Aug 20, 2009

Touring in Eretz Yisrael: Summer: The other side of "Latzafon"

There is another side to travelling "LaTzafon" - to the north of the country. Not just the area around, and north of, the Kinneret. There is a whole 'nother side of the north. And it is completely different.

We went this week up north for a few more days of vacation. This time we went with our extended family, and with a group of families from our area. Somebody arranged the group and all the details, from lodging to food to trips, etc. This was the kind of vacation that I did not need to worry about what we were going to do or where we would go next, but I just had to enjoy and let others do the work (except for the shlepping).

The group went to the western side of northern Israel. We stayed at a kibbutz just north of Nahariya. As you can see from the image, Kibbutz Mezzuba is about 2.5km from the border with Lebanon.

I did not really get any good shots of the kibbutz itself, so I am sharing this picture, which is basically a classic modern kibbutz picture, with the kids climbing atop the slanted bomb shelter roof, considering how rare it is for city-kids to see such things.

After settling in the first day, going swimming and eating, Monday was really the beginning of the tiyulim. The main hiking tiyul for that region of the country is called Nachal Keziv. The terrain is completely different than the Golan or even the eastern Galilee, and there are very few streams, as they generally dry up quickly. Nachal Keziv is the exception. The stream starts all the way from the other side - Har Meiron area, and continues until it dumps out in the Mediterranean (at Achziv beach if I am not mistaken).

So we were to hike Nachal Keziv. The hike begins at the top of a mountain with a stunningly beautiful view of the whole mountain range.

Right across from where we were beginning our hike down is located the village of Mitzpe Hila - unfortunately Mitzpe Hila became famous a few years ago. Mitzpe Hila is the village in which the Shalit family resides.

After hiking down the mountain on a very steep path, we walked across the valley crossing through the stream. the stream is a beautiful series of pools and running water. the water is cool and clean, with fish swimming through, and is perfect for cooling down on a hot hike.

This is an image of the mountain range and forest view while hiking back up the mountain on the other end of our hike. The whole region is absolutely stunning.

After we finished the Nachal Keziv hike, we went to the beach in Nahariya to relax for a while. The sand is soft - it felt to me like walking on a marshmallow - and is mixed with bits of seashell. I found some really nice seashells for my daughters collection.

The bext day we were scheduled to go fruit picking in the Golan Heights, and then kayaking on the Jordan River. It seems strange to stay near Nahariya and then go all the way to the Golan to do activities, but that is what we did on Tuesday.

Fruit picking was at Ein Zivan. Ein Zivan is way out on the eastern corner of the Golan Heights. As you can see, it is about 3km from the Syrian border, and overlooks Kuneitra.

We started the fruit picking in an apple orchard. The trees were not exactly the fifty foot trees I was expecting. At least it made the picking easy for my little kids.
Apples is not the greatest of fruits to go picking - I mean, how many apples can you eat already? I think I ate the most of the group (at least among those of us who compared apple war stories) onsite by eating six.

After the apple orchard, we went to a different field where they had the nectarine trees. From there, you could clearly see the Syrian flag waving in the distance behind Kuneitra.

After fruit picking and a relaxing lunch, it was back on to the bus to head out for kayaking. When you hear "kayaking" and "whitewater rafting", immediatly the image of rafting down Colorado rivers comes to mind, with serious currents and water depths. Don't forget that Israel has a drought. The Jordan River does not resemble Colorado rivers in any way. It is basically like a large bathtub, filled with cold water. But kayaking down the Jordan is still fun and refreshing, and we did it at the premier Israeli kayaking company of Kfar Blum.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of the kayaking experience, but I did not take the camera along. It would have likely ruined all the pictures from the rest of the trip. The kayaking was great, and exhausting.

After that, it was back to the Kibbutz for dinner, swimming, sleeping, more food, and more swimming.


  1. Nice write up about the trip.

    kol tuv,


  2. Sounds like a great trip!

    Don't forget 7 things I love.

  3. Rafi - did the kibbutz organise separate swimming hours for boys/girls? I'm looking for a place to rent out for a few weeks time.

  4. Shalom - the guy who arranged the group arranged it with the kibbutz


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