Why Visitors to Israel Find the Arava Region So Captivating
The flatlands that run north of Eilat are called the Arava, a dry and arid region all year long. Especially if you’re driving down to Eilat – and no tour of Israel is complete without a trip to this resort town on the Red Sea – you will want to make some stops in the Arava for some sightseeing.
Kibbutz Ketura’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is the premier environmental studies and research program in the Middle East. Politics don’t play a role at this institution. Students from around the world, including Israel and Jordan, join together to help solve today’s pressing environmental issues. When visiting Ketura, don’t miss the famous date tree, planted from 2,000-year-old seeds unearthed at Masada. Every year, moreover, approximately 150 bicyclists from around the world spend seven days riding from Jerusalem to Eilat (through the Arava) to raise funds for the program.
Timna Park is chock-full of attractions, from an artificial lake with boating to bike paths and a multimedia presentation about copper in ancient times. For those who enjoy extreme sports, rappelling and an exciting zip line are available as well. Crafting activities such as filling bottles with colored sand and making King Solomon-themed stamp prints are fun for children and adults alike. If you enjoy roughing it, take advantage of the park’s camping facilities and stay overnight.
Hai Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve is a safari park for desert animals. At this Arava landmark you can observe herds of herbivores, large predators and reptiles. Special enclosures house the wolves, Ruppell’s foxes, Blanford’s foxes, spotted leopards, caracals, wildcats and striped hyenas. Exotic nocturnal species like Sundevall’s jird, Wagner’s gerbil, fruit bat, Scops owl, garden dormouse and barn owl are on display in a dedicated dark room.
Bedouin hospitality is world-renowned, and the Arava is home to numerous camps that will gladly welcome you into their tents. The peaceful atmosphere and romantic views are great for taking a break from frenetic sightseeing, allowing guests to relax for a while. Drink some Bedouin-style coffee and learn about ancient and contemporary Bedouin culture. You can even stay overnight in a heated tent and make your way to Eilat the next morning.