Israel may be renowned for its mystical past, disputed present and uncertain future, but there is more than what meets the international headlines. Fascinating archaeological sites, a wealth of natural beauty spots an a cultural diversity matching anywhere else in the Middle East are enough for a trip in their own right. The modern state of Israel, developed for tourism and equipped with stringent security, makes travel both safe and easy to explore its sites. It is to this fascinating destination, that Somerset Tours & Travel invite you to join them on a voyage of discovery.

Our tour departs from South Africa on 22 April 2018 and flies on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to Tel Aviv. We will spend two days in this vibrant city with time to explore nearby Old Jaffa.

The tour continues north to Caesarea, once the Roman capital of the region, Haifa and the medieval city of Akko. Few of the world’s cities are as timeless as Akko, the stonewalled fortress by the sea. After enjoying a long and varied history under Alexander the Great, the Egyptians and the Romans, Akko came to prominence as the Crusader city of Acre. Among the many famous people to visit Acre, was the young Marco Polo who used this city as a staging point on his journey to the court of Khublai Khan. We’ll base ourselves on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for two nights, from where we’ll be able to visit the Golan Heights and Safed, the centre of Jewish mysticism.

Heading to Jerusalem, the group will visit Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes, Nazareth, Tiberius and Beit Alpha en route.

Four nights will be spent in Jerusalem visiting the treasures of the Old City, the New City and surrounds. Described as the “most important discovery in the history of the Jewish people”, the Dead Sea Scrolls, now on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, were discovered in Qumran in 1947.

The itinerary proceeds through the Negev Desert via Timna geological and archaeological park to view the outstanding Solomon’s pillars to Eilat on the Red Sea for 2 nights. From here there is an excursion to Petra in Jordan. Hewn from towering rock walls, the imposing façades of the great temples and tombs of Petra are an enduring testament to the grandeur of the Nabataean vision. The Nabataeans – Arabs who controlled the frankincense trade routes of the region in pre-Roman times – chose as their city a hidden valley concealed from the outside world and transformed it into one of the Middle East’s most memorable sites.

From Eilat the tour continues via the Ramon Crater and the magnificent Zin Valley to the Dead Sea.

The following day we will visit Masada and drive back to Tel Aviv to fly back to South Africa on 04 May arriving in South Africa on 05 May 2018.

The tour will be accompanied by Liz Cotton and we will be escorted by an English-speaking local guide throughout.

The tour is limited to 18 participants, and if you are interested in joining us, please do not hesitate to let me know.

This is a very special and unique tour. If you are at all interested in the spectacular history of this part of the world, I would suggest you make a plan to be part of our group!