A Botanical and Wildlife tour of Galilee & The Negev: Wonderful range of oncocyclus irises, bulbs, orchids, birdwatching and reptiles
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. As well as many species of Ornithogalum, Scilla, and Arum we can find Tulipa agenensis and pretty pink Tulipa lownei. On magical Mount Hermon are clumps of elegant green and purple Fritillaria hermonis, richly-hued forms of Hyacinthus orientalis and some gorgeous Irises; white-topped Iris hermona and the simply stunning Iris lortetii. Israel has no less than eight species of Oncocyclus Irises, these with perhaps the most spectacular blooms in this family. On Mount Gilboa we’ll find the impressive dark purple-pink flowers of Iris haynei and near Nazareth the wonderful Iris bismarckiana, the white, purple-lined standards lighting up the slopes.
Everywhere we go the names resonate through the ages, from Nazareth and Judea to Upper Galilee, and indeed the Jordan Valley where we’ll visit the Dead Sea en route to the desert environments of the Negev. Many of Israel’s finest bulbs can be found in this unpromising looking terrain as well as Nubian Ibex and some great birds including Little Green Bee-eater, Lanner Falcon and various Sandgrouse. Along roadsides are the tall yellow-flowered spikes of Fritillaria libanotica and we’ll also find Gladiolus atroviolaceus and strange Dipcadi erythraeum. Bizarre Eminium spiculatum is easy to miss in the sands, but not the tomato-red Tulipa systola shining boldly in the bright sun, nor Gynandriris monophylla whose tiny iris flowers bloom for only four early-afternoon hours each day. Here are three more stunning Oncocyclus Irises, the bright clear purple Iris mariae and two almost black species, the well-named Iris atrofusca, and the recently-described Iris hieruchamensis, together putting on an unforgettable show.
Flowers, particularly Spring 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 two nights at the lovely Gan Hashlosha Hotel set amid Israel’s largest natural springs and close to Mount Gilboa. Next are three nights at the Rimonim Hermon Hotel beautifully situated in fine countryside close to Mount Hermon. The rooms are individual wooden cottages and there’s a heated indoor swimming pool! After a night in the oasis-set Ein-Gedi Country Hotel we have two nights at the Ramon-Inn Hotel in the Negev Desert, an oasis of comfort with a heated indoor swimming pool! Lastly we’ve a night at the Grand Beach Hotel in Tel-Aviv. 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. Occasional 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.