The Gamla Nature Reserve, set high in the Golan Heights of Northern Israel is a magical place where eagles nest, archaeological ruins lie, and the quaint and stunning setting, including the breathtaking view down towards the Sea of Galilee are inspirational! Whether you have half an hour in a hectic itinerary or can spare an entire day, the Gamla Nature Reserve is somewhere for lovers of nature, history, and hiking.
Vultures at Gamla
Gamla Eagle by asafantman, on Flickr
The main attraction of Gamla is the huge vultures it is home to. From the main entrance, a 600 yard Vulture Trail leads to a bird watching post which sits right on the cliff-face. Gamla Nature Reserve is home to about 80 vultures which are on average ten feet in length! Even far in the distance, the size of these birds makes them highly visible. As they soar through the air, don’t be surprised if, as they fly overhead, they cast a huge shadow over your heads, and as they look down, you might even catch sight of the whites of their eyes.
Ancient Gamla by vad_levin, on Flickr
From the Vulture Trail you will also get a sight of the spectacular Mount Gamla. You can cross to it from the bird watching site – following signs to the “ancient path”, a hiking trail which takes about 90 minutes to cross (it is only about 1 hour to 1 and a half hours return but is windy and steep.) For those who do venture across, ancient Mount Gamla is a site of historic importance with a similar tale to tell as Masada, aside the Dead Sea. A battle against the Romans and many people committed mass suicide to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy.
The Gamla waterfall, the highest in Israel by Nir Nussbaum, on Flickr
From the entrance of Gamla, a 90 minute trail (45 minutes each way) leads to the Gamla Waterfall, passing ancient dolmans – stone structures which are shaped like tables, but nobody is sure of why. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll be struck with what is the tallest flowing waterfall in Israel – at 170 feet.
Visiting Gamla Nature Reserve
April to September: 8 A.M.–5 P.M.
October to March: 8 A.M.–4 P.M.
Last entry to site one hour before above closing hour.