This past summer I have become somewhat of an expert on finding 'different' things to do with the kids. Eilat is essentially a resort city, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea and, even though I dream of doing nothing at all but swimming and reading when I am on holiday, I soon realise that it's not really what any of us want. We want to see the area. Do fun things together. Try something new. And so that's what we did!
Our holiday started with a visit to Hai-Bar Yotvata, a large reserve in the southern Arava Valley north of Eilat, established to foster the breeding of animals mentioned in the Bible and other endangered desert animals. Hai-Bar is divided into three main sections: a 12 square kilometre open area where herds of desert animals live in conditions similar to the wild; a predator centre with enclosures containing large predators, reptiles and small desert animals; and a dark room to view nocturnal animals when they are active.
We purchased a CD which guided us through the reserve in our car and were soon met by a group of ostriches, eager to taste the flies which had got stuck on our car during our downward journey. As they pecked away at our vehicle any worries about the safety of our trip disappeared and we began to relax and enjoy ourselves. What else can you do when there are five or six very large birds with long pink necks and big eyes staring at you?
The plan of action was to do some kind of activity each morning and return to our hotel later in the day to cool off in the pool. A necessity in the 42°C+ Eilat heat! One day we experienced a rather bumpy camel ride through the beautiful desert landscape of the Eilat Mountains Reserve, followed by a light snack of Bedouin pita, labnah, olives and tea brewed from desert plants at the camel ranch. We snorkeled in the sparkling clear blue water of the Red Sea to view the coral reef and the many varieties of fish and sea creatures living in it. A truly breathtaking experience!Dolphin Reef where we once again sat on the floating piers to watch the “bottlenose” dolphins which are fed several times a day and, especially at those times, jump and play together and "talk" to the staff. We drank cocktails by the water's edge and swam in the enclosed swimming area where more colourful fish swam between our toes.