March 13, 2023

Safety measures for hiking in Israel

#hiking #israel

Israel is a country filled with stunning natural landscapes, from the beaches along the Mediterranean to the deserts of the Negev and the mountains of the Golan. Hiking is a popular activity in Israel, with many national parks, nature reserves, and trails maintained by Israel Parks and Nature Authority, the Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature and the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). However, it's important to take safety precautions when hiking in Israel, particularly due to the country's warm and dry climate.

Kafarnaum hiking

Kafarnaum, the See of Galilee with the Golan Heights in the background

One of the most crucial safety measures to keep in mind when hiking in Israel is staying hydrated. It's easy to become dehydrated in Israel's hot and dry weather, even if you don't feel particularly thirsty. To avoid this, hikers should carry at least three litres of drinking water with them, and drink regularly throughout their hike. While it may mean more bathroom breaks along the way, staying properly hydrated is essential for avoiding heat exhaustion and other health problems.

Another important safety measure is protecting yourself from the sun. Hikers should wear a hat, headscarf, or other type of head covering to shield their head, face and neck from the sun's rays, and wear a shirt with long sleeves to protect their arms and torso. While sunscreen can provide some additional protection, it's important to remember that hiking is not the same as sunbathing at the beach - too much exposure to the sun can lead to serious health problems. In addition, hikers should also carry a map of the area they're hiking in, and make sure to stay on marked trails to avoid getting lost or wandering into dangerous areas.

In some areas of Israel, particularly in the Golan and certain parts of the Jordan Valley, there are active minefields left over from past conflicts. These areas are clearly marked with yellow signs and red triangles, and hikers should avoid climbing over fences or wandering off marked trails to avoid accidentally stumbling into a dangerous area. It's also a good idea to make sure your cellphone is fully charged before setting out on a hike, and be aware that there may be areas where you won't have a signal.

Another important safety measure for hiking in Israel is wearing appropriate footwear. While it may be tempting to wear sandals or flip-flops, these types of shoes are not suitable for hiking in the country's rugged terrain. Hikers should wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes with good traction to help them navigate rocky trails and uneven terrain. Wearing the proper shoes can also help prevent slips, trips, and falls, reducing the risk of injury while hiking. If you are planning some serious multi day hikes, it might be a good idea to invest in a good pair of hiking shoes or boots before embarking on a hike in Israel. While it may be tempting to prioritize style over function, it's important to remember that your safety should always come first when hiking in the great outdoors.

hiking in Israel

Leftovers of the town of Migdal and Mount Arbel in the background.

Before setting out on a hike, it's important to do your homework and plan ahead. This means reviewing your route, identifying landmarks to help you navigate, and writing down phone numbers for local emergency call centres. It's also a good idea to check the weather forecast before setting out, and to speak with others who have recently hiked the same path to get a sense of any potential dangers or challenges.

Overall, hiking in Israel can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, as long as you take the proper safety precautions. By staying hydrated, protecting yourself from the sun, staying on marked trails, and doing your homework ahead of time, you can enjoy all the natural beauty that Israel has to offer while staying safe and healthy.


David Ha'ivri is a professional tour guide based in Jerusalem, Israel. He has been guiding visitors to Israel for over 20 years, providing unique and informative tours of the country's beautiful nature trails, its historical and religious sites. David is known for his passionate and engaging tours, which provide visitors with a deeper understanding of Israel's rich history and complex political landscape.


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