Beautiful Nature Reserves Found Along the Coast of Israel

August 13th 2018

There are many beautiful nature reserves to be found right across Israel. Some of the most interesting are those located along the ancient coastline. Israel – and indeed the Jewish people – have a long tradition of nurturing and caring for the natural world and surrounding ecosystems. This is evident in how well the natural parks and reserves on the coast of Israel are maintained.

A number of reserves sprung up during Israel’s growth as a modern nation, when swamps were drained and the land made fertile for agriculture. Old culturally significant ruins were discovered and natural systems were rehabilitated. Today, in many of these coastal reserves are to be found a diverse range of flora and fauna, together with fascinating insights into our human past.

Here are some of our favorite nature reserves found along the coast of Israel, all of which contain walking trails accessible to the public.

Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

The Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve and Wildlife Preserve is situated within the incredibly beautiful Carmel Mountain National Park, just south of the northern city of Haifa. The reserve was established in the 1960s as a place to breed and restore previously existing native wildlife to Mount Carmel.

The reintroduced wildlife includes animals and plants that became endangered or extinct due to hunting, deforestation, and war. Visitors to the 1,500-acre reserve will be able to see Persian fallow deers, Mountain gazelles, Armenian wild sheep, falcons, night owls, and Egyptian vultures, among others.

Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve

Located on the western edge of the Carmel Mountain National Park, the Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve is famous for its four caves in which were found prehistoric human remains. The caverns – listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – can be accessed via hiking trails and contain fascinating information about the archeological artefacts found within.

A visitor center onsite provides further insights about the caves and the history of the reserve. From the park’s mountain ridges, you get to also enjoy stunning views across the reserve and the nearby Mediterranean Sea.

En Afek Nature Reserve

It’s easy to picture Israel as a dry country due to its location on the western edge of the Middle East. Yet as the En Afek Nature Reserve proves, with its beautiful wetlands, Israel actually has quite a diverse geography.

The En Afeq Nature Reserve is located close to Haifa and is renowned for its waterfowl (incl. pelicans, cranes, grey herons, and pygmy cormorants) and wide range of aquatic plants. There are also some water buffalo to be spotted as well as catfishes in the water.

Also in the reserve are to be found the ruins of the ancient biblical town of Tel Afek and a two-story fortress from the Crusader-era. Today, the fortress hosts an informative audiovisual presentation of the wildlife within the reserve.

Taninim Nature Reserve

The Taninim Nature Reserve is named after the crocodiles that once roamed the nearby Kebara swamps. The Nahal Taninim river that flows through the reserve is considered to be the last of Israel’s clean coastal streams of water. It’s home to an abundance of wildlife including turtles, songbirds, beautiful yellow waterlilies, and numerous species of birds and fish.

Also within the reserve, which is situated just south of Zichron Yaakov, are the remains of a Roman-era dam, which was used to collect water from the ‘Crocodile Stream’. During the later Byzantine period, the dam was used to operate a series of flour mills.

There are four different walking trails to be enjoyed in the reserve and are suitable for all ages.