David Waterfall – Ein Gedi, Israel - Atlas Obscura

David Waterfall

Ein Gedi, Israel

The tallest waterfall in the Judean Desert is named for its connection to a biblical figure. 

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At the edge of the Judean Desert, a stunning water feature can be found not far from the edge of the Dead Sea. Known as David Waterfall, water drops 120 feet (36 meters) into a shallow pool. Entry to the pool is forbidden. 

The waterfall is located about a mile’s (1.5 km) walk from the entrance of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. Along the way, there are several smaller waterfalls, cascades, and pools, all flowing from the Nahal David (David River). From the foot of the waterfall, you can continue on another path that brings you to the small Dudim cave located just above the head of the waterfall. 

The waterfall and river get their names from the biblical figure King David. A story in the first book of Samuel, chapter 24, describes King Saul, with a force of 3,000 soldiers, chasing the young David. He is jealous of David’s popularity among the people after David’s victory over Goliath. According to the story, David snuck behind King Saul one night, and used his sword to cut a piece from Saul’s coat. The next morning, David confronted the king, using the piece of cloth to prove that he could have killed Saul but chose to spare his life. This story is believed to have unfolded in Dudim Cave.

Besides its historical importance, this spot is unique because of how it contrasts with its barren desert surroundings. and the gushing water with the green vegetation around it.

Know Before You Go

The Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is open in the summer from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and holiday eves. In the winter, the nature reserve is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays and holiday eves. Admission fees are 29 NIS for adults and 15 NIS for children.