A Turtle Diary On The Alexander


The largest freshwater turtle in the world, the Nile soft-shelled finds sanctuary on the banks of a rehabilitated river.

Halfway through a delicious riverside walk with a guide from the Jewish National Fund, we asked when we would be coming to the end of the “model river rehabilitation trail” that I thought we were on. He began to laugh. “We haven’t even begun,” he told me. “I’ve been saving the best for last.”

Soon afterwards, we came to a bend in the river. Just at that point, the southern bank was crammed with thick, natural foliage that reflected in the water. In sharp contrast, lush green lawns on the opposite bank slanted gently down to the river. The sight was absolutely breathtaking and I wasn’t surprised when our guide stated proudly that we had reached the Model River Rehabilitation portion of the Alexander River.
One of our favorite jaunts is a stroll along the Alexander River (officially called a stream but, for Israel, big enough for us to call it a river), which runs from the Samarian Mountains to the Mediterranean north of Netanya. The outing, which begins at a delightful site called Turtles Bridge, includes birds, flowers, fish and reptiles, along with gorgeous landscaping and wonderfully flowing water.

Because this is a completely level region, an observation balcony above the river offers a fantastic view of what were once the swamps of the Hefer Valley. Then, on a wooden walkway next to the water, you get a first-hand view of the river’s Nile Soft-Shelled Turtles. The largest species of freshwater turtles in the world, these reptiles can be up to 1.2 meters (4 ft.) long and weigh as much as 50 kilograms (32 lbs.). Incredibly, they swam to this region all the way from Central Africa.



Read the full article over at The Times of Israel


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Our two-week trip to Israel was one of the best experiences of our lives. Shmuel knows the country like the back of his hand and takes you not only to everything you want to see but to fascinating places you haven't even heard os! We saw a more complete Israel than any of our friends on regular organized tourist trips. Shmuel taught us a great deal about the geography and history of the places we visited. He also has a great sense of humor, is a lot of fun to be with and picks great places to eat. We could not recommend more highly and more enthusiastically seeing Israel with Shmuel as your guide.

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