A day trip to HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve is a preservation of a rocky shore; an almost extinct landscape in Israel. The 4km circular walking path along HaBonim beach introduces us to a rich world of bays, sea caves, and marine flora and fauna.

We will enter the reserve through the nearby HaBonim settlement, to which we get from highway 4 – north of Fureidis intersection,not far from Haifa (20 minutes to the north). Red markings will guide us from the parking lot toward the sand dunes. The origin of the sand in Israeli beaches is the mountains of Africa, traveling via the Nile River. Sand dunes with the addition of limestone and minerals created the limestone ridges that form the reserve. Israel’s coastal plain is decorated with limestone ridges that gradually diminish as you continue north. These ridges are evidence of the different levels of the Mediterranean Sea in the past.

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

From the top of the dune, we will be able to see the spectacular bathing beach north of us, in which visitors can stay the night, set up tents, and enjoy all the services a vacationer requires: showers, dressing rooms, toilets and a food court. We will continue towards the beach and arrive at the seashell bay. The crashing waves carved into the limestone ridge and created a small bay, where millions of seashells sank many years ago, thus the name “the seashell bay”. West of the small bay, the waves created some sort of flat tables, on which you can find, during low tide, a unique world of marine flora such as algae, sea anemones, and many sea animals such as crabs, fish, squids and more.

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

From here we will climb towards the highest vantage point on the ridge, surrounded by a circle of stones, from which you can view the reserve and the entire area, including an additional bathing beach called “Dor Beach”, south of the reserve. From here we’ll continue to walk and descend towards the blue grotto; a cave created from the erosion of the limestone ridge by sea waves. The best times to view the blue color in the cave’s water are early morning hours and sunset.

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

We’ll continue on our way and walk to the eastern path, which will lead us all the way back to the parking lot. On the way we will pass by typical and unique coastal flora (that is gradually disappearing from the Israeli landscape), such as the sea daffodil and the sea fennel. These plants face strong winds and salty sea sprays by sprawling over an area and by growing small fleshy leaves.

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

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HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve

 

By Nili Hess Ashkenazi

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