The Zaki Hike
Duration: 2 hours
Level: Easy – recommended for families with children ages 6 and up
Length: 3.5 km
Note: Must be a swimmer
There is no better way to cool off from a stiflingly hot Israeli
summer than to go on a water hike. And the Zaki hike is just that –
one practically swims it.
How To Get There
From Zefat, take Highway 90 south towards Tiberias.
Turn left on Highway 87, winding down towards the Kinnereth. Look for
Highway 888 on your left. As soon as you see this, it is your cue to
make your first right. The nature reserve is sign posted.
Drive down a dirt path until you see a parking lot. Put on some sun
screen, load up with drinking water and start walking, following the
trail blazes. It is best to wear a bathing suit and water shoes. Do
not bring anything that can’t get wet – or place these items in
If you get there early in the morning, you will have this tropical
oasis to yourself. With the early morning light streaming in the trees
and the sound of the gurgling water, you will feel as if you had
entered Gan Eden. And if you go later on, you will be surrounded by
shrieking, romping and splashing hikers – everyone is very
enthusiastic on this hike!
About The Hike
Following the trail blazes, you will walk along a dried up riverbed
and past groves of mangoes. The path will narrow and direct you right
into the water. Stepping under thick lush trees, you will feel as if
you had entered a paradise. The water feels cool and refreshing and
the river is shaded by a thick canopy of bamboo, powdery pink oleander
and wild figs.
Entering the water is refreshing, and with each step, you will go a
little deeper. It is a bit tricky to navigate across the rocks as they
are hidden under the water, so take your time. Hiking with small children
may be a bit difficult as the rocks are craggy and slippery in parts.
The hike is best accomplished by children aged six and up who are swimmers.
At one point, the river widens and deepens, giving you no choice but to
turn this walk into a swim, backpack and all. The water is welcoming
and refreshing. There are even blazes along these pools. The hike
continues in this way, alternating from rocky riverbed to natural
swimming pools. A large pool marks the end.
We did not see any blazes when we walked onto dry land, so we turned
right and followed a path parallel to the water that ran beside mango
orchards. Keeping to the right, we made it straight back to our parked
car within 20 minutes and were conveniently air dried by the
time we arrived.