by Michal Anosh
Michal Anosh is a TV producer/writer who lives in Had Nes....and loves it.
Whether you plan on visiting one of the many Jewish or Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee, which are
associated with the Bible, (such as Bethsaida, Chorazin, Kursi, or Capernaum), Had Nes can serve as wonderful base for your explorations.
If peace and quiet, a fabulous view, - all in the heart of nature are your idea of a great get-away, come and join us in Had Nes, a tiny village on the north end of the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee. Had Nes means “One Miracle” and when you see the view, you’ll know what we mean. Actually, the name is comprised of the first letters of former settlements in the Sinai (Haruvit, Dikla and Neot Sinai). Despite its name, none of the former Sinai settlers ended up here. Had Nes is located just up the hill from Park Ha'Yarden (Jordan Park) and sits right on the edge of the Yehudiya Nature Reserve.
Had Nes is a sleepy and quiet village that features a beautifully landscaped promenade - “tayelet nofit”, which will take your breath away. Walk or drive along this promenade and enjoy the splendor of the Golan Heights rising up on the east, an open view of the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee to the south, straight down to the Jordan Valley. Slightly to the west, Tiberias appears and vanishes in the moody mists and clouds that sweep over the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee during the day, and it twinkles like stars across the water by night. Beside it, the Arbel cliffs (Horns of Hittin) spike up against the sky, often highlighted by shafts of sunlight. To the west the land slopes up and up to
Sefad (pronounced Tsfat) – and even on a snowy winter day you can enjoy a frosty view of a snow-capped peak while you laze about in your T-shirt and shorts in the Had Nes heat. Yes, weather-wise it’s a bit like Eilat here and a bit like Tiberias – though usually not humid, it is almost always warm and in summer, very hot.
Aside from coming to Had Nes to just ‘chill out’ – you can enjoy local adventures, sites and attractions. The cleanest Kinneret beaches are located on the north end, just a few minutes down the hill; numerous hiking routes through the adjacent Yehudiya Nature Reserve will get you in shape. If you’re not up for a big hike, just stroll down the hill to see the local dolmans, or drive your car partway to “Brechat HaMeshushim” (The Hexagons Pool). There’s a brand new road that allows closer access – just remember to start out early in the day and take water along. It gets hot on the Heights.
Families will love the waterways in Park HaYarden. It’s a perfect picnic spot with lots of room for the kids to run and wonderful little streams and pools to splash in (no lifeguard – take
your own precautions!). Otherwise, you can join the line-ups at the popular Luna Gal (water park), about 15 minutes south on the east side of the Kinneret.
Abu Kayak offers river rafting year round in the Park and inside Had Nes you can book jeep tours; horseback rides or guided tours of the area with local professionals (ask your zimmer owners for details).
The perfect summer or fall hike for real nature-lovers is a stroll in the nearby Zacki River – an ankle-to-knee deep walk in the water under cascading foliage – aahhhhh! If you’re hungry
after your hike – stop at Bustan Meshushim at Yehudiya Junction (Tzomet Yehudiya) – and savor the home-made best of Shoshi and Benny Yosef (Kosher, no certificate).
History buffs will enjoy wandering the archeological dig at Bethsaida, just down the hill from Had Nes. You can trek by car to nearby Gamla (where there is also a fantastic opportunity to watch the eagles from the new look-out), or to the Talmudic Park in Katzrin…or even cooler, the Golan Archeological Museum in Katzrin.
Katzrin is just 15 minutes away from Had Nes and features many tourist attractions including the 3-screen Golan Presentation, giving you a high-flying helicopter point of view of the Golan and a
quick historical and industrial overview. Just down the road in the Katzrin Industrial Park, the Golan Wineries offers tours and tasting! (Call ahead for details).
In town, you can shop in the local mall, visit the Doll Museum and various souvenir shops, conduct banking and enjoy the Kosher (certificate) dairy restaurant – Blue Berries, or the local real Yemenite restaurant (with the best hilbeh, a Yemenite fenugreek sauce, I’ve ever tasted). If you want to know more about the Golan, the Golan Residents Committee Information Center can gives you all you need from history to maps of the area and there is also a Golan Tourism Center in the mall just down from Bank Leumi.
If you’re not up for swimming in the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee, the Katzrin Country Club offers single admissions and features beautiful outdoor and indoor swimming pools, Jacuzzi, sauna and weight room. And of course mountain-bikers are more than welcome to the area – the Golan Tourism Information Center has more details.
If you feel like a movie, there’s always the famous Beit Gabriel at Zemach Junction – you get to enjoy the breath-taking 30-minute drive south around the Kinneret.
Had Nes is about a 30 minute drive to Tiberias, Rosh Pina, 40 minutes to Karmiel, Zefat, Kiryat Shmona and Mount Bental (with its famous ‘Coffee Annan’ overlooking Syria).
For the vacationer, Had Nes residents offer about 100 ‘zimmers’ (B&B’s) – most of them extremely well designed and set on beautifully landscaped lawns with patios and barbeques. Most units sleep between 4 to 6 people and some B&B owners have up to 8 units – so large families or groups of friends can book in together. Most of the B&B's have complete kitchenette facilities, microwave, fridge, hot plate or stove with an assortment of dishes; air-conditioning, satellite TV, and some have Jacuzzis. Some units are stand-alone log cabins – a few are high-end luxury cabins - and some have landscaped streams flowing through the yard. There are also economy B&B's where the rooms are clean and simple – and you still get the same fabulous view and peaceful feeling… for less. Most of the B&B also offer breakfast, for an additional charge.
Had Nes features a well-stocked grocery store with everything (call ahead to check on closing hours if you are arriving before Shabbat). And in town the Succah Restaurant operates a few days
a week from a real succah overlooking the nature reserve.
Most people come here for the peace and quiet – the wild life, not the night life. Indeed, if you’re an early riser, you can usually walk the ring road and see deer; rock rabbits and wild pigs wandering the nature reserve (bring your camera!). In the afternoon you’ll see eagles and hawks soaring overhead – and in the migratory season you’ll see thousands of cranes or storks circling high above.
At night, sometimes a lonely coyote’s howl reminds you that despite your microwave, your satellite TV and Jacuzzi, you’re really in the heart of nature. And isn’t it beautiful?
Directions: To get to Had Nes, drive to Tzomet Golani. This is about 15 km. west of Tiberias. Though you can go through Tiberias to get to Had Nes, the quickest way is go north on Highway 65 at Tzomet Golani. You'll drive for about 15 km. until you see the signs for Migadl. Turn right (east) at the T-intersection to Migdal (before the village of Maghar). Follow this road down to the T-intersection at the Kinneret and turn left on Highway 90. Follow this road to the turn-off for Kfar Nachum (about 6 km) and turn right onto Highway 87. This winding road goes around the lake and over the Jordan River at Arik Bridge (Gesher Arik). About 1 km. after Arik Bridge, look for the signs and turn left onto Highway 888. Had Nes is 3 km. up the hill and you will pass the entrance to Jordan Park and Beit Zaida on the way up.
Note: In the high season, you must book ahead - zimmers are always full. In the off-season, you can take your chances.