not including the time to get there.The caves were hollowed out of limestone which was eroded by the streams of water (Nahal Pratzim) which once flowed through them.
The white dust of the chalk (marl) from the limestone leaves you ghost like from head to toe. The caves themselves vary from narrow to wide, and the assent could be challenging if you have any physical disabilities. Also do not park your car close to the cave entrance, or above the caves as there is a chance that it could collapse. The caves are estimated to be 18,000 years old. For more avid climbers/walkers, there is a blue and black route marked which will lead you from the cave exit up Mount Sodom which is 98% salt.
Where:
Wadi Nahal Perazim. South of the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, west of Mt. Sedom.
Getting there: By car from the Arava Highway, between kilometres 193 and 194, turn onto a dirt road, which leads to the Amiaz Plain, there are signs to Nachal Perazim or the Flour Cave. By jeep via Nachal Zohar.
If you don’t want to go it alone, try any one of the tour companies in the area. This will save you time and the anxiety of perhaps getting lost in this great expanse of frizzling heat.
When: Not in winter, as there can be flash floods. In the early summer or late summer, and best not at mid day, to avoid the heat. Try timing your visit so you can see a unique desert sunset.
Cost:Free entrance
Photo byJen T

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