When you think of swimming in the dead sea you immediately picture someone floating book in hand with someone taking a photo to capture the unique moment. I have to admit as much as I loved these photos, the Dead Sea had never really featured on my bucket list.
But when I recently had the chance to visit the Dead Sea with Vibe Israel I quickly realised it should have been on the list for a long time. Its absolute unique beauty and the magical feeling of floating in the lowest point on earth means its being added to what I like to now call my repeat bucketlist!
In this article I wanted to share a comprehensive guide to visiting the dead sea, enjoying it and taking away some amazing photos. And most importantly I share the location of the lowest tree on earth that I recently posted on Instagram.
What Is The Dead Sea
The dead sea is known as one of saltiest bodies of waters and is at the lowest point on earth at 430.5 meters (1412 feet) below sea level. The Dead Sea is a terminus for the flow of rain and surface water and this means that water flows into it, but it does not flow back out, so it is essentially trapped there to evaporate. The high temperature in this region means that there are significant losses of water to evaporation leaving behind just the minerals that become increasingly concentrated, with salt being the most prominent among them.
The dead sea is located in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordered by Israel to the East and Jordan to the West and it can be visited from both countries. In fact if you were to swim all the way across (trust me for many reasons you wouldn’t do this) you could probably reach the shore of the other country.
Getting To The Dead Sea
In my opinion the best way to see the Dead Sea is to hire a car so that you can find some secluded spots with few other tourists around. The roads are easy to navigate, and although you can’t just stop in the middle of the road whenever you want there are plenty of places to pull your car over when you see a good dead sea view point that you want to photograph or take a dip.
Where To Swim In The Dead Sea
One of the most popular and tourist friendly places to swim in the dead sea is at Kalia Beach. This area is popular because it has all the amenities most people might want, bathrooms, changing areas, showers, a bar, lifeguards etc. It’s also a great spot to swim and apply the dead sea mud which is known to be very good for your skin. Personally I prefer to try and find less touristy spots and as I suggested above simply going it alone by car.
Getting The Best Photos
It’s virtually impossible not to get a great photo to take away with you from your visit to the dead sea. But there are some photo opportunities that are better than others.
If you have a drone using this to take photos will really improve them, the dead sea in parts is a beautiful blue green colour, but from low down this colour doesn’t really pop in the photos. By taking the image from above or at least at a slightly higher elevation looking out to you by drone you will be able to capture those beautiful colours. It’s also a great way to get some really cool photos of you floating on the surface of the water. From my experience flying a drone was totally fine here, as long as you are careful to launch away from crowds or people then no-one will stop you.
My second photo suggestion would be to get off the beaten path, if you have a car of your own this will be easier and you can just jump out wherever you see a great spot to fly your drone or head down into the water for a dip. This will help you to get photos with no one else in them!
Benefits Of Swimming In The Dead Sea
The dead sea is purported to have many health benefits derived from spreading the mineral rich mud all over your body. People who suffer from psoriasis or eczema say that it relieves the pain, those who have osteoarthritis say it can reduce joint pain and of course the mud is supposed to smooth and soften the skin as well as reduce ageing and wrinkles.
For me the dead sea had quite the opposite result, the water burned immediately when I got in and as I applied the mud, the pain and burning only increased. I quickly washed off the mud, but not wanting to get out suffered through the pain to enjoy the dead sea experience. Unfortunately, even though I did not put any mud on my face the combination of a few splashes of the salt water and the sun resulted in extreme damage to my skin and making me look like I had aged 20 years overnight! It took about two weeks for the dryness, extreme wrinkling and skin flaking to diminish and for my skin to return to normal. If you have sensitive skin at all, do not apply the mud to your face and try to avoid splashing any water on your face. Make sure to wash off with mineral water and apply a lot of moisturise after.
Unusual Activities At The Dead Sea
Well besides floating in the dead sea you can actually participate in some other activities, one being diving. Whilst I didn’t do this myself, my travel companion for part of my trip Alex of AlexInWanderland.com did, and in fact she is one of only a few hundred people in the world who has done this. I am pretty sure she will be writing all about this on her blog and as soon as she does I will tag the article link here so you can read all about why diving in the dead sea is a completely different experience.
Do you know of other unusual activities that you can do at the Dead Sea? Please share them with our readers in the comments below.
Helpful Tips For Swimming In The Dead Sea
- Bring a towel, shampoo & conditioner, body wash and good moisturiser
- There are showers at many of the main dead sea viewing and swimming spots, but not at random places you may decide to just jump out of your car for a dip. Bear this in mind and bring plenty of fresh bottled water to use if you are swimming somewhere there are no showers
- The views of the dead sea are beautiful and you will be hard pressed not to stop your car every 5 minutes to get out and take photos. With this in mind I suggest hiring a car so that you have the freedom to do so, and leaving yourself plenty of days in your itinerary to explore the regions around the dead sea
- If you have sensitive skin the mud and the salt may burn your skin. This happened to me, so I suggest limiting how much time you spend in the water and also avoid putting the mud on your face
- Wear a lot of sunscreen and re-apply this regularly
- Do not put the water on your face or anywhere near your eyes, if you do immediately wash this with fresh water
- Wear a dark bathing suit or one that you don’t love so you don’t ruin it!
If you follow my Instagram account you will have seen that I shared some amazing photographs of the dead sea taken of Alex and I on an unusual salt formation far out into the sea. Not only is the salt formation unique, a dead tree that resides at this spot makes it’s an extra special and magical place. I mentioned that Alex had been diving in the dead sea and she told me she noticed a dead tree far out into the ocean at one point. We couldn’t find the image on Instagram and Google and realised we could make this spot the next Lake Wanaka!
Just as we were discussing it we saw the tree out in the water, unable to stop at that point due to our travel commitments we vowed to come back and made the rest of the group travel 4 hours out the way on the way back to see it! Upon arrival we were slightly concerned this may be a let down when we looked far out and saw the tree, nevertheless Alex and I jumped in and began the LONG swim out to the salt formation. As we neared the tree we knew we hadn’t made a mistake making everyone go out of their way, the salt island was absolutely stunning and one of the most incredible and unique places I have ever visited.
We asked ourselves how does this tree survive in a place that nothing should be able to live and discovered that a man paddles out on a paddle board and tends to it everyday creating something living where nothing else does.
So for those of you who want to recreate our photos and visit the lowest tree on earth then head to the dead sea area just out front of the Crown Plaza Dead Sea Hotel in Ein Bokek. And thanks to Jackson Groves for these amazing drone shots!
I hope that this article has helped to plan your own trip to The Dead Sea. If you have any questions, comments or tips for our readers please share in the comments below.
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