26 NOVEMBER 2012
I was invited by the Israel Department of Tourism to join them for a wonderful opportunity to see a bit of Israel.
I departed from Cape Town to Johannesburg on Kulula Airlines. Then with El Al Airlines from Johannesburg to Tel Aviv. Be sure to have your Vouchers and everything ready, because the Security Check done by the airline which can sometimes take up to an hour. After Check in El Al had a representative escort us through passport control and on to the Executive Lounge. Don’t have high expectations for the lounge, but it is comfortable.
Flight LY 052: I flew to Tel Aviv on El Al, the seats are comfortable, and there is a bit more legroom than usual. But the plane is very old. There are still ashtrays in the armrests and overhead screens.
27 NOVEMBER 2012
I arrived in Tel Aviv early in the morning. We checked into the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel. Refreshed, had breakfast at the hotel, and then it was off to Carmel Market. Carmel Market is a great place for getting bargains. At this market you have a lane with everything from Touristy things, clothes, underwear, electronics, fruit, vegetables, meat, and small take away stalls. It is a definite must see if you’re visiting Tel Aviv.
28 NOVEMBER AND THE DAY OF 29 NOVEMBER 2012
As the Convention had not started yet, these two days were spent on the Tel Aviv beach. The restaurants along the beach all rent out chairs and umbrellas, so you only need to take a towel along with you.
29 NOVEMBER 2012 EVENING
The Convention starts at the Tel Aviv Opera House. We were taken on a “Behind the Scenes Tour” of the Opera House, where we got to see some of the training rooms, the Backgrounds to some operas, as well as the Room holding all of the Costumes. We had dinner here, and then got a Private Show in a Rehearsal room from some of the opera singers.
30 NOVEMBER 2012
We started on a tour of some of the suburbs of Tel Aviv. We had lunch at Doctor Shakshuka. You sit outside, while waiters bring you plate after plate of breads, sauces, and meats to eat. After lunch we went to Jaffa and visited the Old Jaffa Tourism Centre, the Ilana Goor Museum and the New Jaffa Port.
It being Friday evening, the Sabbath had began in Israel. So we ate in the Hotel restaurant.
01 DECEMBER 2012
We departed the morning from our respective hotels and started the Southern Tour.
This day we drove past Jerusalem. Our tour for the day started at Masada. Everyone took the Cable Car to the top of Masada, and walked around one of King Herod’s famous fortresses. After this we went on to the En Geidi Kibbutz, which is the only Kibbutz in the world which is based in a Botanical Garden, in the desert. We were also treated to lunch here.
After the Kibbutz we had transfers to our hotels in the Dead Sea. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea. This hotel is truly amazing. Even though our group staying at this hotel arrived late and in the dark, the manager asked the Lifeguard to stay on at their part of the Dead Sea so that we could float around.
All of the rooms at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea have a Sea View.
The Dead Sea is great for any clients with Skin Diseases and troubles.
After this we went to the Isrotel Dead Sea for dinner.
02 DECEMBER 2012
After breakfast, our transfer picked us up from our hotels and it was a 3 hour bus drive to Eilat. Once we got to Eilat we went to the Eilat Dolphin Reef. There is a family of 8 dolphins staying here, the dolphins are a Tame Wild mix, at a time they left the gates open and the dolphins could come and go as they wanted too until the ships started hurting the dolphins and they closed the gates. We had lunch here, and they closed off the private pools for us to swim in, as well as sit on the jetty with our feet in the water where the dolphins were swimming. This was an awesome experience!!!
That evening we went to the U Coral Beach Hotel for dinner and a show. The After Party that evening was held at the Three Monkeys. That evening we stayed at the Dan Eilat Hotel. This hotel has some amazing pools and some of the best views of Sundown.
03 DECEMBER 2012
After breakfast we went to presentations from the hotels in Eilat. After this we took a domestic flight from the Eilat Airport to the domestic Airport in Tel Aviv, Sde Sov Airport. From here we took a bus to Jerusalem with a stop in one of the Arab neighbourhoods for an Arab lunch.
That evening we went to the Light show at the King David Museum, a truly amazing spectacle to witness.
We stayed at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel. It is a good hotel to be for easy access to the old city and the nightlife of Jerusalem.
04 DECEMBER 2012
We started early today with a Visit to the Jerusalem Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in the morning, then on to the Wailing Wall. And from here entered the Wailing Wall and did part of the Pilgrimage to the Coptic Church. We entered the church and had a look around at the 5 different churches inside of this church.
Afterwards we went to lunch at the Bulgurji Restaurant, which is one of the popular Group restaurants to go and eat in the Jerusalem Old City. This is THE best place to go shopping in Jerusalem, with small walkways and shops on both sides. Be sure you are trained in bartering though!
05 DECEMBER 2012
I had a late breakfast and went on to the Holocaust Museum. This is a really interesting place to go to, as it explains the whole Holocaust and the extermination of Jews from the beginning to the end. I suggest going here with an open mind, strong stomach and some tissues in your pockets! The Audio Aide is a smart thing to hire at the museum entrance for 20 shekel.
That evening was the transfer from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv Airport, which takes about 40 minutes. At Tel Aviv you go through a Security Check again, it is best to keep everything as visible as possible as it is very likely that your luggage will be checked here. The whole of D Terminal at Tel Aviv is dedicated to El Al flights, and the Executive Lounge is called the King David Lounge. There is loads of Duty Free shopping available here, so all last minute shopping can be done here!!
We were on the LY 051 flight from Tel Aviv to Johannesburg. And then from Johannesburg it was a quick transit (only 2 hours needed) and re-check in for our flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Kulula Airlines.
ISRAEL TRAVEL TIPS:
- The security checks at the airports are intense. But it is best to answer with just Yes and No where you can to keep it as quick as possible.
- Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, and Eilat is sunny humid and hot. So it is best to always have sunscreen and a hat here. Although the places are green and filled with trees in inhabited areas, it is still a desert, and you can get burnt and dehydrated very easily.
- Jerusalem is on a higher altitude and is therefore much cooler. Their winter is like a Cape Town winter: rainy, windy and overcast. Although every now and again the sun shines through and it isn’t so cold anymore
- Although most people travelling here make Tel Aviv a quick stop to refresh before going on a Pilgrimage or to the Dead Sea. I suggest staying here at least 2 days as it is an amazing place to explore.
Contact us at www.flightsite.co.za for more information on packages to this awesome destination!!