Only a few hardy souls take the public bus down to Ein Gedi.
Our bus from Jerusalem let us off at the Nahal David station, on the highway that hugs the shore of the Dead Sea, and we walked over to the Nature Reserve entrance.
Most folks drive their own car.
Or big groups, mostly classes of school kids, have their own chartered bus for the day.
They park here next to the palm trees of the Ein Gedi parking lot.
Here at the entrance, under the two huge "umbrellas" made of dried palm branches, is your last chance to buy some food or to eat your picnic breakfast/lunch.
Once you buy your ticket and enter Wadi David, no eating is allowed.
That keeps Nature clean and keeps the wild animals from getting used to handouts.
It is also your last opportunity for many hours to use the washroom.
Plenty of toilets for the big groups of hikers.
Don't even think about washing your dishes there. The sign, complete with ibex + tree logo of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, says it is forbidden.
Eeuw, who would want to do that anyway.