Tourist Tip #128 / Ramat Hanadiv Nature Preserve

Located between Zichron Yaakov and Binyamina, Ramat Hanadiv is home to the onetime burial site of a young Neanderthal named Moshe and the final resting place of a famous baron, among other attractions.

Moshe is the nickname given in 1982 to a young Neanderthal who once roamed the Carmel range and was buried in the Kebara Cave, in the Ramat Hanadiv nature preserve. Moshe is 60,000 years old and was given his name by Hebrew University archaeologist Ofer Bar-Yosef. What makes him unique is that he may be the first hominid found to have a bone at the base of his tongue, which would likely have granted him that very human trait, the ability to speak.

The Kebara Cave can be accessed as part of a strenuous but very rewarding hike at Ramat Hanadiv, which also serves as the final resting place of Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934), the "known benefactor" who supported early Zionist settlement in Palestine.

Aside from the Baron's crypt, Ramat Hanadiv boasts beautiful gardens and a well-appointed visitors' center (don't miss the brief biopic about Rothschild). Nestled along the southern "snout" of the Carmel range, the reserve's hiking trails afford fantastic views of the Mediterranean coast, the Menashe Heights and well-preserved ruins.

The Kebara cave is on the green trail (four kilometers long, rated at 2.5 hours), which begins at the memorial gardens, where a detailed map is available for sale at the gift shop. The trail meanders through the natural scrub forest toward the steep ravine where Moshe's cave was found. The cave is fenced off to visitors, as it is now home to what seems like thousands of screeching bats. Other wildlife in the area includes hyrax (a.k.a. rock rabbits) that enjoy sunning themselves on the nearby cliff face, and vultures that are being reintroduced to nature by means of a large halfway-house enclosure.

The trail is accessible year round, but not advisable on rainy winter days or in the midday summer heat. There is no entrance fee to Ramat Hanadiv.

Ramat Hanadiv is located between Zichron Yaakov and Binyamina, on Route 652. A visit there can easily be combined with a tour and tasting at the nearby Tishbi or Carmel wineries.

Itzik Ben-Malki
Courtesy