Hamat Gader is located near the Sea of Galilee in Israel, near the Yarmouk River. It features several mineral springs with temperatures of up to 50 C. The name means literally the Hot Springs of Gadara referring to a site known today as Umm Qais in Jordan just 4 Km away on the other side of the border. It is actually located in the three country border between Syria, Jordan and Israel.
The original baths were constructed by the Romans in the second century. You may see reminders of the constructions by the Byzantines and then by the Arabs. In the Roman times it was well known as a recreational site. The springs were also used for healing purposes.
On the third century a Roman Theater with about 2,000 seats was built on the premises and two centuries later a large Synagogue was built.
In 1923 when the borders of the French Mandate of Syria and the British mandate of Palestine were drawn, Hamat Gader was on the British side, but at the end of Israel’s War of Independence even though it remains under Israeli sovereignty it was occupied by the Syrians that prevented any visit by Israelis to the site.
In June of 1967 on the Six Day War, the site was captured by the Israel Defense Forces. Since then it has been developed as a Health Resort and an alligator and birds reserve.
Hamat Gader Today
This popular Israeli site is operated jointly by four Kibbutzim of Southern Golan Heights, Mevo Hama, Kfar Haruv, Afik and Meitzar. It offers luxurious facilities combining experiences for all tastes. It welcomes families, groups and couples.
· The Bath Complex
The thermo mineral waters at a steady temperature of 42 C have the two most important qualities heat and mineral rich waters coming down at a rate of 500-700 cubic meters per hour. The waters coming from the depths of the Earth are soothing and relaxing and ideal for a quite vacation of a few days or much more.
· Crocodile farm
In 1981 more than 120 crocodiles from Florida were bought here to open the farm and in the subsequent years many more species from Africa and South America joined the crowd. Today it delights visitors that can see them (at a distance) how these predators enjoy themselves.
· Mini Nature Reserve
At the mini nature reserve you can watch the ibex, reindeer, deer, ostrich, baboons, raccoons, iguana and many others. Also you may enjoy the Parrot Shows featuring trained parrots of the species Jaco, Macaws, Amazon parrots and Cockatoos. At the Petting Zoo kids and grownups alike can enjoy petting rabbits, hamsters, gazelles, raccoons, ferrets, goats, ibex, fawns, etc. You can consult the staff concerning pets.
Hamat Gader is located on the South Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.
If you are driving from the Centre of Israel take the Highway 6 (Kvish Shesh toll) Northbound towards "Yokneam"
At the end of the Highway take road 70 Northbound up to the Junction of road 77 Eastbound towards Tiberias
Arriving to Tiberias take road 90 along the lake of Galilee Southbound until you arrive to a crossing with road 98 eastbound. Follow the signs to Hamat Gader.
One there be prepared to be pampered like never before. You’ll leave totally rejuvenated.