Finding peace in En Gedi
En Gedi… a magical name for a magical place. A few kilometres off the Dead Sea, in Israël, this natural reserve hides a beautiful oasis, perfect to rest your body and soul in the refreshing shade, and take the time to commune with nature.
Don’t let yourself be drawn away by the gates at the entrance, worried that this might be a tourists’ trap. En Gedi is one of the most beautiful natural oasis in the country, and as such it is a protected site. From a practical point of view, you want to go in the morning as the experience will be totally different if hordes of tourists or school classes turn up, usually later in the day. For the same reason, avoid weekends and holidays such as Pessa’h or Yom Kippur.
Once you have passed the entrance, you will find yourself alone with nature in its wildest state. Soft white stone contrasts against the bright blue sky and lush greenery. You will find shade along the cascade path of Wadi David. Several waterfalls run down the hills at a few steps’ distance, half hidden from view, shaded by luxuriant trees. Choose your favourite one amongst the 5 or 6 that follow each other on the track.
Meditate in the shade, to the sound of water and the birds singing. You can find quiet anywhere if you’re looking for it. Sit under the cascade of water and let it wash over you, taking with it all your concerns, worries and aches. Close your eyes and focus on the present moment, on this sense that time has stopped here, in this lost oasis, to allow you to forget about anything else. Feel the cool of the water on your skin, hear the birds singing, smell the scent of nature and breathe the soft breeze in.
The things you want to know
– There are two entrances to En Gedi, for this particular hike take the Wadi David entrance.
– Prices: adults NIS 27, children NIS 14
– Opening times: 8am to 5pm April to September, 8am to 4pm October to March. Don’t stay after closing time. The wild animals who inhabit the reserve need tranquillity to feed and drink at will. Also, nights get really really cold!
– Avoid the Jewish holiday of Pessa’h and Soukkot as the Israeli tourists flock to the area by the hundreds
– Don’t enter any of the caves. Because of the high concentration of salt as well as other geological reasons, they run a high risk of collapsing.
– Take a lot of water with you to avoid dehydration. You can fill bottles at the entrance gates.
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