- Talma Gotteiner
Golan Heights 1of 2: Walking In Water
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Thanks to the Passover vacation, I finally had a chance to travel with my family and friends to the Golan Heights for a few days. However, since the drive to the Golan Heights takes ~3 hrs of net driving, I planned stopovers on the way that became part of the trip.
Trip Itinerary Options
10:00 Mazes in Moshav Sde Ya'akov 'Mavoch Ba'emek'
13:30 A historic tour in Kibbutz Yagur
17:00 Shopping for BBQ and go to B&B
Day 2 First Half
10:00 Snir-Hasbani River National Park – walking in water
Snir-Hasbani River National Park
The Snir or Hasbani River is the largest tributary that feeds the Jordan river and flows year-round. The national park offers three lengths of hike trails. The two shorter ones are circular whereas the long one requires use of a two-car arrangement where you leave one at the end of the route and go back with the other to the beginning of the route so that you can drive back when you’re done. All trails begin at the wooden bridge that crosses the stream and continues with wooden decks until they break off into separate trails.
The short trail ~15 min is accessible for wheelchairs and carriages and goes alongside shallow man-made pools that are particularly suitable for toddlers although the big kids do not forego additional water time.
The medium trail takes ~45 min. At some point you leave the wooden decks and get to the full flowing river. You can still avoid entering the water if you wish, but it is very refreshing to enter them so make sure to prepare for the trip in advance and bring an extra pair of shoes. I used an old pair of sneakers since my water shoes were worn out. The trail continues alongside the river or in it (up to you) until it turns back and meets up with the short trail. The shallow pools are near the entrance so even if you take the medium trail, the children can still have some fun in the pools before leaving. The long trail takes ~1.5-2 hrs and requires wading in the water. You get a map at the entrance of the park so that you know how to get back.
A Historic Tour in Kibbutz Yagur
I had always known that Yagur played an important part in the pre-state clandestine immigration activities and paramilitary warfare against the British mandate in general. Yagur was one of the stopover hiding places for immigrants after the Palmach’s break-in to the detention camp in Atlit in 1945. It was also a major hiding place for weapons where 33 weapon stashes (in Hebrew we call them ‘Slik’) were found during the ‘Black Sabbath’ of June 29th, 1946 (also known as ‘Operation Agatha’, ‘Operation Broadside’ and ‘Black Saturaday’). What I did not know was that Zivia Lubetkin, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising lived in Yagur before founding ‘Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot’ and gave her 7 hr testimonial speech there in front of 6,000 listeners. Since this post is coming out around the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day, this fact stuck in my mind.
During your visit, you will visit the large ‘Slik’ found by the British during the ‘Black Sabbath’. On the roof of the modern entry, the kibbutz has placed a lathe used for manufacturing of the ‘Uzi’ sub-machine gun, which was invented by a Yagur kibbutz member called Uzi Gal. You will see a small museum telling the history of the Kibbutz founders and members. There are films in both. The museum is built near the railroad track of what used to be ‘The Valley Train’ that ran from Haifa to Tzemach and operated between 1905-1948 as a branch line of the Hejaz railway connecting Damascus, Syria to Medina, Saudi Arabia. You can see the track and a model train car as well as some very old and beautiful trees.
Phone: 04-9848100 or 054-5618277
Mazes in Moshav Sde Ya'akov 'Mavoch Ba'Emek'
As a stopover, the place is quite nice. It has restrooms and a shaded eating area with tables and chairs and even small game tables. The activity takes ~1.5 hrs.
There are three mazes on site and you go through all three starting from the easiest to the most difficult. The first is designed within a wheat field, but although you are tall enough to see it from above, it is still big enough to blur the outline and if you let the kids lead the way, it will take sufficient time.
The other two mazes are made of planted trees and are taller than the average adult. The second maze is a song maze. At the ticket box, the children are given activity sheets in Hebrew for the second and third maze. In this maze you have to go through all the stops and complete missing words of the songs. We also stopped and sang the ones we were familiar with, which was most of them. If you don’t know Hebrew, you can sing your own songs.
The third maze is the tallest and most difficult and has an opt-out in the middle in case you get discouraged or are pressed in time. It is also a story maze. The children have to go through each stop and answer questions on their activity sheet related to each story. We stayed till the very end 😊.
We had sandwiches and a large BBQ, but you can also stop at restaurants along the way.
Near Sde Ya'akov you have: ‘Shalev Bayaar’, ‘Moses’, ‘Bluma’, ‘Beaujolais’, ‘Burger Saloon’, ‘Asado Bar’ and ‘Café Louise’.
At Yagur there also are a few restaurants at the entrance.
You can search for B&Bs on my ‘Best B&B’ page.
This post covers a day and a half out of three.
This is what it looks like on the map:
Post Visit Note: To go to the second half of the trip click here.
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