I love the north of Israel so when I was offered to join a two-day trip of goodness, courtesy of Azoulay PR & More, I jumped at it. The locations in this trip are all considered major attractions in Israel and are well equipped for tourists year-round.
Trip Itinerary Options
Manara Lodge extreme sports and night activities
Kfar Blum Kayaks, Top Rope Adventure Park and more
De Karina Chocolatiere Workshop
‘Dag Al Hadan’ Restaurant Tour and Workshop
Manara Lodge Chef Workshop
Kfar Blum Culinary Services
Extreme and Cuisine
When I visited Manara in Passover, little did I know that I would be coming back shortly afterwards. But, I’m glad I did because it gave me an opportunity to try some additional activities. In Passover, my family and I rode the Manara Cliff Cable Car and Mountain Slides. You can read about them here.
The extreme sports activities are located at the middle stop of the cable car. These include rappelling down 40 meters of the cliff face, archery and a climbing wall. I hadn’t rappelled in over 20 years and it was a bit scary to begin with, but it was like riding a bicycle. Once I leaned back into position, it all came back to me and I was able to jump my way down. The archery was fun too.
Aside from the extreme sports, we enjoyed the heritage tractor tour at the top of the cliff and a cooking workshop led by Chef Raef in which we learnt how to make stuffed vine leaves, while gleaning other essential cooking tips related to homemade hummus.
Nighttime activities include an assortment of the daytime activities: tours, cable or mountain rides and meals. Our nighttime activity included a cable ride and a bonfire, which was when we got to bond and discuss the new campaign.
It so happens that 2018 is a historic year. It’s the 70th anniversary of Israel and the 20th anniversary of the Manara Cliff tourism site. In Israel there is a big campaign to visit the cliff and hashtag your photo with #manara and #youmustbehere as depicted in the photo below. You are more than welcome to join the celebration.
Kfar Blum offers three different kayak tours passing through the Hasbani and Yarden rivers. The first is a family route of 4 km that lasts ~1.5 hrs, the second is a challenge route of 8 km that lasts ~2.5 hrs and goes through more rapid waters and a VIP tour.
For those who want to enjoy a simulation of the experience, there is a new 3D rafting film that gives you a taste of sailing without actually entering the river. It was filmed especially for the Kfar Blum park and is suitable for ages 4 and up. Adi Cohen, the H.R. manager came to welcome us on your behalf.
The ‘Top Rope’ park is the adventure park next to the kayak station. It includes a rope course, archery station, 12 meter climbing wall and a 90 meter zipline going straight from the top of the climbing wall into the water. If in the kayaks you mainly wet your pants, in the zipline you get wet from head to toe. However, there are cloakrooms in the park for showering and changing and all you have to do is prepare for it in advance.
Kfar Blum also offers a variety of food vendors and services. As a group, we enjoyed a meal of freshly baked pizzas and salads. However, they have several other offerings for groups. The one that caught my eye in their pamphlet was the ‘floating market’ in which the alcoholic breezers and refreshments are served while you’re on the river in the kayaks. Group events can include several combinations of activities and foods, day and night. They also have a camping ground on site with all the facilities.
Karina is the 3rd generation of a family of chocolatiers from Argentina. Luckily, she has chosen to make her home in Israel, where she has established a wonderful chocolaterie in the Golan Heights that both preserves the traditional handmade methods, while developing new flavors and products reflecting the Israeli agriculture and palate.
A visit to De Karina includes a half hour guided tour in the visitors’ center starting with a film and followed by a tour of the factory and a tasting session. To enhance the visit, Karina has developed different workshops for adults and children as well as a VIP workshop that teaches each participant how to make gourmet chocolates. The advantage of the VIP workshop aside from Karina’s personal oversight, is that it is conducted as a team-building activity and not just as a personal experience. Regardless of which workshop you choose, at the end you will receive a personalized box with chocolates from the workshop.
‘Dag Al Hadan’ is another famous Israeli institution. It started with the restaurant that was opened in 1978 on the banks of the Dan River. Today, it is run by the son, Enam and includes also a campsite and kayak station of its own. However, our visit was limited to the culinary aspect. As expected, the restaurant specializes in cooking fresh fish and is the largest of its kind in Israel seating ~700 people. In order to maintain the supply of fish to the restaurant, the owners have created fish tanks in which the local trout as well as a few other species, are grown especially for the customers. Among others, they also grow sturgeon for extraction of caviar such as the one Enam was holding below.
The father started with a tradition of planting trees within the complex, which Enam is carrying on. Several of them are mulberry trees that are now in season and in addition, they have added a platform with tanks of the Garra Rufa fish used for spa pedicures. The overall effect, on top of the flowing water is quite serene.
Our visit to the restaurant included a guided tour and a fish cooking workshop led by Enam and his team culminating in a delicious meal.
This post is all inclusive, but this is where I will add a photo from Manara Lodge’s sumptuous breakfast.
We slept at Manara lodge. An important point that I’d like to add is that visitors at the lodge gain free entrance to all the extreme attractions from check-in to check-out so keep that in mind and check-in early! (pssst., you can check-in even before the rooms are ready).
The trip took two days. I’ve placed the locations on the map for your convenience.
This is what it looks like on the map:
I hope you find this review helpful and that it will enable you to fit at least some of these attractions into your itinerary next time you visit the north of Israel.
Post Visit Note: An additional hiking trail exists nearby from the Jordan River Source. Check it out if you're interested.
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