Jordan’s spectacular ancient architecture had been the awed focus of my trip. The pink hues of Petra, the majestic sights at the Citadel and the Roman Amphitheatre in Amman: all have been stunning but it was time for something different. As we left the city the lure of a more natural wonder becomes stronger as the bus rattled us along the 60km road towards the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea experience
This iconic salt water lake is situated on the border of Jordan, The West Bank, Jericho can be seen behind the far mountains, and Jerusalem which is just visible across the water from our lakeside spot.
Sitting 430m below sea level, the Dead Sea’s banks are the earth’s lowest points on dry land and as we descend into the Jordan Valley my ears popped in protest at the much lower than usual altitude.
The Dead Sea is 377 m deep, making it the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, the Dead Sea is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. Although Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have reported higher salinities.
I was pretty excited to float in the lake’s water which is made dense by the large amount of salt in it, such a strange feeling. The water is an unexpectedly beautiful blue, parasols dot the beaches and kitsch black and white striped chalet tents add sophistication. We’re just here for a few hours so we missed checking out the opulent five-star spa hotels that populate the beach front.
If any traveller finds themselves in this part of the world, going for a dip, or a float, in the Dead Sea is a real must. There’s nowhere in the world like it. The salt levels here are ten times those found in the ocean and this means no life can survive. No fish to nibble your toes, no jelly fish tentacles to sting. Perfect!
Bobbing along on my back is weird but awesome. Looking over and smiling for a picture takes a ridiculous amount of concentration not to go sideways and under. Leaning back with my feet up and gazing and the heat hazy sky while being cradled with water is wonderful.
The bed of the Dead Sea is full of skin loving minerals so we found the stall by the beach where you can buy the mud, and started slathering the black goo all over, we mixed sand in with it to give us the extra exfoliation. It’s pretty funny seeing everyone totally blacked out with the mud all over our body and faces, definitely a photo opportunity not to be missed!
The ground is full of hard salt formations at the water’s edge and as I waded in to wash off the mud off my legs I get a sharp reminder of the strength of the salt water….my bum, as I’m leaning over, started to float and I’m scarily close being tipped in face first. Once you finally showered in fresh water, you will want to keep stroking your silky arms and legs, super smooth!
Tips for the Dead Sea
There are risks to the fun however and we’re given strict guidelines by our guide.
- No putting your head under water, be careful of your eyes.
- No drinking the water.
- Be vigilant as you float as the lake can suddenly tip or turn you over.
- Recommend taking a bottle of fresh water to rinse our eyes and stop any stinging.
- Wear hard shoes for protect your feet against the salt crystals.
Hike in Wadi Hamira
Feeling invigorated and glowing, we drove a short distance to Wadi Hamira for a gentle hike. This beautiful, panoramic 7km trek leads to Jordan’s tallest waterfall. The gorge paths are lined with juniper, oleander, caper, palms and cliffs of rock the colour of sunshine tower above us creating pretty patterns of deep shadow, soft shade and filtering light.
We walk for a few hours and help each other clamber up over the larger rocks which cross the path. Reaching the waterfall marks the end of our hike. Looking up at the sparkling water flowing 100m down the rock and back at the gorgeous natural scenery is breathtaking. We finished the trek at sunset where we could see the beautiful glow overlooking Palestine, Israel, Jericho and the lights of Jerusalem on top of the mountain.
Trip organised by Trekkup from Dubai
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