Darom Adom

The annual festival held during the anemone blossoming season in the northern Negev offers guided tours, performances, culinary treats and so much more.

Strawberry picking at Darom Adom (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Strawberry picking at Darom Adom
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Everyone in Israel seems to know that the northern Negev is covered with beautiful red anemones every February. This spectacular phenomenon led to the creation of the annual Darom Adom (“Red South”) Festival, which takes place in the northern Negev between the Shikma and Habesor streams. This year’s festivities are in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday and are expected to draw an all-time high number of visitors.
This year, the city of Sderot will be joining the festivities. In addition to enjoying the beauty of the flower-covered hills, guests can join guided tours run by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, browse at vegetable markets and visit agricultural fairs.
There will be a “Circus on the Water” every Saturday during February in Habesor National Park, an authentic Beduin market at the Beit Kama intersection, and the Beduin Museum will offer guided tours.
Sderot has finally realized the potential of participating in the festival, and will be holding festivities for the whole family each Friday during February. For example, between noon and 4 p.m. the Urban Pub Festival will take place next to the municipality building, with performances by leading Israeli artists, as well as a festival offering homemade specialty foods.
A number of new restaurants have opened in Sderot over the past few years, and visitors can take a tour of a various food establishments, such as Meital Mitbah Bari, Pasta Ve’zehu, Artishok and Daba.
There will also be fascinating tours of artist studios, where guests can see sculptures created by Haviv Ben Abu, which are scattered round Sderot. Some of his works were inspired by music about the security situation in the area. One of his most well-known sculptures, which can be seen in the Garden of Wishes, is of two huge worms entwined. This work is meant to offer local residents a feeling of reassurance.
For Sderot artists’ activities: 052-365-6443. Price: adults, NIS 55; children, NIS 35.
Tovaleh dairy restaurant
If you’re looking for a restaurant, I recommend eating at Tovaleh, a veteran dairy restaurant in Sderot. The 22-year-old establishment offers a variety of breakfast dishes, pizza, sushi, pasta and salads. It’s a wonderful family restaurant.
Location: 23 Ben-Yehuda Street, Sderot.
Take pictures in nature
Not far from Sderot, in Nir Moshe, on every Saturday during the festival, there will be photography stands for taking old-fashioned pictures in nature. In keeping with the motif of Israel’s 70th birthday, visitors can recreate history and take home photos that look like they were taken in early-state days.
Location: Nir Moshe Forest.
Dates: Every Saturday in February, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free of charge.
Eshkol Banegev ATVs
A wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful scenery is on an ATV ride out in nature. Eshkol Banegev ATVs was recently opened in Moshav Dekel by Gefen and Rafi. They have six ATVs which you can rent, or you can participate in a guided tour which takes 90 minutes and includes a coffee break at an outlook with a breathtaking view.
Price: NIS 220 per ATV.
Details: 053-211-1455, 054-258-4006.
Isis Brewery
If you’re up for a spontaneous adventure, I recommend attending the Experiences and Tastes Fair which takes place today, at Isis Brewery on Moshav Dekel, just across the way from Eshkol Banegev ATVs. There will be stalls with lots of homemade food and treats for sale. Children can join a sculpture workshop, where artist Yaron Bob will show them how to create sculptures with forks. Yuval will teach baking, and at 1:30 p.m. Chemi Rodner will show his artistry.
Date: Friday, February 9, starting at 10 a.m.
Location: Isis Brewery.
Price: Free of charge.
Workshops cost NIS 15. Performance costs NIS 30.
Details: 054-642- 8598, 052-659- 9542
Uri Tutim
In addition to the gorgeous anemones that are blooming this time of year, visitors will also be happy to know that this is also strawberry season. At Uri Tutim Farm on Moshav Yesha, visitors can pick strawberries to their delight. In the greenhouses, Uri and Galit grow strawberries in boxes that hang above ground, which reduces mold and decay that often affect strawberries planted in the ground.
Dates: Friday and Saturdays in February, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Price: NIS 10. NIS 20 per basket.
Picking season: November-until beginning of May.
Tze’ela Dairy
One of the most popular institutions in the region is the visitors’ center at Tze’ela Dairy Farm, located just five minutes from Moshav Ein Habesor. Established 50 years ago by Tze’ela’s parents, the center is open weekends throughout the year, and during the festival the farm will be offering incredible buffet meals, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which include cheeses, salads, eggs, pastries and drinks. You can also order Tze’ela’s famous picnic baskets to take with you.
Price: Buffet: child, NIS 65; adult, NIS 80. Baskets: NIS 150 to NIS 175 for two people, NIS 275 to NIS 300 for family.
Details: 052-847-8935.
Not far from Tze’ela, you’ll find MeitzagTeva, an exhibition of nature photographs prepared by KKL-JNF that show the organization’s activity in agriculture, water and settlement from the state’s early years until today. The exhibition will be held until February 24 in the Harari parking area on the northern Habesor Road near Maon intersection. On Saturdays, there will be special activities for children on site.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.