Tourist Tip #158 / Manara Cliff and Cable Car

High above sea level, near the Lebanese border, the Manara Cliff offers breathtaking views and numerous thrills.

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. One might be forgiven for thinking, therefore, that the omega slide – a 200-meter drop down the Manara Cliff in northern Israel – would also be the last thing you do there. But for the time being, with the slide temporarily closed, you are spared that particular delight and must settle for more mundane ways of descending the cliff.

Manara is not far from Kiryat Shmona, which in turn is not far from the border with Lebanon. The site is best known for its cable car up the mountain, from which you have a gorgeous view of the Golan Heights to the east and the Hula Valley to the southwest. It is, In fact, the longest cable-car ride in Israel, rising nearly 2 kilometers meters skyward with three stops along the way.

The lowest station is 90 meters above sea level, while the upper station soars at 840 meters above sea level. Each of the three terminals offers activities for the non-vertigo afflicted tourist, including the always-fun option of rappelling down the cliff. The fit-of-body might enjoy biking along the mountain paths. Bikes are available for rent.

Interesting factoid: The cable took a missile hit during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, but was fixed and resumed operation in the spring of 2007.

Another attraction at the site is the roller coaster, which stretches 1.2 kilometers along the mountainside.

In the past, thrill-seekers could have strapped themselves to a harness and careened down the mountain on the omega (see video). This particular attraction was shut down about a year and a half ago, but the management at the Manara tourism attraction assured Haaretz that it will be returning, hopefully by summer.

The site is operated by Kibbutz Manara, which was founded in 1943 and is itself 888 meters above sea level. The site is usually closed on Sundays, though there are exceptions for holidays and it's worth checking in advance. Midweek hours are 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., and on Friday and Saturday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. The site cautions that the last cable-car downward is at 3:30 P.M.; miss that and you're on your own.

Yaron Kaminsky