Nativity Trail Walking Tour

11-day walk
From Nazareth, City of the Annunciation, to Bethlehem, City of the Nativity.

$1370 - per person - double occupancy

  • 3 – 14 March 2016
  • 14 – 25 April 2016
  • 5 – 16 May 2016
  • 6 – 17 October 2016

The carefully researched route, an 11-day journey, is the first leg of the Palestine Trail. Walking the Nativity Trail offers opportunities to meet a diverse range of people:
Central West Bank - Jordan in Background
Franciscan priests on Mount Tabor, Muslim clerics at village mosques, Greek Orthodox monks in desert monasteries, hillside farmers, small-town shopkeepers and craftspeople, Bedouin shepherds watering their flocks at ancient cisterns, and many more interesting people.

In this predominantly agricultural area, you will encounter men, women and children engaged in plowing fields, winnowing wheat, and picking olives according to the season. Everywhere you will be greeted with "Ahalan Wasahalan" a warm welcome, and traditional gestures of hospitality. You may be treated to a cup of sweet tea, some freshly baked "taboun" bread, or even a friendly game of billiards in the village "club", and in all settings, delicious Palestinian cuisine!

Where will you stay?
Arriving at Habib's home in the village of Duma
• The Nativity Trail offers a unique opportunity to experience the legendary hospitality of Palestinians. Some nights, hikers will stay in villagers' homes.   Other nights, accommodations will be in monasteries, local Bed-and-Breakfasts, Bedouin tents, or at campsites where hikers can pitch their own tents or sleep under the stars." In all cases, the welcome will be warm but conditions are basic. Hikers will need to provide their own sleeping bags and air mattresses.

What kind of terrain does the Trail cover?
• Just like travelers in biblical times, hikers will be traversing beautiful but sometimes rough terrain, climbing up and down steep, rocky hillsides, crossing desert "wadis" (valleys) - and pausing to rest in olive groves!

Who can participate?
Group Leader George Rishmawi (center)
• This is an outdoor adventure for physically fit nature lovers with an interest in history, culture and religious tradition. Participants must be physically fit and able to spend 6 to 9 hours a day on the trail.
• Most groups will consist of approximately  10 minimum individuals.

Who are our guides?
• The journeys will be fully guided by professional local  guides.

What about health and safety?
• Basic first aid will be available, but hikers need to be in sound medical condition.
• Siraj Center and ATG work directly with local villagers, who are ready and eager to welcome hikers along this "new/old" trail.
• Detailed information about personal health and safety issues will be provided upon application.

Please Note: Journey segments and distances are approximate. ATG and Siraj reserves the right to amend the programme.

Day one: Arrival
Upon arrival to Tel Aviv airport or any crossing borders, participants will be picked up and transferred to Nazareth.  Dinner and overnight in Nazareth

Day two: Nazareth and Mount Tabor

After a tour of Nazareth including the church of the Annunciation and the house of Mary, drive to the foot of the mount tabor. Ascend tabor and visit the monastery of the Transfiguration..  Dinner overnight in Jinin city north of the West Bank.

Day three: Faqu’a to Zababdeh 20km
Early morning, drive to the village of Faqua.  Start walking towards Zababdeh.  Across the rolling Eastern hills of Palestine, through the village of jalbun and Mughayir to Zababdeh, a Christian town on the ancient Roman trade route. Overnight accommodation in community centre (modern facilities).

Day four: Zababdeh to Fara'a 15 Km
Through olive groves and forests on the fertile hills of the west bank, descending to the spring of Ain Fara’a.  Walk through the vegetable basket of Palestine.   Arrive to Fara'a, visit the archeological sites of Jacob and his family.  Dinner and overnight with local families.

Day five: Fara'a to Nablus:
15 Km   
Walk through the orange groves to the broad sweep of Wadi Bidan, a picturesque valley system rich in mountain springs. While in Nablus, we will  visit Jacob’s well and Tel Balata.  After checking in our hotel in the old city of Nablus, we will tour the old city and enjoy bathing in the Turkish Bath.  We will enjoy a Palestinian traditional meal in the Turkish bath in addition for a traditional Palestinian music.  Overnight: in the old city of Nablus.

