A day at the Dead Sea and En Gedi
The Dead Sea is a place full of superlatives. It is the deepest hypersaline lake on Earth and its shores lie below Earth’s lowest elevation point on land (more than 400 metres below sea level).
In this post, you’ll learn where to find the best beach and what else to do along the shore.
We visited the southern part of the Dead Sea. Most beaches are artificial and have to be well maintained due to continually changing sea level. In contrast to the information we found online, there was no entry fee on public beaches.
The well-known beach in En Bokek has good facilities including showers, changing rooms and many restaurants. However, there are many hotels and resorts around, so the beach is quite full.
Therefore, we followed a tip from our landlord in Arad. He suggested a new beach a little further south of En Bokek. The atmosphere was more private and the beach wasn’t crowded at all. Showers, changing rooms and chair rental (a plastic chair for 5 NIS) were available.
Good to know: After rainfall or when the sea level changes dramatically, the beaches and also roads may disappear below the ground within hours. We planned our first stop at En Gedi beach only to find out, that the road leading to it had been heavily damaged by rains. The En Gedi beach had turned into a big sinkhole. Thus, be prepared to change your itinerary spontaneously. Also, don’t drive or park off-road and use only designated beach areas.
The Dead Sea float
You should follow a few simple rules for bathing in the Dead Sea. Otherwise, the dip will turn into burning hell.
First of all, don’t dunk your head, don’t rub your eyes and never drink even a little sip of the water. The chlorides are highly acid causing burns to your mucous membranes and can temporarily blind you. The same applies to small wounds like blisters or cuts after shaving. The burning sensation is almost unbearable. So, don’t shave the day before your swim.
Remember the Dead Sea is a saturated solution. If your dip takes too long, the sea will start to suck out your body’s fluids. Your floats should take around 10-15 minutes. You can easily watch the time. There is a big clock on every lifeguard tower.
En Gedi Nature Reserve
After a couple of hours on a Dead Sea beach, you may start missing fresh water. The En Gedi Nature Reserve is a perfect place for a break away from the super salty lake.
The lovely oasis hides many small waterfalls and lush green vegetation. There are several marked hiking paths for any level of difficulty. The best part is, in the excruciating heat, you can freshen up in a cold spring or take a waterfall shower. Don’t forget your bathing suit! The oasis provides enough water for abundant flora and fauna. Look out for mammals like ibex, rock hyrax or striped hyena. The chance that you’ll spot a desert leopard is meager, search for its footprints, though.
Good to know: Visit very early or just before closing time. Check the time of the last admission on the park’s website. The popular trails tend to get crowded. Carry plenty of water (5 litres per person per day). In the parking lot at the park´s entrance, there’s a small supermarket, where you can buy enough bottles.
Where to stay
Sadly, the shores of the Dead Sea are filled with big resorts. It wasn’t exactly our cup of tea. We decided to sleep in Arad. The town has a great location between the Judean Desert and the Negev allowing to explore both, the Dead Sea and the deserts.
A float in the Dead Sea is an unforgettable experience. For an ideal rift valley adventure, combine it with a refreshing waterfall shower in En Gedi oasis.