Eilat Coral Reef
Israel’s Only Coral Reef
Eilat is blessed with one of the world’s most beautiful and densely populated coral reefs and the only coral reef in Israel. Stretching over 1,200 meters (1/4 mile) along the shore, the Eilat Coral Reef attracts divers and snorkelers from all over the world. The primary undersea coral wall descends 3-4 meters (10-13 feet); behind this coral wall is a sand bar and the two big Moses and Joshua Rocks, which are favorite diving spots. These two rocks can be reached by a special bridge, as can the Undersea Japanese Gardens. Beyond the sandbar and rocks is another deep coral wall that descends for 35 meters (115 feet).
Eilat Nature Reserve
The Coral Reef is a real treasure, however it is a delicate ecosystem that can be wiped out by sea or beach pollution. To ensure its protection, the reef was declared a natural reserve site and is managed today by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Rangers patrol the area. In addition to the fantastic coral underworld and Undersea Japanese Garden that extends for 500 meters (1,640 feet), there are over 600 different types of colored tropical fish, cuttlefish, sea turtles, anemones, urchins, sponges, crabs, oysters, octopi and dolphins who call Eilat their home.
The beach within this nature reserve is quiet and beautiful. This is not a soft sand beach, but has the original hard sand that was native to this area. The imported soft sand available on other Eilat beaches, especially in the North Shore area, is dangerously polluting for the coral when it blows into the water.
Snorkeling equipment can be rented. In order not to trample on the Reef, there is a pier to walk out on with steps leading down to the water. It’s a good idea to wear beach shoes in the water so that you will not get stung by sea urchins or cut your feet on the coral.
The reserve also offers visitors a chance to go scuba diving using a unique method especially designed as a safe and easy method for beginners. Divers are attached to an oxygen tank that is on a small floating boat so there is no need to master all the complexities that come with strapping an oxygen tank on your back. The beach also offers sunshades, showers, lounge chairs and a snack bar that sells books and souvenirs.
Red Sea Diving
Other popular Red Sea diving sites outside of the Coral Reef Reserve are the Caves. Close to the Taba border, these have two underwater passages, one of which can be crossed while diving. Also near Taba are the Coral Tables or Veronica – coral formations that look like tables.
North of the Reserve is the Eel Garden, where the strong current causes eels to stand up. At the end of the southern shore is the Lighthouse with two marked diving entrances. There are also two sunken Israeli boats, the Battleship and the Mosquito, and near the Battleship is a very popular diving area called Paradise.
Southern Coral Beach in Eilat
Most of the other southern beaches in the Coral Reef area also have facilities for diving and snorkeling or other water sports and like the Princess Beach (Hof Hanesicha), the beach closest to the Egyptian border; they all offer chairs, loungers and sun shades. This beach also has a bridge for divers that goes out over the Coral Reef.
The Dekel Beach is a great family beach and has a children’s play area right on the beach, a Bedouin tent, and a raft for sunbathing. The Village Beach attracts young people and it has all kinds of water sports, kayaking, and more.
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Eilat Coral Reef: Did You Know?
The Coral Reef is colonized by 270 different kinds of coral, which provide a home for over 2,500 different kinds of undersea life!