Hamat Gader (or literally The Hot Springs on the Fence or in its Arabic name “El Hama”) is a hot springs and resort location established in the Roman age, making it the oldest spa complex in Israel. It is tucked away under the Sea of Galilee and located in the Yarmouk River valley, next to the Jordanian border, and about 10 kilometers from the tripoint of Israel, Jordan, and Syria.
The geographical location of Hamat Gader — in a valley surrounded by mountains about ten minutes from the Sea of Galilee and in the southern portion of the Golan Heights — provides it with hot thermal water that gushes out of the ground, at 600 cubic meters per hour at 42 to 50 degrees Celsius. Typical of a hot spring water, the waters at Hamat Gader is known for its therapeutic benefits.
Based on four hot mineral water springs, the site provides modern facilities for bathing and a spa. In the site you will find three main pools of water in different temperatures, all fed from fresh natural flowing water. A fully equipped modern spa hotel is located inside the resort and allows high quality service at a higher price.
Around the main spring pool area are some places to eat, including an upscale Siam restaurant. Other amenities include a gift shop (where customers can even buy swimming outfits), a massager parlor, and a hotel.
Aside from bathing in the hot springs, you will also get a piece of history at Hamat Gader. Don’t miss the ruins of the Roman baths, they are very well preserved and provide a glimpse into the past in the special uncommon black basalt stone. The antique site includes a remainder of the Jewish settlement in the form of a synagogue (but the most beautiful Mosaic was reconstructed in the High court in Jerusalem).
You can also enjoy the site of the mosque that was renovated lately and get a feeling of the Ottoman and later Syrian rule of the region.
In the complex there is also a crocodile farm — so far the only crocodile farm in the Middle East — and a small zoo that are open to visitors.
In the farm there are over 200 crocodiles of different species, imported from many parts of the world — India, South America, Africa, and other locations. The crocodile farm is constructed and designed to become like the crocodiles’ natural habitat. There are also caimans, which are relatively smaller versions of alligators.
Touring the farm includes crossing over the wooden bridge which allows visitors to see the crocodiles up close and how they live.
Don’t miss the view from the road and its impressive switchback bends. The view overlooks the unique topography of the area, which is situated exactly on the border of Jordan, Syria and Israel along the deep and impressive canyon of the River Yarmouk.
Getting to Hamat Gader
From the South of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) take Road 92 east and when the 92 turns north continue on the 98 east until you pick up the signs for Hamat Gader.