Cool off in the Ein Gedi oasis
Walk through a lush landscape and splash through the streams of this beautiful nook in central Israel.
Along the coast of the Dead Sea, an unexpected oasis sprouts where plants and wildlife truly thrive.
Its ecological importance has led to the protection of Ein Gedi and its surrounding 3,000-plus acres – becoming one of Israel's most popular national parks.
A variety of vegetation creates a lush environment for wildlife and visitors alike – acacia, jujube and poplar trees spring up alongside towering palms.
From the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve & National Park, visitors can catch a glimpse of the Dead Sea. (Photo: David Jones 大卫 琼斯/Flickr)
The nature reserve encompasses two canyons, Wadi David and Wadi Arugot. There is much to explore throughout this expansive park, including archaeological sites that date back to the first century.
But by far the most popular attraction at Ein Gedi is David's Waterfall – and understandably so! Here, you can swim, relax or explore nearby caves.
The waterfall is fed by one of four year-round springs that send their streams through the park, creating a verdant landscape.
At Ein Gedi, visitors often spot ibexes – and that's no coincidence. The phrase "Ein Gedi" means "Kid Spring" (as in, a young goat). Indeed, these adorable animals are among the most populous species within the park.
The spring at Ein Gedi supports all manner of wildlife, from the buzzing dragonfly to the furry hyrax. (Photo: Nico Caramella/Flickr)
The tiny rock hyrax makes its home at the Ein Gedi oasis, where delicious leaves are plenty. (Photo: Uzi Yachin/Flickr)
Rock hyraxes enjoy snacking on the plants that grow alongside the springs. These little guys are most active in the morning and in the evening.
A green bee eater looks out from his post in the foliage of Ein Gedi. (Photo: orientalizing/Flickr)
Birds are also plentiful at Ein Gedi. Naturally, it's a popular stopover for migratory birds.
Dawn at Ein Gedi is a quiet, special time. (Photo: Andrew Chernakov/Flickr)
A nearby village just south of the nature reserve offers even more to do, with a botanical garden boasting hundreds of species of plants native to Israel and from all across the globe.
There's always something bright blooming at the gardens of Ein Gedi. (Photo: George Agasandian/Flickr)
Ein Gedi is a shady addition to any Dead Sea outing – an afternoon adventure that's perfectly complementary to a soothing stint floating in those healing waters.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: