Arabian oryx in Israel
I’m considering a trip to Israel for the first two weeks of next April. One of my main targets would be Arabian oryx. From the report by Timo Marijnissen it seems the best bet is Ein Shak. Does anyone have any thoughts on the best area to see them, nearby accommodation etc? In fact any tips on mammal watching in Israel would be much appreciated.
Thanks for the reply and I look forward to your information. At the moment the plan is probably that it will be a family trip, so, sadly, teaming up would not work well.
Gotcha! No problem, I will still throw whatever I know at you, whenever I have time to compile my thoughts. But like I said, Jon’s Israel page is extremely informative (though maybe not 100% up to date since it’s a few years old)
Ein Shahak is just west of highway 90, between the villages of Hatseva and Ein Yahav. Ein Shahak is signposted just north of the km 150 marker of highway 90. Here, take the dirt road west for a couple of kilometers until you reach a small parking lot (where there is also an information sign with regard to the Arabian Oryx). I saw the Arabian Oryx just west of the parking lot.
The nearest accommodation is available in Hatseva. I visited the area from Eilat (about 150 km away), which was doable but meant that I had to leave my hotel at 3 AM in order to be in the area at dawn. In order to have a fair chance of seeing the oryx, you will need to be on site at dawn.
Think the best option for Arabian Oryx will be sleeping in Hetzeva field school and consulting the guides and checking for local hikers. My observations of Arabian Oryx were ~15km west of the road and the field school in the area of Wady Masor and “mount” Masor. There is a marked track leading from the field school to that area. It is important to remember it is a firing zone that is accessible only on Fridays on Saturdays, also April might be too hot for a desert hike. On the other hand the razor shaped hill “mount Masor” is popular with families equipped with 4×4 so there is a good chance of getting a lift into the desert, after reaching the hill you will need to explore the area. Again you will need companions, weather that allows a day in the desert and luck!
Lior Kislev, (http://www.tatzpit.com/Site/en/pages/inPage.asp?catID=532), also mentions wady Faran, but I have no experience in that area.
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1. Whenever you’re here in Israel I would love to join some of your mammal watching adventures, if u want to split the cost of some of the activities… There are still so many mammals here that I have yet to see, and the Arabian oryx is one of them.
There are some tips I can give u (I’m studying for a test now, and the next 3 weeks are going to be super busy) so I promise that we’ll before April I will spill on u the info I know.
There are reliable places to see jungle cats, nubian ibex, porcupines, and other stuff.. Sorry I’m being so short, more info to come. Look at Jon Hall’s Israel page – it’s extremely informative.