En Gedi Nature Reserve – En Gedi

En Gedi is an oasis on the western border of the Dead Sea. According to the Bible, David flees from King Saul to the desert of En Gedi (1 Samuel 24 1-2) and hides among the rocks. En Gedi today is home to a national park/nature reserve and a kibbutz. A kibbutz is a Jewish collective where everyone lives on a plot of land and work together. Originally, the kibbutzim were dedicated to agriculture and besides supporting itself, would export products. Today some kibbutzim have modernized and produce cell phone parts and biotech reagents. One of the members of my lab grew up on a kibbutz and he told me that the children sleep apart from their parents at an early age and therefore really learn to live as a community. Kibbutz En Gedi opened a facility to sell purified bottled water from the springs of En Gedi and have more recently gone into tourism (opening and hotel, spa, and botanical garden).

The En Gedi Nature Reserve encompasses a massive area with up to 9 hour hikes. The elevation ranges from 423m below sea level (near the Dead Sea – close to the lowest point on earth), and up a mountain ridge about 200m above sea level. The hike we walked took us past David’s Waterfall (2nd photo) and along David’s Stream (Nahal David – 1st photo) and up a ridge overlooking the Dead Sea (photos 3, 6). We also saw the ruins of an old temple (5th photo) and a small (wimpy) spring (4th photo) before going down into a cavern oasis (7th, 8th photos). Unfortunately we went to En Gedi during Hanukkah, when most elementary and middle schools took field trips to the region. The whole area was swamped with kids who tried to speak to us in Japanese until I spoke back in broken Hebrew. En Gedi had a lot more to offer (including ibexes (last photo), and their only natural predators, leopards – which we didn’t see), than what we saw and I’ll definitely be going back.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on December 15, 2010.

One Response to “En Gedi Nature Reserve – En Gedi”

  1. […] of sounding cliche, I can only say that it was a life changing experience. Visiting places like the springs along the Dead Sea, Petra, and every inch of Jerusalem (even running up Mt. Scopus during that […]

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