Paradise in the Negev: Ein Avdat National Park

Ein Avdat National Park is located in a beautiful canyon in the Negev desert. The Ein Avdat Spring flows down in a waterfall towards an 8-meter deep pool of water. The oasis created by the springs attracts ibex and other animals. The oasis at Ein Avdat is created by a number of springs which begin at the southern, or upper, section of the national park. Map.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

The water creates a number of pools which descend in waterfalls to the lower section of the canyon. The source of the springs is not definitively known, but is generally thought to be rain water which seeps into the ground.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

The canyon is actually part of Nahal Zin, which is the longest wadi or dry riverbed in the Negev desert. Nahal Zin begins in Machtesh Ramon and travels 120 kilometers north, although at Ein Avdat the Nahal actually heads east.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

Nahal Zin and Ein Avdat were created by flowing water which eroded the rock and carved canyons. The first spring is called Ein Ma’arif. This spring creates pools and small waterfalls, finally reaching the main waterfall which is 15 meters high. The waterfall leads into an 8 meter pool of water which is separated into two parts by a man-made dam. This spring is called the Ein Avdat Spring, from which the nature reserve gets its name.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

The northernmost spring in the park is known as spice Myrrh. The name of the spring is fitting, as the park is located near the ancient Nabatean city Avdat on the incense route.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

The water is slightly salty, and the trees growing in the area are Euphrates poplar trees, atriplexes(commonly known as saltbush), and other salt-loving trees.

Also common to the area are Bulbul, rock pigeons, eagles, vultures, hawks, bustards, frogs, crabs, and ibexes.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

At the northern, or upper section, of the nature reserve, there are caves which were used by Byzantine monks from Avdat from the 6th century until the Muslim conquest of the area. The monks sculpted shelves, benches, stairs, and water systems from the rock. The caves were also decorated with crosses and prayers were engraved in the rock of the caves.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

The hike itself is easy, but it requires mobility to climb the steps and ladders. The hike begins at the northern section, which is located neat Ben Gurion’s grave in Sde Boker. Follow the path in an easy walk to the waterfall and pool with the dam. Next to the dam are steps which lead upwards towards the southern part of the nature reserve. These steps were initially carved by Israeli youth in the 1950s.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat

Follow the steps to the oasis above, bursting with trees and additional pools of water. From here, additional steps and two ladders lead past the Byzantine Monks’ caves to the upper observatory at the southern end of the park.

  • The park is open from 8:00-16:00 in the winter months, and from 8:00-17:00 in the summer months.
  • There is also a combined ticket which includes entrance to the city of Avdat. Ein Avdat is located off of route 40, just south of Kibbutz Sde Boker.
  • Adult: NIS 27 Child: NIS 14 Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount.
  • Telephone: 08-655-5684 or 08-655-4418

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