• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Israel - pre trip info..... (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I have a 5 week trip planned (1st 3 of March / first half of April) to Eilat next Spring. The Gov.org site says that neither a visa nor any vaccination forms are required just filling in an online form 48 hours before departure. Health insurance including Covid19 is however mandatory. I fully intend being insured and shall check Covid details accordingly. Has anybody visited recently i.e. the Eilat Bird Festival this year and landed at Tel Aviv - what do they actually check upon arrival? Is there any hassle from security etc? Direct flights to the new Ramon Airport are neither direct or cheap so it will be either Brum to Tel Aviv or Thiefrow to TA.....

Thanks for any info supplied -

Laurie -
Last edited:
As a regular visitor to Israel I was there again in March when COVID checks at Tel Aviv were at their most extreme. I had to have PCR tests before being allowed on the flight, PCR test at Ben Gurion on arrival at the Airport and had to go directly to the accommodation and await results. That has now changed with no tests being required as stated with only the Passenger Locator form being required for submission within 3 days of travel.
On arrival at Ben Gurion the general security / passport control process has been streamlined and you only need to scan your passport when you arrive in the arrivals halls, there are plenty of machines. Once you get a ticket from these machines you can move forward to baggage reclaim and onwards.
I'm not sure if the car rental desks will be open again on the upper concorse when you pass through into the main hall, in March they were all the other side of the car park and you had to use the curtesy phones. If they are upstairs this will be a lot easier as it means the rental cars are in the main car park.

You will experience more security checks when leaving Israel, much improved in recent years with again automated Passport readers but the hand luggage security checks can take a long time.

I would suggest flying into Ben Gurion rather than Ramon near Eilat simply as its a direct flight from the UK and not requiring a change somewhere. At most the drive from Tel Aviv to Eilat is around 5 hours. There are some excellent birding sites only a couple of hours from Tel Aviv on the way, such as Mt. Amasa (personal favourite birding location) which in March may still have Finsch's Wheatears left before they headback north, a species which will be extremely difficult to get much further south. If on the British Airways overnight flight you will arrive early hours which means you could be birding there shortly after first light.

I have some comprehensive trip reports on Cloudbirders:

If any questions drop me a PM.
Thank you very much for your detailed reply Steve. Thankfully next March should be nothing like this March. I do not know where I will be stopping but will book 2 or 3 days in a hostel and see how it goes. The Authorities obviously expect most visitors to be in a single hotel or whatever for the duration but with 5 weeks to play with who knows. I do not drive so will be coaching it down to Eilat. I will however be taking a folding Brompton bike for use whilst in-situ. This should enable me to get to out of the way places that would be inaccessible by car. in addition it can easily be taken on public transport or indeed if I hitch a lift anywhere. I do not intend signing up for anything and will do my own itinerary based on research and reports during the period. The long period will allow me plenty of time to visit and re-visit sites and put the time in as there will be a lot to take in..........hopefully! Although not part of a package I would like to go to the logs etc during the actual Festival week so I shall contact some of the people involved e.g. Yoav or Johnathon and see what is what.

Once again thank you for your kind reply and the time taken - I will check out the trip reports that you have linked (y)

Good birding -

Laurie -
There are numerous sites around Eilat that can be reached on foot or by bike: such as the IBRCE, North Beach, Holland Park, Ofira Park, Central Park, Canada Park, Corner Park etc whilst the Sewage pool and Salt Pans are at KM19 and KM20 markers respectively. Getting up the mountains on a fold up bike will be a challenge for raptors and ideally needs to be done by a car. There is a bus that goes that way so you could try and ask the driver to drop you off at the main turn off the raptor watchpoint, at the crest of the highest point of the road below Mt. Yoash. From there its all downhill on the way back.

There are buses that go up the Arava with stops at Kibbuts Samar, at Yotvata and Lotan so those locations are doable by public transport but will be to far by bike. Places such as Ovda Valley should be doable by using the Eilat/Ovda road bus and get off at the bus stop at the Ovda valley road junction. The main plains are several KMs along that road but get there early enough and most of the morning could be birded out to the military base fence and back.

You'll have to do some digging on bus time tables as I'm afraid I don't have those.

Noam Weiss and Shachar Shalev at the IBRCE are extremely helpful and great guys so they might be able to assist local logistics.

This facebook page is dedicated to birding Eilat and the Arava; Shachar does regular weekly English updates though some posts by Israeli's have some interesting translations into English; Log in to Facebook

Good luck and enjoy
Last edited:
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread