ESRA Magazine
ESRAmagazine categories

Sunset in the Desert Mountains


 Curiosity, not Zionism, brought Colin Porter to Israel. What kept him here? "The unbelievable beauty of the place and the beautiful people. "God took a small parcel of land and packed as much as he could into it". After the Six Day War in 1967, armed with a BSc. in Forestry from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Colin joined a JNF forestry program "to see what Israel was all about". In 1969 he returned to study Marine Biology at the Hebrew University, and started working at the National Center for Mariculture of the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research in Eilat from 1977 until retiring in May 2012. In 1996 he completed a desert-tour guiding course and specializes in guiding desert tours by bus, jeep, hiking and cycling in Israel's three unique deserts.

I was invited by Colin Porter to join a 2-hour sunset jeep tour in the Eilat Mountains, with professional explanations on the geology, adaptations of the flora and fauna to the extreme desert conditions, archaeology and history. Within 20 minutes we reached K'far Rehavam - in his opinion one of the most beautiful places in this extreme desert: the incredible geological formations there include 700 million year-old granite-like rocks, 200 million year-old rainbow colored sandstone and 100 million year-old limestone, all adjacent to each other because of folding by geological faults and shaded red by the last rays of the setting sun.

The next stop was in Solomon's Wadi at a 500 year-old Mameluke bridge on the Dar- el-haj (pilgrims' road to Mecca), discovered by Lawrence of Arabia in 1916. We then proceeded along the old Eilat ascent traversed by the Palmach in March 1949 in the Uvda campaign to liberate Eilat. At sunset we reached Mt. Yoash with its magnificent panoramic view of Sinai, Saudi Arabia, Aqaba and the Great Rift Valley.

Within 15 minutes we returned to Eilat after a 2 hour "taste" of the incredible Eilat desert mountains.

On a different occasion, when the full moon rose above the Edom Mountains, I was invited by Colin again, this time to the Great Rift Valley to see Amram's Pillars incorporating four different rock types by moonlight - an unforgettable sight!

When it comes to Israel's south, Colin exudes an enthusiasm which he relishes imparting to others.

Colin Porter:



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Sunday, 28 May 2023

Captcha Image


MagazineIsrael- 2019-homepage
There are pockets of coexistence
which kindle hope.
Old cities and very new cities with amazing stories
Find out about the Israeli art scene
The best tours in Israel with ESRA members