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February 24, 2022

Dolphin Reef Eilat

Menashri  CC BY-SA 2.0 Red Sea Coral

Menashri  CC BY-SA 2.0
Red Sea Coral

Swim with Dolphins at Dolphin Reef Eilat

What could be more fun than swimming with dolphins?  Dolphin Reef Eilat, located on the northern shores of the Red Sea, offers a unique human-dolphin experience. In fact, the dolphins are given the freedom to choose if there will be any interaction with their human visitors.  In return, visitors get a natural dolphin experience including the opportunity to watch these social mammals play, hunt, and teach their young.

Established in 1990, Eilat’s dolphin reef is home to eight “bottlenose” dolphins, seven females and one male, living in an approximately 14,000 sq. meters area that is separated from the open Red Sea by a net.  The Open Sea Project, which ran from 1996 -2002, allowed the dolphins unrestricted access to the Red Sea. During this time, the dolphins continually returned, a testimony to their strong connection to the people at Dolphin Reef.  However, uncontrolled feeding of the dolphins resulted in the cancellation of the project.  It is hoped that the situation will change and the dolphins will be able to once again have the freedom visit the open sea.

Things to Do at Dolphin Reef Eilat

Visitors can dive with the dolphins, snorkel, and participate in diving courses and dolphin therapy education courses.

Dolphin Reef Eilat: Bluenose Dolphin Mother with Baby

Faraj Meir  CC BY-SA 3.0
Bluenose Dolphin Mother with Baby

Not a water aficionado? Opportunities to interact with the dolphins don’t have to be the “wet” kind; getting close is also possible from either a floating pier or observation point.

In addition to diving in the Red Sea, visitors can enjoy beach access, a children’s activity center, and an underwater photography center. A café is located on the beach. For an additional charge, visitors over 18 can spend up to two hours in any of the three heated pools that offer underwater music and relaxation techniques. Private group sessions are available.  Visitors with disabilities can apply to dive, snorkel and scuba at the facility with the assistance of guides qualified by the International Association of Handicapped Divers.

Eilat Dolphin Therapy

A  minimum one-year program, developed in 1991 and staffed by volunteers, allows children with handicaps or problems to interact with the dolphins to achieve personal growth, self-esteem and motivation.

Diving in Eilat

חפי רוקח  Public Domain

The program emphasizes growth through fun, allowing children to be themselves and to experience the delight of having the dolphins choose to interact with them. Located about a four-hour drive from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, travelers can shorten the travel time by flying into Ovda Airport, which is less than an hour from Eilat.

Dolphin Reef Eilat Triva: Did You Know?

Nearly every day a small grey dog named Joker walks to Dolphin Reef from a town several kilometers away just to swim with the dolphins. At the end of the day, he usually catches a ride home with one of the facility workers.

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