I was not sure whether to add this place to our Holy Land Tour last September despite its being highly recommended by many friends in Israel. I thought that we have many caves in the Philippines and it might just be similar to the UNESCO heritage site in Palawan. However, I decided to include this because at the last minute I got convinced that it will be worthwhile and it sure was!
Rosh HaNikra is a geologic formation in Israel, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Western Galilee. It is a white chalk cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottos. The white chalk cliffs offer a spectacular panoramic view of Haifa Bay, the hills of the Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea.
The grottoes resulted from an ongoing geological process over thousands of years.
It all began with a series of underground shocks that ripped gapes into the bedrock. Rainwater penetrated the gaping rifts, dissolving them and forming within tunnels and sea caves (grottoes) that relentlessly proceeded to expand because of the intensity of the waves slamming the rock during a storm.
We took the cable car to reach the grottoes. The line was quite long cause it was a long holiday so many locals were visiting the popular place too. The ride was short but at a certain point, the cable car dips, nothing scary but more of fun 🙂
Then we went inside an audio visual room relating the history of the place.
Our guide told us of a legend about the caves. It is a a story of love between the sea and the mountain. The sea makes unusual noises as the jagged rocks force it in different directions, slowing and speeding it up, and pushing it onto different areas of the grotto, whilst the carved formations create unusual and eery shapes and light formations as you move about.
The caves were quite slippery so you need to walk carefully. It helped that I had the right footwear. There were a few caves worth exploring, with some needing to climb a few steps. There was a portion where I felt there was hardly any air but it was just a few steps. I was recovering from a slight asthma attack so I get concerned with thin air. That’s just me. I would however love to return and stay longer.
The Elephant’s Leg
The never-ending encounter of sea and mountain created a natural stone sculpture, shaped like an elephant leg. This is the edge of the cliff at the only point in Israel where the mountain descends into the sea without a sandy seashore. Glancing south, you can see the three islands, “Pale Blue” – mostly covered by water, “Seagull” and “Wagtail”. The islands have been declared a nature reserve, as birds nest there. Silver seagulls, sea ferns, white wagtails. The islands are the peaks of the western coarse sand ridge of the Galilee’s coastal plain. When visibility is good, you can even see Haifa and the Carmel. Looking north, you can see the border buoys, marking the Israel-Lebanon border, and the Israeli Navy vessels, permanently moored here and protecting the northern coastline.
By the way, we were actually very near Lebanon. You can see the flag of Lebanon flying from a certain side of the hill.
I actually wanted to take the tourist train to go back however they said it was too slow and not used that period so to make everything faster, they ferried us back to the entrance using cars. In fact the car I rode together with our guide was driven by the sites’ General Manager.