Best places to see wildlife in Israel

A camel in the Negev, Israel

Thanks to its diverse landscape, the land of Israel is a great place for animal lovers, as this small land features a unique collection of impressive wild animals, including some very rare species. From extensive birdlife to wonderful desert antelopes, there are countless impressive animals to see when it comes to wildlife in Israel. Here are some of the best places to see them in the country.

Best bird-watching sites in Israel

Masada, Israel
Birdlife in Masada

Hula Valley

The Hula Valley is a paradise for birds and waterfowl lovers. The fertile northern valley located in the Upper Galilee provides birds with the perfect conditions for rest and refreshment during their migration between Africa and Europe, and the permanent residents of the valley also find here plenty of water, food, and shelter.

The entire valley features an abundance of birds, but it is most convenient to watch birds in the Hula Lake, where it is easy to spot numerous flocks of songbirds and waterfowl. Among other things, you can see here cormorants, egrets, herons, terns, ducks, and much more. And during the migration period – during fall, winter, and spring – the entire valley is covered with huge flocks of cranes, herons, and pelicans.

A large population of nutrias, numbering several hundred individuals, also lives permanently in the valley. These furry rodents feed on water plants and riparian vegetation, and you can see them mainly in Hula Lake and the Hula Reserve where they swim in the water or emerge from the thicket of vegetation.

Mitzpor Viecker

At the sources of River Alexander, among the green fields of the Sharon Region, not far from Netanya, a precious aviary was established, located on the banks of a large fish pond. Thousands of migratory birds come to the aviary every year. They receive meals around the clock, and visit in the early morning and afternoon hours, at sunset.

Among others, you can find here very impressive Pelicans, cormorants, gray herons, seagulls, spoonbills, and egrets. The lovable pelicans usually arrive in October and stay in the area until January. We would highly recommend coming here around sunset, where you can enjoy spectacular colors next to the huge amount of beautiful birds.

Yeruham Park

A green oasis in the heart of the Israeli desert, located next to the Big Crater, between the hills of the Negev Mountains. The park offers a green forest that surrounds the impressive Lake Yeruham, and the entire area is considered a starting point for trips, camping, and various attractions.

Of course, the best time to visit the great Yeruham Park is during the migration period, when you will find here about 270 species of birds, including desert birds, songbirds, and some extremely rare species.

Eilat Salt Lake

The coastal paradise city of Eilat, which lies on the migration axis between Europe and Africa, is one of the leading birdwatching sites in Israel, and hundreds of millions of birds pass over the skies of Eilat every year during the migration season. Some stop here for a short rest, while others stay in Eilat for the entire winter.

The salt pools, which lie just north of the city, are one of the best places for birdwatching in the area, as you can see here bird species such as ducks and grebes, but the main reason to come here is the flock of cute flamingos, numbering several hundred individuals, that you can meet there every winter, making it a spectacular site to visit.

Places to see antelopes and goats in Israel

A deer in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
A deer in Mitzpe Ramon

The Gazelle Valley in Jerusalem

When you walk among the paths of the Jerusalem mountains, you can occasionally meet cute deer on the hidden paths, making their way among the forest trees, and one of the best places to meet them up close is the urban nature park in Jerusalem, called the Gazelle Valley Park.

The nature reserve is beautiful and well-maintained, and over the years a herd of about 30 deer has lived here. In the valley itself, you will find several natural pools and two flowing streams.

The reserve also has many shaded corners and benches, inviting you to stop for a picnic and enjoy nature in the middle of Jerusalem. It is very important to keep the park clean and not to feed the small animals and sheep you will see here. On particularly hot days, it is rare to meet a deer up close, as they are avoiding the hot sun and prefer a wet and shaded environment, so it’s best to arrive here in the fall and spring months.

Sde Boker and David Ben Gurion’s tomb

The impressive tomb of the first prime minister of Israel – David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula, in the Kibbutz of Sde Boker overlooks a spectacular view over Nahal Tzin. The place has long since become the favorite living area of ​​Sde Boker’s deer and ibexes, who like to hang around the green expanses of grass and find shade under the sheltering trees around the tomb.

The ibexes that live in the territories of Israel are of the kind of the Nubian Ibex, and you can easily distinguish between the males and the females, thanks to the large and impressive horns that are only in possession of the males.

Their fur is light brown, and their almond-shaped eyes are particularly beautiful. If you see two males fighting with their heavy horns, you will know that they are usually fighting for a romantic reason, over the heart of a particularly beautiful female ibex.

Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

Hai-Bar Yotvata is a real oasis located on the route to Eilat. In recent years, it has become a favorite stop among visitors to the southern part of Israel and a great attraction for children and families. However, this is not only a successful attraction but also a particularly important ecological project, which helps in the rehabilitation process of animals that are in danger of extinction and their return to nature and their natural habitats.

The great advantage of Hai-Bar Yotvata is that you can only visit here by car, in a safari-like atmosphere, which makes it suitable for families with children of all ages, who can be reluctant to leave the air conditioner in the car when it’s too hot. The population of wild animals here includes mainly Onagers and Oryxes, as well as several other kinds of impressive antelopes.

Other great wildlife-watching sites

River Alexander

River Alexander, which mostly flows in Emek Hafer and spills into the sea between the towns of Mikhmoret and Beit Yanai, is home to an impressive variety of animals. During your visit here, it is possible to meet otters, raccoons, finches, nutrias, and mongooses. But the undisputed stars of the creek are the soft-shell turtles, a unique species of oversized freshwater turtle.

These turtles also live in other streams in Israel, such as Nahal Hadera and Nahal Na’aman, as well as in the Hula Reserve, but Nahal Alexander features the largest population of soft-shell turtles in the country. In Nahal Alexander National Park, there is an organized observation point for the softshell turtles, located next to the Turtle Bridge, where the chances of meeting them are the highest.

Gador Beach Nature Reserve

Gador Beach is a small national park located near the city of Haderaand is considered to be one of the most spectacular beaches in Israel.

On the beach, there is a special nesting farm of cute sea turtles, which receives nests from all over the Sharon region. During the nesting season, this is their safe space, so be careful when you walk on the beach, and watch where you put your feet.

Other animals, typical of the Sharon region, live in the reserve, like the porcupine, the common fox, and the common land turtle. The land turtle can be found among the rocks, where it likes to burrow. The turtle is characterized by yellowish-brown armor, with a black spot in the center of the back shields.

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