The Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth and
one of its natural wonders, offers a holiday experience unmatched by any other
tourist location worldwide. Though small, Israel combines side by side extreme
opposites, such as, ancient archeology alongside cutting edge technologies, a
desert landscape hiding sweet water falls and wild animals revealing themselves
at an arm’s length. But even more so, a breathtaking mountainous desert
landscape tinted in a yellowish brownish pallet containing in its center the blue
lagoon bordered by its brilliant white shores that offers mystical potency for
treating body and soul.
A number of streams
flow through the mountains of the Judean Desert towards the Dead Sea, sweeping
with them unique minerals that enrich the water with exclusive materials and
properties. One can hike along any of these streams (Zeelim, Mishmar and
Dragot) during most of the year as the trails are all clearly marked [by the
Society for the Reservation of Nature]. In winter one should check the weather
forecast to avoid desert floods. These streams offer the desert wildlife and
hikers touring the desert a true oasis.
The Dead Sea was an
important historic crossroad connecting famous sites such as Masada, famous for
its unique heroic story and the Caves of Qumran where the hidden scrolls were
Floating on the
surface of the Dead Sea water has become its most famous attraction; however,
you will find along the shores of the Dead Sea plenty of sport activities such
as riding camels, jeep tours, biking, walking paths or extreme mountain
climbing and rappelling. Most activities can be combined with a field
lunch and camping under the desert stars.
The Dead Sea
The shores of the Dead
Sea offer visitors a wide choice of hotels of different grades, according to
international standards. The location on the shores of the Dead Sea offers a
variety of treatments and relaxation possibilities with access to thermal
baths, modern tennis courts and Dead Sea spas as well as healthy dipping in the
Dead Sea, mud masks
and safer tanning due to the unique conditions of the lowest place on
The numerous Kibbutzim
established along the Dead Sea have become a part of the local tourist
attraction, often visited as unprecedented examples of Kibbutz unique way of
life and testimony to man’s ability to transform tough desert terrain into a
lush, green and lively area. Mitzpe Shalem, Almog, Kalia, Ein-Gedi, and others,
are some of the most prominent Kibbutzim in the area.
Dead Sea Streams and
Og steam and Og reservoir – is a 4 kilometers marked trail suitable for family
hiking. The trail offers a unique experience climbing with brackets set in the
rock bed. The narrow stream is deep and mostly in shadow. Along the walking
path and adjacent to the palm groves is a water reservoir (forbidden for
bathing) that drains reclaimed water for the benefit of watering the
agricultural fields and groves in the area.
intersects the road between Mitzpe Shalem and Ein-Gedi has a walking trail of
about one kilometer long. This walking path intertwines between large rocks
embedded with fossils. Over the past years the waterfall dried up however, a
small spring still exists. This spring hides a huge Cistanche salsa bush
(commonly known as Broomrape) that flowers in shades of pink and white during
the months of March-April. The stream got its name from the Salvadora bush that
Arugot Stream, David
Steam and the Ein-Gedi Nature Reserve
A true oasis, rich in
flora unique to the Judean Desert, and a source of life with sweet water
springs, cool pools, dense vegetation and a rich wildlife of Rock Hyrax, birds
and chamois so close you can almost touch them.
The trails going through the nature reserve enable families to visit both
streams Nahal David and Nahal Arugot – the wildest and most beautiful of the
Judea Desert streams.
The nature reserve provides a special walking path for the disabled enabling
them to reach the breath taking observation point which only a few meters away
from the lower part of Nahal David.
The Ein-Gedi nature reserve is a historic gem through which we can witness the
original methods of cultivating land using terraces and irrigation pools as
practiced by the ancient Jewish settlements during the time of the Roman
Byzantine empire. Other historical relics found in the area: caves dated from
the times of Bar-Kochva and burial caves of the Hashmonai family. The strong
contrast between the steep, arid cliffs and the abundance of green and blue of
the Dead Sea water the clear fresh air of the desert and the sound of the
waterfalls create a harmony of rare beauty contributing to the unforgettable
experience of the hike.
Caves of Qumran
The first to discover
the caves of the ancient Jewish settlement from the times of the second temple
was a small Bedouin boy in 1947.
This discovery brought scientists and archeologists from around the world to
research and excavate the area which in time lead to the discovery of the Dead
sea Scrolls – that tell the wonders of the time and people of Qumran. These
findings made Qumran one of the most important archeological sites in Israel
and the entire world.
Today one can see also the 13 Mikveh – ritual baths – that were discovered in
the compound, water ducts for transporting water and above all a wide aqueduct
that transported water from the cliffs to the site (it is reasonable that there
was also a spring in the area). Many artisans provided for the local
population. Another site excavated nearby is Ayanot Zukim Nature Reserve, an
agricultural farm where the settlers of Qumran worked. To the East of the site
an enormous cemetery was excavated with an impressive 1100 graves that reflect
the extent of the population and history of the