Ein Ofarim, a new nature reserve in the Arava region, is to be constructed spanning approximately 6,900 acres of land and located next to Moshav Idan in Central Arava. The region is split into the Central Arava (Central Arava Regional Council), which covers approximately 1500m² of land west of the Jordan border; and the Southern Arava (Eilot Regional Council), around 1,650km² of land along the western edges of the Dead Sea.

This span of desert preserves a framework of activity including agriculture and development, tourism, ecological, desert and birdwatching parks, bicycle trails, water resource development, areas of wetland and contains hundreds of different types of plants and animals. Most of the region’s research and development is funded by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Israeli government ministries, coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture.

In developing Ein Ofarim, The Arava Regional Council has worked alongside the Nature and Parks Authority, to establish a framework of agreements to guide construction of the new nature reserve. The site will offer hiking trails, observation points, seating and picnic areas, as well as educational activities on the topics of nature and preservation of ecological space. Additionally, a campsite will be built in the area.

In line with the purpose of the Arava marinating its natural desert values, which include the production of vegetation and fauna, and the preservation of river channels, habitats and landscape, the Arava Regional Council is to receive specified plots for agricultural purposes, allowing it to expand activity in the region. The Arava contains around 500 agricultural farms, producing approximately 60 percent of all exported vegetables from the country. From a tourism perspective, the region offers a selection of opportunities including: agricultural learning at Vidor Center in Hatzeva, nature at Sapir Park, the Weinstein Winery, a tropical ornamental fish farm and a choice of agricultural tours.

Image credit: Gilad Livni