Rosh Hanikra is a cliff located on the Israel-Lebanon border, in which impressive grottoes and caves were created, through the combined effect of the karst-forming dissolution of the limestone bedrock and of the of the salt-water waves of the sea.
The cliff descends steeply into the sea, where the waves pound against the rock throughout the seasons, and particularly in stormy weather. Over the years, these waves created notches in the hard rock, which intersected with the karst-formed grottoes, which began when rainwater penetrated through the layers of limestone. The limestone dissolved and underground caves formed at sea level. The meeting of the karst-formed caves and the notches that produced rifts in the bedrock created the unusual grottoes, where the waves of the sea come rushing in and repeatedly break against the rock.
The descent to the grottoes is via a cable car that leaves from the Visitors Center, located at the entrance to the site. From this vantage point, you can look southward along the coast, with a view of Achziv Beach nearby, and all the way to Haifa Bay and the Carmel mountain range. Here too, you can see the four tiny islands, remnants of the ancient coastline, which was located several meters west of the current coastline.
Looking towards the West, you are likely to see several Israeli ships guarding the naval border with Lebanon. In the past, this border was a point of vulnerability, as terrorists managed to penetrate from Lebanon into Israel, from where they proceeded to conduct terror attacks in various locations throughout the country. Continuing up the road from the entrance to the Visitors Center you can walk all the way up to the fence that marks the western border between Israel and Lebanon. Due to the hostile relations between the two countries, the border is closed to civilians. Only UN soldiers manning the demilitarized zone that runs from West to East, which is intended to keep members of the Shiite Hezbollah organization at a safe distance, are allowed to cross the border at this site.
A short ride in the cable car takes you to the area of the grottoes; however, it’s a good idea to stop first to see the audiovisual presentation, which explains the geological process by which the grottoes were created, describes the unique flora and fauna of this area, and provides a historical background of the border site. The presentation is located in one of the two tunnels that were dug at the command of the British Mandate, which controlled all of Israel prior to the foundation of the State, in 1948. The tunnels were intended for commercial railway transportation from Lebanon, along the coast and all the way to Egypt.
A 400 meter walkway that was dug in the rock takes you through to the impressive grottoes, where the constant and powerful sound of the waves accompanies your exploration. As you exit the grottoes, notice the elephant-like shape of the white Cliffside, eroded by the sea.