AUTUMN BULBS OF GALILEE AND THE NEGEV
The Eastern Mediterranean flora reaches a special richness in Israel, with no less than 2800 species of flowering plant in what is a very small country. At the junction between Mediterranean, African and European biomes, Israel has an unusual range of climate from pure deserts to mountains topped by snow in the winter.
In short, perfect conditions for bulbous species to proliferate and they have, with more than two hundred species, around one-fifth of these flower only in the autumn. We can find fabulous shows of Narcissus obsoletus and Narcissus tazetta blooming on rocks just metres from the Mediterranean’s waters. With them is rare Biarum angustatum thriving in crevices loaded with Prospero autumnalis, Muscari parviflorum, and the pretty bright pink stars of Colchicum stevenii. In one small area on the slopes of Mount Carmel we’ll find a Crocus still awaiting a name…
On magical Mount Hermon are some particularly fine species. There’s the impressive clumps of pink Colchicum hierosolymitanum, delicate almost white Colchicum antilibanoticum, and the great golden goblets of Sternbergia clusiana. There’s also the rather less showy Sternbergia colchiciflora and no less than four species of Crocus - Crocus ochroleucus, Crocus aleppicus, the rare Crocus hermoneus hermoneus, and the gorgeous shades of Crocus pallasii pallasii,
Everywhere we go the names resonate through the ages, from Masada to Upper Galilee, and indeed the Jordan Valley where we’ll visit the Dead Sea en route to the desert environments of the Negev. Fan-tailed Ravens and Tristram’s Grackles are around us as we admire Crocus damascenus, tasselled Colchicum feinbruniae and the extremely rare yellow flowering Biarum aurantiacum. Some of Israel’s finest bulbs can be found in the Negev’s unpromising looking terrain as well as Nubian Ibex. Thousands of Pancratium sickenbergeri bloom in the sand dunes in the company of delicate Prospero hanburyi and striking red-stemmed yellow-flowered Ferula biverticillata. There’s little clumps of Colchicum tunicatum and perhaps rare Colchicum ramonensis, as well as newly minted Crocus ramonensis.
Autumn Bulbs. Also Birds, Reptiles and Historical Sites.
Quite easy, no more than three or four miles in any one day, and always at a slow pace.
Included in the Price
All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals in Israel. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature, including insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 8 or less.
We start with a night at the Grand Beach Hotel in Tel Aviv. Next is one night at the Colony in Haifa. Named for the German Colony in the historic centre of Haifa this stylish hotel is just 300 metres from the Baha’i Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We move to the Hula Valley for the next two nights where we’ll stay at the Hotel Galilion situated right at the entrance to the Hula Lake Nature Reserve, so a hotel well-known to birdwatchers. For us though this is the perfect base to explore Upper Galilee and Mount Hermon. The scenery is particularly beautiful. After a night in the Prima Oasis Hotel by the Dead Sea we have a night at the Ramon-Inn Hotel in the Negev Desert, an oasis of comfort with a heated indoor swimming pool! Our last night is at the Yad Hashmona Guest House beautifully set high on a mountain overlooking the Judean Hills. All these hotels are of a very good standard and all rooms have en suite facilities.
UK direct return flights are from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Mostly warm, clear and sunny in the day, and cool at night. There’s just a chance of rain!
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Flower and bird checklists are available.