A new pipe bridge and lookout point over the Besor River, and an observation deck offering a panoramic view of the breathtaking Besor Region, up to Beersheva, Ashkelon, and beyond.
Just in time for the Scarlet South Festival, KKL-JNF inaugurated a new tourism complex in the Negev. The complex includes a lookout over the Besor River, a new pipe bridge and an observation point overlooking the water reservoirs and the agricultural region. The three reservoirs of the Besor were built with the support of Friends of KKL-JNF in the U.S., Australia, England and South Africa. The observation point is an additional tourist attraction for the thousands of visitors to the region.
L-R: Ron Huldai, Chaim Yellin and Efi Stenzler with Scarlet South balloons. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
In attendance at the inauguration of the tourism complex were KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler; Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Chaim Yellinand Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. The city of Tel Aviv and the Eshkol Regional Council have signed a twin city treaty.
The new pipe bridge which will be completed in the coming weeks is comprised of water pipes that belong to the Besor reservoirsystem. It offers visitors an additional convenient and safe observation point during the flood periods. At the center of the bridge, directly above the Besor River channel, an observation terrace was built that can accommodate dozens of visitors.
The pipe bridge is situated near Israel’s famous suspension bridge, the longest in the country, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, during all seasons, and especially during the floods, when the enormous waves of water flow into the river and offer an amazing display.
The new pipe bridge. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Between the two bridges, there is a circular hiking route along the Besor River channel, for visitors, on foot orbicycle. The distance between the bridges is 4 kilometers and the circular route is 7 kilometers.
The reservoirs’ observation point is an additional tourist attraction for the thousands of visitors to the region. The observation point overlooks the group of Besor reservoirs, whose water is used to irrigate the agricultural fields of the western Negev. The observation point overlooks the Yatir region and Beer Sheva to the north, and as far as the city of Ashkelon to the south. In the evening, one can witness an amazing spectacle of twinkling lights from the nearby localities.
The Besor Reservoir lookout. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The development of this complex was the initiative of the Eshkol Regional Council and the Besor River Administration. The reservoirs’ observation point was built by KKL-JNF in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Besor Shikma Drainage Authority.
KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzlernoted that “KKL-JNF has added an extensive array of services and infrastructure to the wonderful spaces of Ramat Hanegev, the Arava and Eilat, which will turn this region into Israel’s new growth engine. The Beeri Forest and our grazing lands have created amazing carpets of anemones, which are the highlight of the Scarlet South Festival. The three water reservoirs, seen from the observation point, have revolutionized not only the region’s agriculture, which relies on the reservoirs for their existence, but also the tourism and economic fields, which constitute the basis for the development of the entire region.”
The Besor Reservoir lookout from below. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The Besor River is Israel’s largest river, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The river’s drainage basin spans an area of 3,600 square kilometers. The river’s tributaries originate from Ramat Avdat, Arad, the Lahav Mountains and Western Hebron Mountain. The shoulders of the river, stretching 44 kilometers in length from the Beer Sheva River estuary, to the Besor River, up to the Gaza Strip, are part of the Besor Nature Reserve. In the area of the nature reserve, there are springs that flow all year long and are enjoyed by wild animals such as gazelle, jackals, foxes, wildcats and coyotes. The river and its surrounding fields serve as rest stops and ‘refueling stations’ for migratory birds, such as cranes, storks and a multitude of birds of prey. The nature reserve features the archeological sites of Tel Sharuhen (Tel Fara) and Tel Gama.
The Besor Reservoirs: In the 1990s, JNF built a series of 3 water reservoirs and dams in the Besor region, which led to unprecedented agricultural and economic change in the region. This system eliminates the dependence on the region’s scarce rainfall, reduces agricultural irrigation using freshwater and allows for a system that regulates the Besor River’s flood water and utilizes the reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation.
Beeri Lookout. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The Besor reservoirs are a sophisticated system of 3 reservoirs, which together are capable of storing over 7 million cubic meters of water. The source of the water is from floods that flow into the river. In dry years, in which there is no possibility of filling the reservoirs with water from the Besor, there is an option of filling them with Gush Dan wastewater (SHAFDAN). The establishment of these reservoirs has doubled the yield of local crops of orange, lemon and tangerine groves and potato, peanut, sunflower and jojoba fields.
Along the Besor River, as part of the the region’s tourism development, KKL-JNF has built a scenic route spanning 18 kilometers, from Tseelim to the Eshkol Park. A hike along this scenic route offers visitors an experience that features amazing river and desert views. This route has become famous thanks to the suspension bridge built by KKL-JNF above the river, the flood water reservoirs and dams.
The tourism complex is located near another KKL-JNF project - the ANZAC Trail, which was restored and developed with the assistance of JNF Australia. The road originates in the Kibbutz Beeri- Besor Region and ends in Beer Sheba.