The southern coastal plain (the western Negev plain), is the last section of the coastal strip and extends into the northern Sinai Desert. This region is divided into to sub-sections: the Bsor region in the northeast and the Agur-Khalutsa beaches in the south. The Bsor region is a savannah-type area dotted with a relatively large number of communities, with flowers and lush greenery in the spring, while the Agur-Khalutsa beaches are a desert region with no towns or villages. The beaches are considered part of the Negev due to their climate, and attract particularly adventurous hikers.
The southern coastal plain is known also as the Philistines coast named after the people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age (c. 1175 BC). According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states (the "Philistine Pentapolis") of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north.
The Lowlands, or the Shfela as they are called in Hebrew, which border the southern coastal plain on the east, are the transitional foothills between the country’s central mountains and the coastal plain. It is a mostly rural area of low rounded hills, broad valleys and villages, which now includes many tourist attractions. The region is crossed by several rivers and wadis such as the Ayalon, Sorek and the Elah. Parts of the hills are covered with Mediterranean bush and forest; others have the vegetation of more arid zones. Large parts are now covered by pine forests planted by the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet) with many camping grounds, archeological sites and other tourist attractions.
It is a fertile region with a fascinating history that revolves around its economic importance and strategic position throughout the ages. This is the region where young David fought against Goliath the Philistine, this is where Bar Kokhva, the Jewish military leader, dug into the ground his with his troops during the great rebellion against the Romans between the years 132 and 135 CE. The most ancient site in the region is the Beit Govrin-Maresha National Park, with its spectacular bell caves, columbarium and the remains of two ancient cities. Many ancient tels are scattered through the lowlands including Tel Azeka, Tel Tsafit, Tel Goded, all of which have remains of ancient civilizations.
Our tours will take you into the heart of this land and will uncover a great part of its beauty and mystery. For itineraries and prices click on tour options below.