Scroll on down for the list of interesting facts about the Dead Sea Jordan. Or, stay and read the travel story first! Updated 2018.
Let’s face it, the Dead Sea has a depressing name. It also fizzes the synapses by sounding too much like Red Sea.
Red Sea, Dead Sea. Red Sea. Dead Sea.
Completely easy enough to tell apart until talking about them both when panic sets in. A similar thing happens when I’m on a clifftop (or mountaintop) path. What if my brain suddenly fails me and I forget how to walk and plunge from the cliff into the abyss for a (likely very painful) eternity.
But I digress.
Read more about travel in Jordan here.
The Dead Sea is a place of fun. As the lowest point on earth (427 metres below sea level,) its hypersalinity (loads of salt) make it impossible for life to survive. It also makes it entirely possible for adults to turn into children as they flip about like penguins on an oil-slicked underwater escalator…wearing lead-reinforced helmets.
You see, it’s hard to swim in the Dead Sea. It’s like trying to tap dance on ice.
What is it like to swim in the Dead Sea? It’s like trying to tap dance on ice.
Years of innate proprioception (the idea that you know where parts of your body are without looking at them) fly straight out the window – or rather float left, right and centre in this hypersaline giant pond – as every stroke of effort front flips, backflips and cawhips (yes I made that last one up) and you float wherever the sea wants to send you.
And woe betide the innocent should their tongue snatch a taste of the water of death: as befits its name, it’s disgusting.
Recommended reading: The Madaba Mosaics Jordan; Making the Broken Beautiful Again
But the final absurdity in this crystalline expanse is another effect it has on human behaviour. There in the Jordan Rift Valley, with Israel on one side and Jordan on the other, grown adults become seemingly possessed.
For one, they grab a newspaper in a language they can’t read and battle to make it into the water without getting it wet. They float like rudderless cheery souls as they try to assemble for a photo. And for the finale, they slather themselves in thick black mud to create a slick human wetsuit before hopping back into the sea to wash it off.
And all this in the name of beauty (or perhaps, one suspects, the quest for a good photo.)
Either way, don’t they look gorgeous?!
Read about 7 of the Best Things to do in Jordan here.
1 – The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth at 427 metres below sea level
2 – It’s very hard to swim in it
3 – The water tastes disgusting
4 – The mud at the side is supposed to be good for your skin. It’s fun to put on, either way.
5 – The salty water will STING any open cuts you have. Do not shave before you go in!
6 – It’s a saltwater lake, not a sea.
7 – You can stand on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan and gaze across to Israel. And vice versa.
8- It’s not actually the saltiest place on earth. Nor even in the top three.
9 – The only things alive in the Dead Sea are bacteria (and a few people floating at the edge, trying to make it look as though they’re reading a newspaper.)
10 – The Dead Sea is the main source for agricultural potassium worldwide. See. You knew there was a reason why you read this far!
You can visit the Dead Sea from either Israel or Jordan and stay at one of many luxury “beachside” hotels. If you hire a car from Amman in Jordan, it’s a straightforward drive and at a push you could do it in a day. But it’s beautiful at dawn and sunset so I’d highly recommend you stay the night.
As it happens, I travelled to Jordan as part of iAmbassador’s #GoJordan project in partnership with Visit Jordan. As ever, as always, I kept the right to write what I like and think what I like. Otherwise, y’know, why bother with it all?! Just take up a better paid job in marketing instead ;-)
And PS – Go and visit the Dead Sea if ever you get the chance. It’s amazing. And great fun (although it does taste bad and it stings if you cut yourself on a rock…)
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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