Day six: Nablus to Duma 20 km
Walk through the Huwara checkpoint and continue from the village of Huwara to Awarta, enjoy the beautiful ancient old buildings in the village, visit the famous Maqams and continue to mount Awrma.  Before arriving to Aqraba, rest at Mount Awrma and enjoy the scenes of Palestine and the ancient archeological site.  Continue to Aqraba, Majdal Bani fadil. The trail follows the escarpment separating the fertile highlands from the arid slopes of the Jordan valley, offering the first views of the desert and Jordan before reaching the agriculture hilltop town of Duma with it’s olive groves. Overnight : village accommodation with families

Day seven: Duma to Ain Auja 18 km   
Across deep valleys and over high hills inhabited by shepherd’s before descending a rocky gorge to sea level at Auja Spring, one of the largest water sources in the Jordan valley. Overnight: camping with Bedouin shepherd’s near Al Auja.

Day eight: Auja to Jericho
13 km
Desert terrain gives way to orange groves as the journey continues to the mount of temptation with its orthodox monastery clinging to the cliffs, then to Jericho, the oldest city on earth. Drive to the dead sea and enjoy swimming in its salty water.  Overnight: orange grove camping or hotel in Jericho,

Day nine: Jericho to Nabi Musa 14 km
Up the spectacular canyon of Wadi Qelt to St. George Koziba monastery, then over the arid mountains of the Bethlehem wilderness to the remote and dramatically situated Nabi Musa. Overnight: Nabi Musa guest house or camping.

Day ten: Nabi Musa to Mar Saba
8 km
The original Nativity trail from Nabi Musa involved walking along the road, then taking tracks directly through the desert to the legendary orthodox monastery of Mar Saba in its wild canyon setting. The preferred route is now to drive the road, then follow desert tracks via Hyrcania, one of Herod’s mountain-top fortresses. Much more interesting! Overnight: camping outside the monastery, or with local Bedouin.

Day eleven: Mar Saba to Bethlehem 9 km
The trail’s final segment ascends the hills of the Bethlehem wilderness to the hilltop suburbs of Bethlehem. The way then descends on foot or by vehicle through Beit Sahour to Manager Square in Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity on the site where the original journey ended-and the Christian faith has its beginning. Dinner and overnight with local families.

Day twelve: Departure 

What to bring with you:
1- Flash light
2- Hat
3- Sun screen
4- Back bag
5- Walking or hiking shoes
6- Modest clothes
7- An Open mind and heart

Accommodation will vary between, guesthouses, family stay and camping with Bedouins.

Support vehicle will be available for the duration of the Walk.  The support vehicle will transport your bags to every location you will be staying overnight at.
Health and Medication
No vaccine mandatory
Ensure that you update your routine vaccinations. The vaccine against Hepatitis A is also recommended.
Beware of the sun. Make sure you cover it with clothes but fuller length, wear a hat and drink water steadily through the walk.

You can find pharmacies in the West Bank but nonetheless we recommend you bring the following basic medications:
* intestinal antiseptic.
* Band aids (plasters)
* Antibiotics broad spectrum.
* Sunscreen high protection
* Aspirin or other pain reliever
* disinfectant.
* Antihistamine (allergies, bites)

$1370 - per person - double occupancy

Price includes the following:
1- All Accommodation in hotels, local families and with Bedouins
2- All Food, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
3- Pick up for groups only from the airport and back to the airport.
4- Snacks along the way including tea, coffee and mineral water
5- Local English speaking escorts
6- Support Vehicle along the way
7- Turkish Bath experience
8- Entrance Fees
9- Palestine and Palestinians Guide Book and maps

The price does not include the following:
1- Air fare
2- Personal expenses
3- Pick up for individuals from the crossing border and airports to Nazareth in the first day.  Transfer for individuals to the airport and crossing borders in the last day
4- Tips
5- Any other services not included above.

This tour is organized by the Siraj Center and the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG). ATG and Siraj have the right to cancel or postpone the trip if the number of participants is not enough to run the trip

  • Nablus Day Tour
    Visit the Samaritans and their holy temple on Mount Grizim. Hold a discussion with the Director of a youth organization in Balata Refugee camp. Explore the sights and sounds of the Old City of Nablus
  • Masada, Dead Sea & Southern West Bank
    An overview of the southern West Bank, the ancient Roman complex at Masada, a drive along the entire length of the Dead Sea, and an opportunity to dip in the healing sea waters.
  • Taybeh Village
    Come and explore Christian Palestine through the beautiful village of Taybeh located between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho.
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