Nestled in two dramatic canyons that plunge from the arid moonscape of the Judean Desert to the shores of the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is one of Israel’s most magical desert oases. Its freshwater pools, cool streams, Eden-like waterfalls and luxuriant vegetation, fed by four year-round springs, are a haven for wildlife such as the majestic Nubian ibex (ya’el in Hebrew) and the boulder-dwelling hyrax (dassie or rock rabbit; shafan sela in Hebrew), both of which you’re very likely to encounter (the ibex is easiest to spot during the first and last hours that the reserve is open). Ein Gedi is the northernmost natural habitat of a number of plants that are more usually found on the savannahs of East Africa, thousands of kilometres south along the Great Rift Valley.
Kibbutz Ein Gedi is on a low hill 3km south of Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ein Gedi.