Travelers arrive at Ein Afek National Park. They pay the entrance fee and continue to the parking lot. Vegetation, KAKAL (Jewish National Fund) picnic tables, restrooms, plenty of pleasant corners; what is this place? It is the heart of the Acre Valley (Zevulun valley) located East of Kiriyat Bialik. Sounds urban, doesn’t it? Well, in fact it is not. It is nature at its best. One could even say ‘pristine nature’ if the site was not so guarded, maintained and adapted for visitors’ enjoyment.
Ein Afek preserves the landscapes that characterized the entire area in the past, before our pioneers drained the swamps and before the water of the Na’aman aquifer were pumped at a rate higher than that allowing rain water production to refill it.
Ein Afek National Park, like its bigger “sister” the Hula (catfish, water turtles, birds and swamp vegetation, water and banks) constitutes a very good demonstration of the changes this area endured; a loop-route, about one kilometer long, suitable for the entire family and accompanied by a convenient brochure, will take travelers on a journey among springs and natural water pools. The rail-less wooden bridges that hikers go across will help them become one with the view. Indeed, the feeling is different yet good; however, travelers must make sure their children are close by in the relevant walking sections. During the summer, visitors will do well to arrive in the early hours – or alternatively at the end of the day. A tip: in autumn, fall and spring visitors can encounter here the largest populations of birds. Hopefully they canobserve the Jamus – a water buffalo that was successfully re-introduced into the area – during all seasons.
During the tour of Ein-Afek, we recommend visiting the flourmill located here, featuring: an audio-visual presentation, agricultural tools display and above all (pun intended) a surprising observation of the whole area. The old mill was renovated, enlarged and fortified by the Crusaders, who used it to mill their grain, using water power, as well as a fortified post. Like the entire area (primarily old Acre) the mill was abandoned with the fall of the Crusader Kingdom and was rehabilitated only 600 years later by the Ottoman appointed governor of Acre and the North, Ahmed al-Jazzar.
At the southern end of the reservation there is a mound known as Tel-Afek – a remnant of an old settlement. At the same time visitors are impressed with the various and eccentric cultures that inhabited this settlement during the past 5,000 (!) years (and with all due respect) – we recommend they pay attention to the surrounding blossom as well. It is after all a nature reserve, is it not?
activities offered here are seasonal: Nature Protection week; Humid Habitats’ Day; activity related to the Massive Kite Sleep; Bird Ringing