If Lebanon is on your travel radar as a place to visit, you may not think of bringing your walking boots. Yet my video about the day I spent hiking in the Tannourine Cedar Forest Reserve will show you that this is one of the highlights of a visit to Lebanon, especially in the spring and early summer when the wild flowers are in full bloom.
In this video, you’ll see something of the famous Cedars of Lebanon and the wonderful countryside we walked through in the Tannourine Cedars Forest Reserve and I hope you will enjoy the walk as much as I did.
With my friend, I joined a group trip organised by Cyclamen, a local tour company, and drove north out of Beirut into the beautiful mountainous region inland, stopping only for a Mankouche for breakfast. If I ever get back, it will be to walk for a few days along the Lebanon Mountain trail, which the Tannourine Reserve is part of, staying in local villages that now offer Bed and Breakfast.
The Cedars of Lebanon are such an important symbol that they appear on the Lebanese national flag, yet the impression I got from my visit to see them was that there were barely any left. The reason is that the cedar is a valuable wood, prized for it’s hardness, it’s fragrance and it’s properties as a natural insect repellant. Now the cedars that remain in Lebanon are protected in National Forest Reserves and a programme of replanting is underway, although as these trees take many decades to reach any size, it will be centuries before the famous forests that once covered the mountains of Lebanon recover.
It was interesting to speak to the tour organiser, Sabina, who was involved in the CIFA Programme to build up sustainable local tourism for the walking and hiking, by training local families to offer Bed and Breakfast along the Lebanon Mountain Trail, through the Dhiafee Program website. They work with Cyclamen who organise one day hiking and cultural trips – you can check out their Programme here and if you’re visiting Lebanon, I highly recommend that you try and build one into your itinnerary. Their parent travel company is TLB Destinations, which specialises in sustainable tourism programmes in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, investing in training and projects that support local communities and jobs. If you you prefer to have a local specialist company to organise things for you when travelling, then I’d certainly check out the TLB Destinations website to see what they have to offer.
Lebanon Mountain Trail – long distance hiking trail from North to South Lebanon
Dhiafee Program – offering Bed and Breakfast accommodation around Lebanon
Cyclamen Programme of 1 days treking and cultural trips
TLB Destinations – specialists in sustainable travel in Lebanon
CIFA – providing training to support sustainable tourism in rural areas.
Other articles about Lebanon