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Iyon Stream Nature Reserve – And Tanur Waterfall

Iyon Stream Nature Reserve – And Tanur Waterfall

Iyon Stream Nature Reserve

The Tanur waterfall. Iyon Stream Nature Reserve
Tanur waterfall with bottom pool. The fish are clearly visible.

Streams of the North

Iyon Stream Nature Reserve - Getting There

The drive

Ela sat by the wheel as we crossed the Galilee from Haifa at its southwest to the “Panhandle” in the northeast. The farther we went, the more gorgeous the views got, but it was hard to take pictures from the car to do them justice. Some Arab villages looked like what you would expect to see in Turkey or Lebanon – beautifully merged into the high mountains, colorful. 

Arab village viewed from car, Upper GalileeArab village viewed from car. Upper Galilee

From the 85, we eventually merged into Rt. 90 [see my post,  Route 90 and the Israeli driver]

The drive across the Galilee, which always felt dramatic, seemed suprisingly short, but that is because I got used to different distances in the vastness of India.

Life is about making quick choices

Once at the reserve, friendly rangers explained the two routes to us, and the advantages of the longer route. However, we felt intuitively that the day, which was started a bit late, was already getting shorter and hotter. We opted, therefore, for the “elderly ladies” shortie, and it proved to be the right decision taken. We were now able to reach two more visit-worthy reserves: the Snir Stream (Hatsbani)  and Tel Dan

Life is, indeed, about making choices, and there is always the road not taken, or taken “partially”, with the hope to come back…

Iyon Stream Nature Reserve - Figs and Horsemaiden Ferns

Vegetation on way to falls

The road that was taken brought us quickly to a stream, and then to a sunny walkway with a melange of natural dry summer vegetation and some riparian plants.

A bit aways from the sources of water, the landscape resembles the rest of Israel in the summer: 

Prickles in Iyon Reservation, IsraelEntrance to Iyon Stream Nature Reserve. Typical Israeli summer view. Where have all the flowers gone?

Echinops and blackberry at Iyon Stream Nature Reserve, IsraelIn this view, a mixture of more lush riparian vegetation with the everywhere prickles is seen. Echinops (Kipodan) and blackberries predominate. Everything is dry above the “water line”.

Ela enjoying the walk in Iyon stream Nature Reserve, Upper GalileeEla enjoying the walk and the vegetation. Iyon Stream Nature Reserve. 

Nerium Oleander and ripariane vegatation. Iyon Stream Nature Reserve, IsraelNerium Oleander (Harduf), a very common plant used in gardening around Israel, is found here growing naturally, sometimes to magnificent dimensions. 

Lush and rich 

The vegetation got lusher and richer as we reached the stream. A few months ago, this place, like the rest of Israel, was a celebration of flowers of all colors following an unusually rainy winter. We were, of course, told to sit home and gaze at the walls because of the coronavirus. I, on my part, kept defying the orders and walked all around Jerusalem. There was no way with the corona restrictions on travel to make it that far north, though. Alas…

Fig and creepers over water. Iyon Stream Nature Reserve, Israel

Charming corner at Iyon Stream Nature Reserve, Israel Serene corners by the water of the Iyon stream

The brochure also informed us that the reserve is rich with both flora and fauna year round, including several rare birds and plants.

Iyon Stream Nature Reserve - The Tanur Waterfall

There are two main viewpoints over the Tanur Waterfall: the upper and the lower, shown in the pictures and videos attached.

The Tanur, named for “tanura” (a woman’s skirt in Arabic) is the tallest waterfall in Israel. Generally, with few exceptions, streams, which might overflow and fill to capacity in winter and spring, do not last long during our dry summers. This year, the rainy season was exeptional. Had we come in March or April, we would have seen the waterfall in full splendor, but alas – the corona….

The lower access to the fall was more fascinating to me than the upper. We were walking along the stream, which was flowing downhill, when we came across a magnificent turquoise pond filled with fish, all swimming upstream. Crossing a corner, the waterfall emerged into view, revealing itself in all its glory.

           Fish at the bottom of Tanur Waterfall, Iyon stream, Israel 

  Local fish, probably Capoeta damascina, swimming upstream against the current at the bottom of the Tanur Waterfall.

Tanur Waterfall, upper view. Iyon Stream Nature Reserve, IsraelView of the Tanur Waterfall from a high point. Iyon Stream Nature reserve.

In the following video you can watch how the waterfall revealed itself to us as we walked along the pond, watching the fish, and then – voila…! Here it was!

The Iyon Stream

The Iyon Stream itself, like most of the Jordan tributaries, originates in the mountains and valleys of rainier Labanon. The source of the Iyon (also called Ayun) is not far from the border, a mere seven kilometers north of Metula in the Galilee Panhandle. It is fed by springs and mountain drainage – rain water and snow melt.

During the summer, Lebanese farmers use the water for irrigation, and the stream often gets dry. In rainy winters, the flow can be very impressive and the waterfalls bulk up.

The Northern Streams

From the Iyon Nature Reserve we travelled 8 km to the lush and watery park of the Snir Stream, where people walk in the water and dip in pools and ponds, and from there yet another 6 km to Tel Dan Nature Reserve, which hosts the biggest of the streams feeding the Jordan River. Everything was very accessible.

                    Ela water walking the Snir Stream. Northern Israel    My Ela by the Atlantic Pistachia tree (ela in Hebrew). Tel Dan Reserve

My daughter, Ela, is wading the Snir Stream (Left) and posing by an ancient  Pistachia tree (Ela in Heberew) at Tel Dan

This post belongs in a post series about Israeli Nature Reserves and Parks, under the general category of  Israel’s Best at Planet’s Daughter Website.

This is an ongoing project currently under construction. 

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