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
About the Dead Sea
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 in Djibouti, Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have reported higher salinities.
What was the Dead Sea like?
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 floating in the Dead Sea
There are risks to the fun and we were 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.
TAKE A HIKE IN NEARBY WADI HIMARA
Feeling invigorated and glowing, we drove a short distance to Wadi Himara 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.
DEAD SEA | TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
BEST TIME TO VISIT DEAD SEA IN JORDAN
As the Dead Sea is below sea level it gets hotter than other places in Jordan. For this reason winter can be great to escape the blistering heat in Amman and similarly, summer may not be the best idea but the heat is a dry one at this time.
Any time between October to April is good to visit the Dead Sea, however, the months of December to February see rainfall especially in January. So, the best time to visit the Dead Sea and the beaches of Aqaba is spring (March to May) as the temperature is just perfect between 17-35°C. Be prepared for more people at this popular time!
HOW TO GET TO THE DEAD SEA IN JORDAN
From Amman, the drive should take around 1 hour to reach the Dead Sea so you can even do this as a day trip.
TAKE AN ORGANISED TOUR
You can opt for multi-day trips which include a visit to the Dead Sea long with Wadi Rum or Petra which is a fabulous idea to get the full experience of the region. My trip was organised by Trekkup from Dubai
AMMAN TO DEAD SEA BY CAR
A good option is to hire a car as a taxi will cost you from $105 upwards, not bad if you are in a group.
AMMAN TO DEAD SEA BY BUS
Catch a bus in Amman from Mujaharin bus station to Rame and then an onward taxi to Amman Beach. The bus journey will cost around 1JD (1.50USD) and the taxi ride is usually around 4JD (6USD).
WHERE TO STAY BY THE DEAD SEA IN JORDAN
Best place to be is right on the waters edge of the Dead Sea to get the full experience.
Budget option at Samarah Resort is 3-star and has all you would need for the Dead Sea experience from location to facilities at the hitel.
High end option at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa features a private beach overlooking the Dead Sea and a private fitness centre if you fancy splashing out on 5-star and all its’ luxuries!
DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE: Always make travel insurance a priority for any adventure! World Nomads are my go-to guys. You can buy and claim online even when you’ve left home. I love that they give a little back too and support community development projects in various countries.
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