An alternative to Sachne – Gan HeShelosha (if you are looking for a refreshing dip) is Nahal HaKibbutzim about five or ten minutes drive away. It is a water hike located on Beit Shean valley in Emek HaMaayanot. It’s one of the best-known water hikes in the country, although the place actually has more water than hiking trails. The trail leads through tall grasses and reeds to the deep river. You have to swim through it — almost no hiking involved whatsoever.
It gets its water from two separate natural springs, and the water stays at crisp 24 degrees Celsius (or 75 degrees Fahrenheit) all year long! So if you’ve been in the Jordanian valley during the scorching summer days, you know where to go for a cool and refreshing dip!
It’s a great way to chill, escape the summer heat, and have a unique outdoor experience for friends and family. There is no admission charge.
Nahal HaKibbutzim is also accessible by car, if you prefer to forego the ground hike and just go straight into the water. In many places, the water is no deeper than an average adult person’s chest. But if you have smaller children, it is advised that you should bring tubes, since the water can be deep in some areas.
The water walk itself takes just about two hours, so it’s not too long. It ends at the lovely “Officers Pool,” which was constructed during the British Mandate.
Here at Nahal HaKibbutzim, you can swim in the natural stream. It is uncontrolled so it tends to be pretty busy; and watching the goings-on can be nearly as entertaining as the incredibly refreshing swim. This is the fresh-water equivalent of a public beach rather than a hotel pool. So if you like creature comforts and organised swimming, this is not the place for you.
Think of a water park with a slow-moving (and real) river. The depth varies depending on the area, from two feet to six feet.
If you are a little more adventurous, move off from the pools (that are often mobbed) – there is some deeper water a bit further along and a few places where the stream has been diverted through culverts (large concrete tubes under roadways) resulting in some very fast water slides. The water pipes-cum-water slides deliver the most adrenaline-inducing fun. Children never seem to get enough of those slides — they would climb up out of the water and slide through these large water tubes all over again.
It is recommended that you bring along some rubber rings or inner tubes. There are no life guards and some parts are definitely tricky for smaller children and those who can’t swim too well. Parental caution is definitely required.
It is located on Road 669