Yardenit: Great Swimming Experience in the R.Jordan
My family are seasoned travelers around the wadis, hills and nachalim of Israel.
This summer's family pilgrimage to the North (together with almost everyone from the Center of Israel, who wasn't heading through Ben Gurion Airport) included well worn and fun hikes in the Golan to the Jilabun, Zaki, Zavitan, et al.
At the suggestion of my eldest son Yonatan, we tried a new (for us) trip to Yardenit. (Yonatan had previously been there with his Yeshiva friends).
Yardenit is located just next to Israel's first Kibbutz , Degania Aleph, close to the Southern shore of the Kinneret.
Yardenit is apparently the most desirable location for Christians to baptise in the Jordan; by so doing, they follow in the footsteps of Jesus who, according to the New Testament, was baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (although probably not at this site).
Most of the Jordan River is now a disappointing stream, due to the majority of the water being diverted for irrigation and drinking, both to Israel's and Jordan's population centers.
We parked the car in the (spacious) carpark at the baptism center, bypassed the center itself, and instead we walked through a date grove, to the banks of the Jordan river.
Verily, a mighty river!
There were a scattering of families, soldiers, students, camping along the banks, and plenty of room for swimming in the expansive river. There was even a "tarzan" swing into the water (see photo), which was tremendous fun, even for adults...
Marvelous, and highly recommended!
Health & safety warning: this is only recommended for confident and competent swimmers - it's deep in the middle and there are very few standable spots at the edges. On the other hand, the river flow is very slow, so there is no apparent danger of being washed downstream.