Vision and determination have, over the past fifty years turned the Hula Valley from swampland into one of Israel’s most beautiful spots.
As the swamps were drained, they were transformed into lush green fields for agriculture, leaving the central lake area as a nature reserve. The Valley is a diverse ecosystem of breathtaking scenery, plant and animal life – quite notably being a major rest-stop on the migratory route for birds through the Rift Valley. Films and audio-visual presentations are shown in the visitors’ center (Oforia Visitor Center). In fact, the valley was named in 2009 as one of the top places in the world to see nature by BBC Nature Magazine
At the beginning of the 1990′s one of the areas of the valley became flooded again as the result of heavy rains. It was decided to develop the surrounding area and to leave the flooded area as it was. The new site, named Agmon HaHula, became the second home for thousands of migrating birds that pass through the area in the autumn and spring, as well as the home of many native birds, making it a popular sight for bird-watchers from Israel and abroad. Tens of thousands of birds of over 200 species, including cranes, storks, pelicans, cormorants and egrets, stay in the reserve, knowing they can find an abundance of food here and in the Hula Valley in general. The reserve also shelters rare aquatic plants, such as yellow flag, paper reed and white water-lily. Water buffalos graze in certain areas to preserve the open meadow environment. Species that have become extinct in the wild, such as the white-tailed eagle, have also been reintroduced here.
Agmon HaHula has walking paths, observation points, and telescopes for observing the thousands of birds that inhabit the site. Visitors can also go on guided tours that offer explanations about the birds that inhabit the Valley.
As well as the walking paths in Agmon HaHula, the nature reserve is criss crossed with biking and walking routes, whilst nearby are places to kayak on the River Jordan.