Walk on the Wild Side—Biblical Wildlife Reserve & Red Canyon

How many animals in the Bible can you name? After camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats the mind kind of goes blank, doesn’t it?

Walk on the Wild Side—Biblical Wildlife Reserve & Red Canyon

(Photo: A leopard at the Hai-Bar Biblical Wildlife Reserve. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Biblical Wildlife Reserve in southern Israel exists to provide a place for the protection and breeding of animals that existed in biblical days, as well as other endangered species of the desert.

Combined with the nearby beautiful Red Canyon north of Eilat, these two sites in southern Israel allow visitors a walk on the wild side.

Hai-Bar Yotvata Biblical Wildlife Reserve

Missed on most busy itineraries, this nature reserve is made up of several sections:

  • A dark space eliminates all sunlight and allows visitors to observe the nocturnal habits of animals like the barn owl, the fruit bat, the sand rat, and the gerbil.
  • An enclosed area permits guests to see reptiles and wild carnivores such as the caracal, the leopard, the wolf, and the fox.
  • Every hour a guided tour in private vehicles leads visitors through an open area measuring 7 square miles. From the comfort of one’s car, a visitor can see herbivores like the onager, the oryx, and the ostrich in their native habitat.

(Can’t see slideshow in RSS or email? Click here. All pics courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

This slideshow includes the following animals:

  • Caracal
  • Eagle owls
  • Gray wolf
  • Jackal
  • Lappet-faced vulture
  • North African horned viper
  • Onager
  • Ostrich

Red Canyon

Not far from the wildlife reserve, hikers can walk the trail of Red Canyon along the edge of walls that look like God painted them.

(You may want to mute your sound as you watch this video.)

The native Nubian sandstone contains oxidized minerals that create varying shades of red. The result is a beautiful walk through Red Canyon.

The pleasant walk down the gorge is relatively easy, a distance of less than 1000 feet.

  • Flashfloods have swept chunks of limestone in the path, generating obstacles.
  • The journey down the crevice is made easy with the assistance of ladders affixed to the rocks.
  • Summer mornings and evenings are enjoyable times for this hike, as the temperatures are pleasant and the shifting shadows changes the appearance of the colors of the rocks.
Red Canyon hikers

(Photo: Red Canyon hikers. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Red Canyon walls

(Photo: Red Canyon walls. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Tell me what you think: Have you ever heard of these sites before? To leave a comment, just click here.

You’ll find these sites and more in a book I wrote for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, 100 Off-The-Beaten-Path Sites. You can download a free copy.

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