The water district

Don’t miss out on the Nature and Heritage Preservation Week events at the national parks, especially in the Upper Galilee.

March 11, 2012 16:37
Tapline reservoir at Snir Nature Park

Tapline reservoir at Snir Nature Park 390. (photo credit: Doron Nissim/INPA)


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Next week is Nature and Heritage Preservation Week at all the Israel Nature and Parks Authority sites.

This year’s theme is endangered plants, and there will be many special events, guided tours and other family-oriented activities for the occasion around the country.

Tomorrow, 22 of the parks will be open to the public free of charge.

The bounty of flowers in full bloom that can be seen now in the northern Negev and the Galilee is no small miracle. As recently as 30 years ago, the picture was very different. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority is constantly working to preserve the wildlife by transferring plants, building sanctuaries and safe habitats and educating the public to preserve the natural vegetation of Israel. If you want to learn more about the activities, go to or call *3639 The north of Israel is beautiful throughout the year. But now, after the heavy rains and snow, it is at its most glorious. The fields are covered with blooming flowers, and the rivers flowing with water. Wherever you turn, the views are breathtaking.

Our destination for the night was Kibbutz Snir, a vantage point to start a trip up to Mount Hermon, the hanging bridge at Banyas or any other point of interest. But we made a few stops on the way.

Jordan River Rafting

If you’re up for a real extreme sports experience, the Jordan River is a fantastic rafting spot. In fact, it is considered one of the more adventurous places in the world. In the winter when the river is overflowing, Jordan River Rafting has white-water rafting, which is done with full wet suits and helmets and a guide in every boat. Other options, depending on the condition of the river, are more relaxed family boating.

The site also offers all-terrain-vehicles (four- and three-wheel) tours with guides. The tour goes up to the Golan slopes, offering some mud driving, beautiful scenery and interesting points along the way.


After four hours of exciting rafting or offroad driving and a well developed appetite, it’s time to have a meal at Iskander, a kosher restaurant that offers taboun-baked Turkish style delicacies, salads, grilled meats and many other options. The food is great, and the service is very friendly.

Snir (Hatzbani) Stream Nature Reserve

The Snir Stream is the longest tributary of the Jordan River. Its green banks, frothing water, pools and waterfalls are an unforgettable pleasure. The main route is easy and accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. The Snir begins some 35 km.

south of the town of Hasbaya in Lebanon.

It is 65 km. long and drains an area of 640 on the northwestern slopes of Mount Hermon. In winter, the Snir is augmented by flooding, while in the summer only the Wazani springs feed it.

Last month, a new winter route was opened and a birdwatching post was erected, allowing visitors to observe the birds near the Tapline water reservoir.

There are ducks, black storks, cranes and other birds that flock to the reservoir, posing for the visitors who can try to identify the different kinds, using the maps and booklets provided at the entrance to the park. There are scenic points, and if you visit there soon, the gushing Snir River and flowers will keep you there for very long time. In the summer, you can enjoy natural pools and picnic areas, which make for a perfect family outing.

Kibbutz Snir suites

Founded in 1968, Kibbutz Snir is within walking distance of the Banyas waterfall and the hanging bridge. It is surrounded by small brooks, woods and archeological sites, and there are many scenic points overlooking the Hula Valley, as well as Mount Hermon.

The 18 suites, located in old kibbutz buildings, were recently renovated and are now cozy and comfortable, with a jet bath (or shower) in every room, a small equipped kitchenette, and a TV in the bedroom and the sitting area, which can double as extra bed for kids. Every room has a porch overlooking the Hula Valley, and there is a barbecue nearby. In the morning, guests are invited to the old kibbutz dining room, which operates as a kosher dairy restaurant, Adama, serving a lavish breakfast buffet. Large groups may also order hot meals and meals to go.

There are many playgrounds, a swimming pool and other sports facilities. The friendly staff will be happy to advise guests about places to visit in the area and provide tickets and reservations.

Yosef Haglili

Yosef Haglili operates jeep tours in the area. He takes his groups to the most hidden corners only locals know about, be it during a snowstorm, in the muddy terrain or in the summer. He also organizes tours with other focuses, such as old synagogues and archeology and other topics of interest. We went with him to see the Snir River waterfalls, normally dry but now flowing with water. We went through blossoming fruit orchards, looked at old oak trees and spotted running wolves. The tour ended at Horshat Tal.

Horshat Tal

A very popular spot for taking a dip in ice-cold water in the summer, Horshat Tal is a reserve of ancient oak trees. It also provides less expensive accommodation during the summer in huts or tents. But this time of year, the blooming flowers make it a worthwhile spot to stop for a picnic.


Our last stop was a little out of the way, at the Tzipori National Park. The park, encompassing the ruins of the ancient Roman- and Talmudic-era city of Tzipori, is located in the rolling hills of the Lower Galilee, west of Nazareth. Tzipori is one of the most interesting places to visit, and the beauty of its mosaic floors is unparalleled. But our visit was about the opening of the new underground walk through the water piers, which led from the reservoir to the city. The amazingly complicated water system was built by Roman engineers and provided the residents of ancient Tzipori with fresh drinking water year round.

The tour of the six newly excavated water piers will be open to the public tomorrow for the first time. It is a 15- minute walk, suitable for children and adults, through a 235-meter long tunnel, excavated by hand in the hard rock. It is 1 meter high and about 80 cm wide.

Of course, when visiting Tzipori, you must pay a visit to the Mona Lisa of the Galilee, the mysterious mosaic beauty portrayed on the floor of the main house. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful ancient mosaic features in the world.

The details

Jordan River Rafting / Iskander

A five-hour white-water rafting trip costs NIS 345 per person. The shorter routes cost less. Call Itay at 050-852- 9514 for the rafting. Call (04) 900-7000 for more information or reservations for the Iskander Turkish grill kosher restaurant.

Snir River Park and bird observatory

Entry NIS 27 for adults; NIS 14 for children.

For more info, call *3639

Snir suites

For prices and reservations, call (04) 695-2508 ;

Yosef Haglili

For reservations, call (04) 695-2401, 052-272-7373

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