The story of Nahal Rahaf

סיפורו של נחל רחף

The hiking trails in the stream in the lower canyon:

It is not for nothing that the stream attracts travelers from all over the country. The lower canyon of the stream, located in the area where Afiko paddles the Cliff of the Copies on his way to the Dead Sea, is one of the most beautiful canyons in the country and the entire region! We don't know of another canyon in Israel/Lebanon/Sinai or Jordan where a stream joins such a large number of waterfalls and ridges over such a short horizontal distance. This fact turns the stream into a tourist stream among the desert streams that require ropes and gives it the name Ben Leumi.

The lower part of the stream falls into about ten particularly impressive waterfalls at heights of up to 30 meters. Between these waterfalls, huge water is spread out! Most of these ridges are deep and shaded which allows them to store the flood water for many months after rains and keep them clear and good for a long time after the flow.

The stream can be divided into two hiking routes and you can hike in all parts of the lower canyon or only in the lower part.

טיול סנפלינג רטוב לנחל רחף

The long route (the full upper canyon):

The length of the hiking route in this section is about 5 km and it includes about 10 waterfalls for surfing and descending with the help of pegs.

We will begin the ascent on the green "Ma'ale Rachaf" route, we will not deviate from the green marking until we meet the next black marking first and the next blue after it. We will continue the ascent, which lasts about an hour at the most, to the desert plateau, when we will overcome the last rock step of the cliff of the replicas that we are climbing and meet the blue path. At the meeting point we will be exposed for the first time to a unique landscape, the entire desert plateau will be spread out before us. We will see the source of the stream and the city of Arad to the west of us and a series of significant ridges spread along the desert floor - Kenaiim Ridge, Mount Kenaiim, Mount Kidod, Mount Menachem and Mount Yaalim. This view of the desert plateau that is revealed in one to the travelers who decide to overcome the terrifying cliff of the replicas provides an impressive experience that is marked: "worth the difficult ascent". A gust of desert air accompanies the traveler along the continuation of the blue path on the desert plateau for a few hundred meters, where we will meet a black path where we turn right (north) to the crossing of Nahal Rahaf.

At the crossing point, the stream is laid out as a shallow and wide channel with silt and pebbles filling its bed, we will start descending it to the east and the landscape will change immediately - a low waterfall will block the descent and make it difficult to pass and high cliffs will appear on its banks - this is the sign that we have reached the upper part of the stream.

In this part of the stream we will descend a series of special waterfalls - 5 in number. At the foot of some of them will appear water bodies and some of them will be full of stream drift that came and filled the good pools in this part. A high waterfall will also appear in this part - 29 meters high and it is the highest of the waterfalls in the upper part of this canyon. Immediately after it, the stream will descend in another waterfall, 7 meters high, and at the end of the ridge at the bottom, in the appropriate season, we will meet the trail markings that indicate our arrival in the center of the lower canyon and the meeting with the blue trail that allows for an emergency exit from the stream or to continue descending in its lower part. From here we will continue the descent as described in the lower route.

טיול סנפלינג רטוב לנחל רחף

The short route (half of the upper canyon):

The length of this section is about 3 km and it has 4 waterfalls in which we will ski with the help of ropes and 2 more waterfalls in which we will descend using pegs that are installed on the spot and are permanently maintained by the Nature and Parks Authority in charge of the stream.The ascent to this section takes less than half an hour and is relatively easy, also on this route is the beginning of the ascent on the path marked by my feet in green - "Ma'ale Rachaf". Soon this path will meet a thin black path that descends to the end of the track - the bottom of the last waterfall. We will continue uphill on the green path for a short distance until it meets another blue-marked footpath. This path gently leads us to the stream bed in the center of the lower canyon, here the stream crosses a real canyon, its walls shade its center and make the trip pleasant and comfortable. From here we will start descending down the stream in an impressive series of waterfalls, the first of these waterfalls we will go down on the left with the help of pegs and after that we will go down a series of beautiful and special waterfalls at heights lower than 30 m, between these waterfalls are drawn all year round on mighty water. Extremely long ridges that require crossing them in real swimming. The end of this section is a negative vertical waterfall where we will glide through the air about 30 m to the bottom where there is a large pool of water after two days of rain.

טיול סנפלינג רטוב לנחל רחף

The animal in Nahal Rahaf:

Nahal Rahaf is located in a space empty of springs and flowing streams, the nearest spring to the north is Ein Nemer in Nahal Tzalim, and to the south is Ein Bokek. This fact makes the stream the most significant source of water in the area since some of its banks are full all year round.

The water of the stream attracts many animals to it and turns its channel into a focal point of life in the arid desert. Large herds of goats visit the stream every day and you can meet them during the trip. These goats are not used to meeting people and they will try if you approach them. Also, various reptiles are found in its environment, including lizards, snakes and more'.

Many arthropods and beautiful butterflies also rest on the rocks in its channel, but the most special of all the animals found in it are the birds! These find a warm home in the shadow of the terrifying walls of the deep canyon that allows for comfortable nests to be built for their chicks alongside nearby water and other life that makes it easier to find food. The most familiar among these birds is the black songbird with the orange-brown color on the wing, the tristirmite bird. A large flock of these birds nests on the banks of the stream and find their food in the common sedge plant in the stream. Since the stream is frequented by many travelers and therefore these birds are used to contact with man and they are not afraid of him. Some travelers take advantage of this to feed them with the food they brought from home, but this is not recommended and prohibited and may result in harm to those birds.

But the songbirds are not the rarity in this desert in general and Nahal Rahaf in particular, but a pair of birds of prey that are sometimes observed at the top of the lower canyon indicates a significant nesting on its banks. This is the desert wombat, a bird of prey that resembles a stork in its colors. His body is short and white in color, his lower part and the tips of his wings are black. Its size is tiny compared to its members in the eagle group and it is content to eat leftover carcasses and bones, small animals and eggs. During the trip in the river, you see this pair of raccoons with a fairly high frequency.

The plant in the river floated:

Due to the uniform rock that accompanies the river bed, almost no significant vegetation is found in the section where paddlers descend waterfalls and ridges, therefore the encounter with plants during the trip is limited. Above the upper waterfalls and at the mouth of the stream below the last waterfall you can find common desert plants and trees. At Ma'ale Rahaf you can find different desert flowers during the blooming season.

On the banks of the stream and on its higher sides, you can find the desert yprok, the bush sedge, the desert sedge and other plants. From the top of the last drop, you can see in the lower part of the stream a large group of boats, the awning method and the spiral method.