For reasons that were not exactly in my control, my original itinerary for the Israel trip underwent a few last-minute sequencing changes. I ended up with a bit more driving between the north of the country and Tel Aviv than I had initially anticipated. On the other hand, I got a couple of lesser World Heritage sites out of the way on the first day of venturing out of my base.
Nahal Me’arot caves represent half a million years of human evolution, but they are a clear contender for the title of one of the least impressive paid-entry sights that I have ever been to.
There are three caves that you can see here, although the first two are more overhangs than caves and can be viewed only from a distance behind the barrier. The first diagrams the geological ages of its layers.
The second cave illustrates a prehistoric settlement with a few highly unsophisticated models and props.
The third cave can be entered. It is 70 meters deep, with nothing of a particular exceptional note.
At the end of this cave you can see an AV presentation – a dramatization of the prehistoric life that looks like a failed costumed home-video attempt. I watched that for about seven minutes and could not stomach the cheesy show any longer. (On the positive side, there are sensors in the cave, and the presentation started right away when I approached the screen – it would be a lot more maddening if I had to spend time waiting for it to start first).
Here a couple of additional perspectives of the last cave’s entrance.
And a couple of rock views that are definitely the most gratifying visuals at the site.
My entire visit lasted no more than 20 minutes. I was the only caller on an early November morning – the girl at the reception was clearly surprised to see someone show up.
The caves are located a little bit over an hour from Tel Aviv by car. A WH chaser such as myself may be content with adding another entry to their “visited” list, but everybody else are unlikely to find the place worth seeing. The surrounding national park may be more interesting if you have kids in tow – who knows, they may even enjoy that movie – and want to do some hiking in addition to seeing the caves.