5 Places in Israel to View Animals in the Wild

September 25th 2018

There’s something truly authentic about viewing animals in the wild, in their natural habitats. In Israel there are several places you can view these animals away from the constraints of traditional zoos.

Across western society in general, there’s a growing trend against viewing animals in confined spaces or as part of performances. While many zoos do excellent work conserving endangered species and at-risk animals, for many people it has become principle not to visit such places.

If you’d rather view animals roaming free, then here are 5 great locations in Israel to see a variety of different species in the wild.

Eilat Dolphin Reef

If you love dolphins, then the Dolphin Reef in Eilat is a must-see. You can enjoy the company of these graceful creatures from the comfort of dry land or, if you like to swim, in the sea itself. Visitors can join one of many guided snorkeling or diving groups where you can view these beautiful animals up close. There are no performances and no constraints. The dolphins are free to come and go as they please.

The Arbel National Park

Located near to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), the Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve is renowned for the diversity of its habitats and the unique species contained within. While touring the Arbel heritage sites, caves, and antiquities you’ll also get to see a variety of different wild animals. These include the cliff dwelling rock hyraxes as well as mountain gazelles, striped hyenas, golden jackals, and numerous bird species, including birds of prey.

Ein Gedi National Park

The Ein Gedi National Park is located near to the western shore of the Dead Sea, about an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. The nature reserve features two year-round streams and several natural springs fed from the Judean Mountains. These water sources turned Ein Gedi into an oasis of green and a sanctuary for an abundance of wildlife, in what would otherwise be a desert. In the nature reserve you can spot wild animals including ibex (wild goats), rock hyrax, jackals, gazelles, and numerous reptiles.

Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

Located just south of Haifa, in northern Israel, the Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve is a breeding sanctuary for endangered or regionally extinct species. The aim is to eventually reintroduce the animals, all once native to the country, back into the northern forest regions. Visitors can tour the park and view species including Persian fallow deer, roe deer, mountain gazelles, wild goats and sheep, the griffon vulture, and more.

Timna Nature Reserve

The Timna Nature Reserve is a great place to visit if you love desert landscapes and wildlife. Situated approximately 17 miles north of Eilat, the reserve features incredible sandstone formations as well as ancient copper mines, Egyptian temples, and other archeological sites of interest. Some of these feature rock carvings of animals that once lived in the region, including ostriches. Today, when touring the reserve, you’ll likely be able to spot gazelles and ibex roaming free.