50,000 Israelis, half of them are Druze residents, live in the Golan mountains, overlooking the sea of Galilee and they are deeply connected to the land. The Golan is known as the biblical Bashan and this is where the half-tribe of Manasseh settled. For centuries Jewish communities in the Golan flourished. Many of the battles against the Syrian Greeks that culminated in the holiday of Hanukkah took place there. The Golan region was part of the Hasmonean kingdom ruled by Judah Maccabee’s great-nephew, King Alexander Yannai. Many observed it as part of the Promised Land deeded by God to his Chosen People.Nowadays it is one of the favorite regions for Israelis to spend their family vacations.With wide areas, plants, animals, wild life, trails, hiking, waterfalls, springs this piece of land is considered as heaven.
The attractions in the southern part of the Golan are endless – Gamla National Park with vultures in the sky and antiquities on the ground. The Yehudiya nature reserve with the impressive Meshushim Stream and pool, present a fascinating geological phenomena. The Daliyot River Estuary (also known as the “Majrase”) provides a vivacious way to stay cool while hiking with its refreshing wet circuit “water hike.” The Peace Lookout next to Kfar Haruv is a large concrete slab with the most spectacular views of the Sea of Galilee, combined with the 0.8-km loop trail there.
Hamat Gader Hot Springs, surrounded by the Yarmuk River, is the main attraction. Separate fenced pools feature a home to different species of crocodiles. Alligators, Nile crocodiles and the Indian gharial crocodiles. The pools and the surrounding lawn provide a suitable habitat for them. Spending a relaxing time at the pampering Spa Village, enjoying the 42 degrees celsius thermo-mineral sulfur water pools, is for my money the “hottest” attraction of the region.The depth of the springs in this volcanic region produce the conditions for the hot springs. Spa Village is a unique “green island” and is intended for adults only (ages 16 and up). Looking for a peaceful, quiet, and healthy relaxing day in the middle of a cold winter day? This one’s for you. Hamat Gader is also a beautiful park with the famous thermo-mineral springs and wide pools for the entire family and is considered one of Israel’s most popular family attractions, as the entrance rates are relatively reasonable. However, be advised that the pools are usually very crowded.
We looked for a unique luxury environment friendly accommodations in the southern Golan region and, believe it or not, it was an isolated pampering glamping tent. A one of a kind project of dreamers at the luxury camp lodge Ein Teina. Not far from Givat Yoav, being the nearest town, this an impressive example for ecotourism at its best. It offers 4 imported original South African safari tents, by a local couple and placed in the middle of nature, far away from civilization. The tents are made of high-quality and insulated canvas fabric with a wooden parquet floor inside and are raised above the ground on a floating deck. Each tent offers a double bed, a sofa that opens for a couple, a coffee/tea corner, a small refrigerator, an air conditioner, a ceiling fan and complementary furniture. The private bathroom contains a sink, toilet and an exotic shower on a wooden deck. “Glamping is all about puting the environment and ecology first”, says Noa Benzvi, co-owner of the lodge, with her husband Yotam.. “The location is king, not the luxury facility. Nature at its best location will lead to successful glamping projects. Environmental minded customers are looking to be far away from civilization, served by local people that are committed to put the environment first. This is key for an ecotourism product”, she says. Indeed, the water system and soaps in Ein Teina are ecological. Electricity is supplied by solar panels and even the sewage system is environmentally friendly.
Noa shared with us pictures of the manufacturing and construction periods not so long ago. We joined her excitement during an enjoyable breakfast in our wooden balcony in front of the Golan scenery. Food and drinks are not served in this lodge. Guests are invited to use a communal kitchen and dining area in a temporary large tent. This facility is equipped with refrigerators, cooking equipment and running water.
We chose at twilight to experience the view of the Sea of Galilee sunset and enjoyed Dinner at our real farm to table favorite Ramot’s Moshbutz Fine dining restaurant was as usual – the best. After our dinner experience we drove back down the dirt road to our tent to enjoy a very good night sleep with the heater and air condition working perfectly. Not a single soul was close to us for miles.
An unforgettable south Golan experience.