Though it’s not the saltiest lake in the world, the Dead Sea, located between Israel and Jordan, is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world at over 1,000 feet deep. Those who walk its shores are at the lowest point on dry land — just over 1,400 feet below sea level. I was very much excited to see the elevation going below sea level as we drove from Jerusalem to Dead Sea via Jericho – the lowest city in the world. One can feel a sense of calmness while driving the entire length of Dead Sea on highway 90.
On our first day of travel to Dead Sea, we were greeted by a dust storm that greatly affected our visibility. On a clear day, one could easily see Jordan on the other side of blue Dead Sea. On our way we got to visit the Qumran caves, where the actual Dead Sea scrolls were found. We stayed at SPNI youth hostel located on a hill opposite to Dead Sea. We highly recommend this place as it offers great views of Dead Sea. We spotted several friendly Ibex’s roaming freely around the hostel premises. These Ibex’s are great example of the conservation efforts at Hai Bar natural reserve.
Our first visit to Dead Sea was really and fun and adventurous. Being first time to Dead Sea and we didn’t had any knowledge regarding the best beaches to float in Dead Sea. There are several beautiful and easily accessible public beaches all along the shores of Dead Sea but our random choice of the beach near by our hostel led us to a rugged and inaccessible beach.
We had adventure of a lifetime when we spotted and decided to try the Mineral beach. It is a spa and resort located at the northern shores of Dead Sea. At 8.00 am, we were the first and only ones to visit resort and enjoyed it thoroughly. It is the only beach with natural Hot Sulphur spring which is maintained at 39 degree centigrade at all seasons. The sulphur pool had enough salt that it was buoyant enough. The medicinal properties of these sulphur pools attract many visitors from all over the world to Israel for having a dip in these hot sulphur pools located near Dead Sea and Hamat Gader. Having been cured of a persistent rash on my body from just one dip into this pool, I can vouch for its medicinal properties. I learnt a hard lesson not to go into this pool with any metal ornaments especially silver that reacts with sulphur.
Natural boiling Dead Sea mud rich in minerals is found in this beach. The mud is also supposed to have several medical properties. The mud bath makes your skin soft and supple like a baby’s skin and is also known to reduce arthritis. My mom who could barely walk with out any support could easily climb several steps at Masada after receiving a special knee massage with this mud. From past 8 years, pure Dead Sea mud from Ahava is the only beauty product I use. We still massage our knees with warm Dead Sea mud to relieve the knee pain.
Our idea of floating in the calm Dead Sea water was not fulfilled during our first visit because of the high winds and choppy waves. Even though we could float on the water, we were drifted to a different shore and had cuts from the sharp salt crystals that form the bottom of the seabed. It is highly recommended not to walk bear footed. A minute into Dead Sea water with 34% salt, one could feel every small and minute cuts on your body you were previously unaware off. We were almost shrieking from the pain. More than our pain for these cuts, my mom who was enjoying on the shore had to endure higher pain (feels like thousands of bee stings at one point) and red eye because of small drop that fell into her eye (because of high winds). The rough weather presented us with a totally different experience of Dead Sea. One our next visit, we could enjoy a normal, relaxing float on Dead Sea completed with reading newspaper while floating. I am glad to have enjoyed this mineral beach which unfortunately cannot be enjoyed again as it remained closed to public from 2015 onwards because of sinkholes.
Follow my blog for the next virtual tour of the only Oasis in the harsh conditions surrounding Dead Sea; The Ein Gedi!