The great natural wonder and historical significance of the Dead Sea region culminate in the Ein-Gedi Nature Reserve.
Ein-Gedi is a lush oasis in the middle of the hyper-arid desert, where tropical and Euro-Siberian plant species co-exist. Rock hyraxes and wild ibices roam freely, almost within arm’s reach (but please do not disturb them). You will experience exciting views of the desert while standing near – or under, if you wish – gushing waterfalls. You will have great viewpoints of the receding lake, and of the sinkholes that open near its shores.
Ein-Gedi is mentioned in the bible as one of the places where future-King David hid while escaping the wrath of King Saul. We will climb a slope within the Reserve to visit a Chalcolithic (4th millennium BCE) shrine, one of the oldest in the Levant. Below it, we will visit the Byzantine (3rd-6th centuries CE) Jewish town/village of Ein-Gedi and its partly reconstructed synagogue with its amazing mosaic floor. At the time, Ein-Gedi was one of the world’s production centres of the elusive balsam, which made Julius Cesar to grant the Dead Sea area to his beloved Cleopatra.
This trip involves a moderate-difficulty walk up a slope in desert conditions, followed by a descent into the oasis below. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and a wide-brim hat. You will be able to access waterfalls and pools along the path, but there are no changing rooms within the Reserve. We will provide water, but recommend that each person bring three litres of water for the hike.