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Map of Nizzana area

The specialities of the area are various sandgrouse and McQueen's Bustard, making the 3 hour trip to here well worthwhile. Probably the quickest way from Eilat is to take Route 40 north (take the Mizpe Ramon turn about 11km north of Yotvata on the Arava Highway). There are two petrol stations on route - 1 at Mizpe Ramon and the other about 20km further north. Route 40 north of Mizpe Ramon is also the only place we saw Mourning Wheatear. From Route 40, take Route 211 west (Nizzana should have been signposted by now). Before the Egyptian border is reached, turn left on to what begins as a rough track (opposite the right turn to Kmehin). Turn right at the T-junction after 2km, then first left after 1 km next to a tower. This road passes a military camp (on the right) - the area is good for a variety of Wheatears. The camp ends just before the 7K marker, and it is the open areas on either side of the road from here that holds McQueen's Bustard, Pin-tailed & Spotted Sandgrouse. The bustards can be very easy to find if displaying, or very difficult if hiding behind bushes. Best techniques for the Sandgrouse are to either listen for the calls or scan the open ground. One word of caution - although car crime is not common in Israel, we had our car broken into here (the radio was the target). The thieves were in a white Subaru pickup, and it is apparently down to one particular pair of Bedouins.

Although a Wallcreeper is reputed to have overwintered here, no signs were seen during our stay, although the area is well worth visiting for the breeding Bonelli's Eagles and Eagle Owls. It is found by taking Route 40 north (this is also the best way to get to Nizzana from Eilat). The gorge is about 27km to the north of Mizpe Ramon. The first signpost is actually for the rim of the gorge - this isn't the best place to be. The entrance to the base of the gorge is found by turning right into Ben Gurion College (4km north of the rim), and following the signs. There is a small charge to enter the area, but it is well worth it. Apart from the Eagles, we saw plenty of Egyptian Vultures, breeding Scrub Warblers, Chukar, Pallid & Alpine Swifts. There was also a good raptor passage overhead, and Roller within the college grounds.

While here, the open area to the north of the college is also worth checking. An orange sign for Ma'ale Zin is 1km north of the college turning. Take this down a rough track. The ploughed fields on the left hand side held 20 Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Tawny Pipits, and the scrub a little further along a pair of Sakers.

Scrub Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Scrub Warbler

Mourning Wheatear

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Eilat

Wadi Shelomo

K20/K33

Nizzana

Yotvata

Species list

Text only