Located on the northern edge of Israel, Golan Heights is favorite spot to visit for locals and travelers alike. The area’s tranquil pastoral setting and wealth of activities make it a pleasant respite from urban life in Israel, and its historical importance makes it a draw for those who are looking to experience Israeli culture.
While there are many ways to explore Golan Heights, few offer the unique experience of a Jeep tour. A Jeep can take you into hidden corners you can’t get to any other way, and give you a truly one-of-a-kind perspective on the area. Trek through shallow waters, across the desert, and over sandy beaches; drive up to the peak of Mount Bental for a bird’s-eye view of the breathtaking surroundings; stop to take a leisurely hike through the woods, pick berries and other fruit from local orchards, or watch herds of deer as they graze on the plains; or, watch the sun set over the mountains, then take an evening drive in the cool air.
There are a number of guides in the Golan Heights area who lead Jeep tours, but they are not all created equal. The best guides book up weeks or even months in advance, so it is a good idea to research your options and book a guide ahead of time. Guides are often flexible and open to the kind of tour you want to take, so let them know what you would like to see, and be sure to ask for their recommendations.
From scenic mountain views, to flower-covered pastures, to ancient historic sites, there is plenty to explore in Golan Heights. There are hills to climb, trails to hike and streams to swim in. You can be a cowboy for a day, indulge in a ski adventure, take a wine tour, or sample great local restaurants.
Those interested in seeing Israel’s religious heritage sites may wish to visit Banias or Gamla. Banias is the site of ancient Caesarea Philippi, where in the book of Matthew Jesus famously confronted his disciples about who they thought he was. Gamla is the site of a 2nd-century Jewish city whose inhabitants leapt to their deaths rather than succumb to Roman capture. The ruins of the city walls and the central synagogue can still be seen.
Depending on what you want to see and how much time you have, tours can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Jeeps can typically accommodate up to seven people, so you can go with a group, have a private tour, or join a small group that is already going.
Touring by Jeep is exciting, but keep in mind that the terrain is uneven and the ride can be bumpy. While most tours welcome families, small children may do best on another type of tour.
David Ben Sira. A passionate traveller, full time tour guide at Kenes Tours and part time history teacher.