Over all these rises the tall Mt. Hermon which inspired the name of this place, as is written in Psalm 133, v. 3: "Like the dew of Hermon, that comes down upon the mountains of Zion". The place is attractive to lovers of water sites and people who want a comfortable place to stay in the bosom of nature. Nature lovers will also find great interest in Horshat Tal. There is a grove of oak trees in the reserve where Mount Tabor oaks (Quercus ithaburensis) grow to impressive sizes. Nearby is the Orchids Reserve, presenting a rare range of types of orchid that exist nowhere else in Israel.
Details of the Points of Interest:
Horshat Tal was declared a National Park in 1968. The Horshat Tal Nature Reserve containing the Oak Tree Grove was declared in 1968.
Reasons for the Declaration:
Location in Israel: Horshat Tal is located to the north of the Hula Valley, east of and adjacent to Kibbutz HaGoshrim.
Part of the reserve is dedicated to the raising of a breeding nucleus of Mesopotamian fallow deer, a large herbivore that became extinct in Israel and has now been returned. The original breeding nucleus of this rare large deer lives in the Carmel "Hay Bar", and some individuals from there have even been released into the wild. At Horshat Tal the Nature and Parks Authority maintains an additional herd of Mesopotamian fallow deer as back-up for nature and also as a method of restraining the vegetation in the region.Otters have been observed in the brooks of Horshat Tal in the past. Otters are very rare mammals in Israel, they are 60 cm long and covered with brown fur. They spend their time in mainly the water, and feed on fish and other species it finds in the water.At Horshat Tal there is a population of Liometopum microcephalum - a rare species of ant existing in Israel only in Horshat Tal and the Banias region. It is a small ant, between 4 and 6 cm long, with a dark-brown body. A prominent characteristic is the velvety layer of hairs on its abdomen. The ant is active during the day, mainly on oak trees, but also on plane trees and willows. Liometopum microcephalum preys on insects and reptiles that live on trees, thus protecting the trees from pests. The ant builds its nest in tree hollows of sawdust it collects from the tunnels left by beetle larvae.Many species of birds find their way to Horshat Tal, among them the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), the little egret (Egretta garzetta), the spur-winged lapwing (Vanellus spinosus), the European bee-eater (Merops apiaster), the hooded crow (Corvus cornix), and the black kite.
Horshat Tal boasts a range of habitats rich in unique plant species:
The oak tree grove is all that remains of a large forest that covered the Hula Valley in the past. The place is known to the local inhabitants as Sejerat al Ashara (the Grove of the Ten). It is assumed that the trees were preserved in the place due to their sanctity and their proximity to the nearby grave of Sheikh Ali.A local legend tells of ten horse-riders of the "aṣ-ṣaḥābah" (the first disciples or companions who recognized Muhammad as a prophet) passed by the place. They were tired from their journey but found not even one tree to give them shade. They jammed their staffs into the ground and tied their horses to them. When they awoke in the morning they discovered to their surprise that their staffs had turned into large trees. At the western side of the reserve, burial caves cut into the rock were discovered, with impressive findings of glass vessels from the Byzantine period. These objects are displayed in the Glass Hall at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.In Horshat Tal there are remains of the fish ponds that were operated by Kibbutz Dafna until the 70s. In order to create the pools, presently 0.5 to 2 meters deep, the original infrastructure of the rock was removed. The site is crisscrossed by channels, both natural and man-made.
Two streams - the Horshat Tal stream and the She'ar Yashuv stream - define the reserve from the north, west and south. The eastern side borders on Road 918 leading to Kfar Sold. Horshat Tal lies on level ground sloping slightly southwards. The area is covered in hard limestone crusts developing on travertine bedrock. The travertine was created from limestone that was dissolved by the waters of the springs and deposited over the area. Apparently, water used to well up in various places in the region, but was sealed off from time to time. This phenomenon can also be observed in the present. The Holy Spring, the Dry Spring and the Fig Spring flowed in the 70s, but have not been seen since.Human intervention can be seen on the crust plains, in the form of quarrying, dumping waste, erecting bee hives and laying roads. The soil is similar in character to Rendzina. It is a light brownish-gray, and its depth varies from one place to another. Due to human intervention, no clear soil profile can be seen today and the transition from soil to bed-rock is not gradual but sharp.
The pools and streams in Horshat Tal are fed by the waters of Nahal Dan. The water arrives via Nahal Tal, a stream that splits off from the Nahal Dan north of Kibbutz Dafna. It may be that Nahal Tal is nothing but an ancient artificial channel from the Byzantine era (5th century BC), which served to transfer water for irrigation. Nahal Tal is a declared nature reserve, which continues a sequence of nature reserves up to Road 99. Nahal Tal drains an area of only one square kilometer. It collects run-off and drainage water from the fields and plantations close to it in the area west of Kibbutz Dafna, as well as from the part of Road 99 close to Horshat Tal. Rain water collected within the national park drains into streams that flow into the central channel of Nahal Tal, which continues from Horshat Tal southward and returns to Nahal Dan.The capacity of Nahal Tal is at least 1,260 cu.m./hr.
How to get there:By Road 99 (north-east of Kiryat Shmona), about 5 kms east of HaMetsudot Junction.
Recommended season:All year round (bathing in summer, nature and wild-life during rest of year)
Insist on:A tour among the oaks.
What else is there?Guest rooms, bungalows, showers, picnic areas, cafeteria, rescue services
The reserve is closed about one hour before the times given below:
Summer Time (July-August):Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat: 08:00 - 17:00Fridays and eves of religious festivals: 08:00 - 16:00
winter Time:Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat: 08:00 - 16:00Fridays and eves of religious festivals: 08:00 - 15:00
On the eves of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Pesach: 08:00 - 13:00
14:00 - 23:00 Departure time by 12:00 the next day (beyond that time 50% extra payment will be charged up to 18:00).The camping area is active only between the day after the first night of the Pesach festival and the end of the Succot festival.Night camping for groups after the Succot festival - requires prior coordination.
Telephones: 04-6942440, 04-6942360
Fax: 04-695-9360e-mail: email@example.com
Single: Adults NIS 39; Children (up to age 14): NIS 24; Students: NIS 33Nature and Parks Authority Subscribers: NIS 20Group (over 30 persons): Adults: NIS 35; Children (up to age 14): NIS 22
Open-air camping with your own equipment:Adults: NIS 63; Chldren (aged 3-12) NIS 53Subscribers: Adults NIS 48; Children (aged 3-12): NIS 43Students (groups of over 100 students): NIS 50Mattresses are not available for rental.
Bungalows/guest rooms/wooden huts:Bungalow (4 persons) NIS 300 per nightBungalow Shabbat / religious festival): NIS 400 per night (minimum 2 nights)Guest rooms (4 persons): NIS 450 per nightGuest rooms Shabbat / religious festival): NIS 650 per night (minimum 2 nights)Wooden huts - weekdays: NIS 700 per nightWooden huts - Shabbat / religious festival): NIS 1,000 per night (minimum 2 nights)
Payment for entry into night camping is from 14:00 to 12:00 noon the next dayBefore 14:00 and after 12:00 noon - 50% extra will be charged.
The water slides will not be in operation until further noticeThe entry of dogs is forbidden!It is forbidden to bring in glass bottles and generators.