Photo. The highest waterfall seen on my hiking tour in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
After I experienced the ancient wonder Masada, I headed further to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, an extraordinary oasis with magnificent desert plants, wildlife and waterfalls perched between a barren and empty desert. Ein Gedi, just aside the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert, not too far from Jerusalem, featuring spectacular beauty, varied landscapes, and botanical gardens. Ein Gedi means literally "spring of the kid (young goat)". Located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. Here I enjoyed walking through the greenery and cooling off in the springs.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park has traces of history in every step of its breathtaking hiking trails. Ein Gedi dates back some 5,000 years to the first settlers who came to the area. Archaeological remains from that time can still be found throughout the area and further afield. Ein Gedi is mentioned by name several times in the bible.
Ein Gedi is an lush oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, some 400 metres below sea level. Extreme heat and aridity prevail in this desert region throughout most of the year. But perennial fresh water springs (Ein is Hebrew for spring) flow down from the high cliffs of the Judean Desert and have made permanent settlement and agriculture possible since ancient times. Ein Gedi nature reserve was declared in 1971 and covers an area of 3,500 acres or 14 km2 (source: Wikipedia).
I was amazed how different Ein Gedi looked compared with its desert surroundings. Ein Gedi houses one of the largest herds of Ibex in all of Israel. Besides the Ibex, Ein Gedi is known to house wolves, foxes and bats along with many birds of prey. As I walke throughout Ein Gedi Nature Reserve I hope to observe see some of the wildlife in the area, but unfortunately no one showed up. Maybe it was too hot? 44 Degrees gave me a hard time moving around, and I assume it was difficult for the animals too.
Besides the plants and animals, there are also two springs that create streams that help maintain the vegetation of the region. After exploring the nature reserve, you can also visit the national park which focuses on the archaeological sites and finds.
Stein Morten Lund, 20th July 2019
Read more about Ein Gedi Nature Reserve on Tourist information in Isreal.
A must do when visiting Ein Gedi is to try floating in the Dead Sea at the public beach. There’s no other place like the Dead Sea in the world! You could also enjoy a black-mud body wrap during your visit, known to cleanse and stimulate the skin as well as relieve muscle tension. It is a natural health spa.
Israel has a great number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, unique land formations, national parks, and nature reserves. There are over 400 reserves established to protect flora and fauna.
Many natural sites in Israel hold religious significance to millions around the world. The Jordan River, for example, which runs from Mount Hermon to the Dead Sea, was the river that the tribes of Israel crossed to reach the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert. It is also the river in which John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Much of Israel’s natural beauty is uniquely combined with historical sites. Hikers at Ubeidiya, near the Jordan River, find one of the earliest prehistoric human settlements outside of Africa. Nahal Me'arot nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes an extraordinary prehistoric burial site. Exploring Beit Guvrin, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, reveals 500 caves dating back 2000 years to the Judean Hasmonean dynasty. Scaling the route up Masada, against a stunning desert background, visitors enter the last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans, which fell in 73 CE (Facts about Israel, State of Isreal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2019).