Can you sense a theme in my recent posts? They are somehow involving water, whether on land or sea. Must be an attempt to mentally cool myself down amid this arid and relentless summer heat. But in all seriousness, I would love to introduce to you (if you haven't been there already) the waterfalls of the Golan Heights. When you think of Israel you might not imagine at first that this country is home to some spectacular waterfalls, but I assure you that there is much to be seen, especially in Israel's northernmost region, The Golan Heights:
The Golan Heights region is located in Israel's upper-right hand corner as seen in the map below, bordering Lebanon to the north, Syria to the east and Jordan to the south. The Golan Heights is generally lush and green, making it an excellent area for hiking and outdoors activities:
In the Golan Heights, in general, there are a plethora of activities from which to choose, including wintertime skiing at Mount Hermon, enviable bird watching at Gamla, taking in breathtaking views at Mount Bental, taking part in a memorable hospitality experience at one of several Druze villages, visiting a deer reserve in Odem Forest, touring a handful of intact archaeological sites, or making a pitstop at one of several boutique wineries.
However, none of those exciting activities are what I am introducing you to today; because, when I think of the Golan Heights, what immediately comes to my mind are the amazing hikes and waterfalls. Though there are over a dozen wonderful nature reserves and key spots in which to check out the refreshing waterfalls, perhaps the two most reputable visits would be to Banias Waterfall and to Gamla Reserve. For further information on the rest of the hikes and nature reserves in the Golan Heights, please click here.
Here are some personal photos from my visit to a Golan Heights hike and waterfall taken from the summer of 2006 (still can't believe it's been five years already...). I wish I could tell you whether this is Banias or Gamla, but my memory fails me. I can tell you that it was one of the most remarkable parts of my Birthright Israel trip to Israel that summer. I had no idea to expect such beautiful scenery and such a beautiful waterfall in a desert country. (Just as a memo, it was for these type of activities that I bought myself some Keen sandals which were - and still are - a lifesaver for outdoorsy activities involving dirt and water):
Just looking at the above photos, I remember thinking two things: 1) "Do I really have to trek through this water and get half of my body soaked?!", and then a few seconds later, after doing so, thinking: 2) "Wow, that felt nice! Let's do it again!" After all, you have to remember it's about 100 F outside. Here we are, in the photos below, taking a water break in the middle of our hike and then arriving at our destination after just an hour's hike:
Imagine how great it feels to feel those refreshing bits of water spray at you from the waterfall as your reach your destination and take in the view. The rainbow in the waterfall is completely real and I have no idea if it's always like this or not, but we were thrilled to be rewarded with such a wonderful end to our hike:
And of course, after a long hike, it was time to jump right in, which we did not want a second to do. This was one of the best memories from my trip and I can still recall how refreshing the water was on such a hot day. I'll try to channel into that feeling now to cool me down!
As I mentioned before, there are a number of such hikes to do in The Golan Heights and so if you're interested in heading up north for a hike of your own, please be sure to visiting the following page to see further details: click here. And as long as you're going to drive all the way up there, I highly recommend fitting in some other great activities including visiting a Druze village where you'll have one of the best meals of your life and stopping at a winery which is always fun, no matter what time of year. There's still so much more of The Golan Heights for me to explore, but like I said, these waterfalls are what I think of when I here the area referred to. Hope you enjoyed seeing this part of Israel with me!