View of wetland and the Galilee mountains in the Hula Nature Reserve, northern Israel.

© RnDmS/Shutterstock

Hula Nature Reserve

Top choice in Upper Galilee & Golan

Migrating birds flock to the wetlands of Israel’s first nature reserve, founded in 1964. More than 200 species of waterfowl mingle happily with cormorants, herons, pelicans, storks and cranes, while water buffalo (jamoose) roam certain areas of the reserve, their grazing important to the preservation of open meadows. The circular, 1.5km-long Swamp Trail, which passes birdwatching hides and an observation tower, is wheelchair accessible.

The visitors centre screens an excellent, 40-minute 3D film (the English version lasts 15 minutes) on bird migration and has informative dioramas on Hula wildlife (Hebrew signage only). In the shallow lake, you may spot fur, shells and fins in addition to feathers – these will be attached to nutrias, otters, swamp turtles, and catfish weighting up to 20kg. Unlike the rest of Israel, the Hula's vegetation is at its greenest in the summer. Around sunset in winter, you can see birds returning from their daytime feeding. Renting binoculars costs 10NIS.

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