Fun Israeli vacations around Kibbutz Tlalim

Below you will find a few suggestions on fun outings in the Kibbutz Tlalim area.

 Midbar Ish (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Midbar Ish
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)

If you’ve ever driven to Eilat or Mitzpeh Ramon, you’ve most likely passed through Tlalim Intersection. Hundreds of cars drive through this intersection every day, but not many people stop and investigate what’s going on at Kibbutz Tlalim or any of the other communities nearby.

Looking at the kibbutz from the road, it doesn’t seem like anything much has changed since it was formed back in 1980, but if you take a few moments to investigate, you’ll see that quite a few changes have taken place. If you stop any of the locals in the area, they will be more than happy to tell you about the exciting new culinary establishments and thrilling tourist attractions that have popped up in the vicinity.

Below you will find a few suggestions on fun outings in the Kibbutz Tlalim area.

1. Shefa Israel 

At Moshav Be’er Milka, which is not far from Kibbutz Tlalim, you’ll encounter Rina and Boaz Dryer, who made aliyah 30 years ago and fell in love with the desert. The Dryers own a 3.5-acre vineyard where they run an incredible agricultural tourist business called Shefa Israel and nurture grapes for Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

 Shefa Israel (credit: MEITAL SHARABI) Shefa Israel (credit: MEITAL SHARABI)

It’s not so straightforward to cultivate a vineyard in the desert, but with lots of love and determination, it’s possible to make great wines from grapes grown in the Negev. In order to overcome these numerous environmental hurdles, the Dryers did a lot of research and engaged in lots of trial and error until they succeeded, such as planting the vines on two levels so that the top layer provides the grapes below with the necessary shade so that they don’t ripen too early.

Shefa Israel produces 2,500 bottles of wine each year and visitors are invited to join wine tasting tours and hear about what it’s like to live in the Negev, the Bryers’ personal story of their move to southern Israel, and the realization of their dream to build and run a winery in the heart of the desert.

Price: NIS 50 (includes wine tasting and snacks).For more details, contact: 054-774-9323.

2. Fernando’s Sandwich Bar 

The Negev is not known for its variety of culinary options and that’s part of the reason why Fernando’s Sandwich Bar, located in the Tlalim Industrial Zone, has unsurprisingly received such great acclaim. Fernando Briss, the owner who made aliyah from Argentina over 30 years ago, is a bit of a meat freak and has been honing his skills and talent at aging beef for many years. Fernando’s serves all their meats with frena bread, which is baked on special stones that are placed inside an oven, and is perfect for mopping up all the sauces and juices leftover from the succulent meat dishes.

The menu includes smoked meats, brisket, spareribs and chorizo – all of which can be ordered on a plate or in a sandwich. Vegetarians will be delighted to know that Fernando’s has not forgotten about them and offers a vegan sandwich with guacamole, eggplant and roasted peppers. As well, the restaurant offers crispy french fries and onion rings, of course.

Location: Tlalim Industrial Zone. Hours: 12 p.m.–10:30 p.m., Sunday to Thursday.Price: Extremely reasonable, with most sandwiches costing NIS 45. As well, carb-free plates are available for NIS 60. On-site seating, as well as take away options are available.For more details, contact: 054-224-9081.

3. Kimhi Bakery

If you’ve left room for dessert, then your next stop after Fernando’s should definitely be right next door at Kimhi Bakery. Inbar Kimhi, the owner and native of Kibbutz Tlalim, offers a wide array of fresh savory and sweet baked goods, as well as excellent coffee. The sprightly Inbar, age 30, started this business after the COVID-19 epidemic began and has been working in the food industry for years.

Location: Tlalim Industrial Zone.Hours: 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday. 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Friday.For more details, contact: 053-303-0600.

4. Midbar Ish

Just three kilometers from Be’er Milka, in Moshav Kmehin, you will find Liran Almosnino, a.k.a. the midbar ish (desert man). Almosnino offers dynamic Tomcar off-road utility vehicle and sand skiing tours. During the Tomcar tours led by Almosnino, participants will drive up and down the endless sand dunes, with a few breaks for drinking hot tea or coffee and taking pictures from the top of hills. The sand skiing is extremely challenging and not for the lighthearted, but if you like a challenge, this might be one of the best experiences of your life.

Both of these activities are appropriate for kids, but not everyone has enough strength to climb all the way up the sand dunes before sliding back down.

Location: Moshav Kmehin.Price: NIS 850 for Tomcars for up to four people.Length of tour: 2.5 hours.For more details, contact: 052-555-1353.

 Ashalim Power Station (credit: MEITAL SHARABI) Ashalim Power Station (credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
5. Ashalim Power Station

If you’ve ever driven on Road 211 from Tlalim Intersection toward Nitzana, then you can’t have missed the sight of the enormous solar thermal power station made up of countless solar panels. At the center of the power station stands a 200-meter-high tower that can be seen from quite a distance. It is a popular tourist destination, but not for the reasons you might think. People aren’t attracted to the tower to learn about its ability to produce power, but because it’s a great place for selfies. The best location for photo ops of the power station is from a lookout that memorializes IDF soldiers who lost their lives on December 25 and 26, 1948, in a battle with Egyptian forces. The KKL-JNF plaque at the site lists the names of the fallen and recounts the battle that took place near the Bedouin village Tamila.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.