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Just across the street from the tourist complex of Ein Bokek is the amazing Ein Bokek nature reserve. Entrance to the reserve is free, there is no guard and no gate - just a trail marked in a black line between two white lines, which leads from the main Dead Sea highway straight into the stream.
Imagine finding yourself in the middle of the desert, at the bottom of a barren canyon with steep walls, looking at a stream of water surrounded by a forest of desert plants. You can step right into the shallow stream and walk in the water up its course, past a small waterfall, to a larger waterfall and a quiet pool. The upper pool is deep enough for sitting and chilling out, but not large enough for swimming. The water is fresh, but not good enough for drinking, which probably saved it from being pumped away. The walk in the water is terrific, since the water is shallow - about ankle deep, knee deep at spots. The bottom of the stream is covered with a fine layer of gravel most of the way, a great fun to walk on, but there are some sections which require caution since they may be slippery. Naturally you need a pair of shoes which you can get wet, such as sneakers or sandals. Once you are out of the reserve, the shoes will dry pretty quickly in the desert air.
If you are more adventurous, one section of the marked trail actually leaves the stream and climbs up the southern slope of the canyon, giving you a bird's eye view of the entire reserve, before sloping down back towards the stream. If you are curious about history, there are ruins of a 2,000 year old fortress, built by the Romans, above the entrance to the reserve. It is easily seen on the north slope near the entrance. If you come in the morning or the early afternoon there is a good chance to see wild ibex on the slopes.
Written Jul 21, 2012
Address: Ein Bokek Nature Reserve
Ein Bokek is a hotel and resort district on the Israeli shore of the Dead Sea.
Situated at the foot of the spring which gives its name, this tourist and therapeutic complex is the biggest and most developed along the entire Dead Sea coast. Ein Bokek is now a modern oasis and panacea for health seekers and tourists alike and lies in stark contrast to the barren, rugged and genesis landscape of the Judean Desert Cliffs surrounding the area.
You can watch my 2 min 20 sec HD Video Dead Sea 'En Boqeq part 2 out of my Youtube channel.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Ein Boqeq on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 31° 11' 55.81" N 35° 21' 56.32" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Ein Boqeq Beach 1, Ein Boqeq Beach 2, Ein Boqeq Beach 3, Ein Boqeq 1, Ein Boqeq 2, Ein Boqeq 3, Ein Boqeq 4, Ein Boqeq 5, Ein Boqeq 6.
Written Jun 12, 2010
Do you want to feel as light as a feather?
To feel buoyancy work miracles on your body?
Letting yourself float on your back in the Dead Sea is a unique experience. It's probably the closest you'll ever get to a sensation of levitation!
It feels weird the first time, then it's fun, and very relaxing (see first photo).
Besides the outdoor natural free-for-all Dead Sea itself, you can also experience floating in salt-rich Dead Sea water indoors, in the special pools at hotel spas (see second photo).
Written Mar 1, 2010
The Ein Boqeq public beach is located in the central part of the beach.
Access is very easy, there is a big parking lot right by the beach, off the main road. Entrance is free, and campers are also welcome.
The beach is quite wide and a few hundred meters long. There is a lifeguard on duty, there are restrooms, changing rooms and showers (an absolute necessity after you dip in the thick salty water of the Dead Sea). This beach is not inferior to any of the hotel beaches.
Written Feb 24, 2010
Due to the hypersalination of the water, you can easily float in the Dead Sea; in fact, it's nearly impossible to sink! A popular fad by visitors is to have their picture taken while reading a newspaper and floating on the surface of the water.
The mud along the shore of the Dead Sea contains many minerals and is believed to have medicinal and therapeutic benefits. It is not uncommon for visitors to cover their bodies with the dark mud.
There are many salt deposits and crystals scattered along the shoreline. Many visitors walk the beach in search of large pieces as souvenirs.
The water of the Dead Sea has a greasy feel to it.
Wear waterproof sandals. The salt is very jagged and can easily cut your feet.
Beware! Several people drown every year in the Dead Sea because they do not obey the rule: Only float on your back. Accidents happens when someone tries to swim normally (stomach first) in the water - the legs will float better than usual and the head will be submerged. Also, the salt in the water stings cuts and causes great pain if it comes in contact with the eyes, adding to the panic if one's head is under water.
Written Dec 7, 2009
One of my favourite things to do in Israel is to visit the Dead Sea Hotel District - Ein Bokek Public Beach. After floating in the Dead Sea, take a fresh water shower on the beach and apply mud. You can buy a 600gram package (enough for 2 people) in any of the Mall stores - I picked one with aloe for 15NIS (1 USD = 3.7NIS - October 2009). Stand in the sun until dry then take another dip in the sea and massage it off. What a great feeling!
The beach is free, showers $, free bathroom in the Mall at the North end of beach, stores - Dead Sea products, beach wear for sale, restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops. All the large hotels are within walking distance.
From Jerusalem Central Bus Station, Bus Number 486 leaves at 8:30am arrives at 10:30am, return trip 76.50NIS (1USD = 3.7NIS October 2009). Return bus stop is in front of the Mall - catch the 5:23pm. Check www.egged.co.il for up-to-date bus schedules and fares using the Plan-A-Trip feature on the english website.
Panoramic views on the way down overlooking the Dead Sea and Jordan on the West Side and the desert on the East, passing Ein Gedi National Park and Beach, Massada, and alternate day spas.
Written Nov 23, 2009
Address: Dead Sea Hotel District - Ein Bokek
At first sight spa's at the Dead Sea's beaches look quite normal, like beaches always look.
If you get closer, you will notice, that swimming is physically different to other places, as most people have to try hard to keep their balance. Once you get in, it is nearly impossible to move normally, as the high density of the saltwater prevents the body from achieving the necessary depth.
You feel like moving in a thick, salty soup, your skin hurts from the high concentration, but slowly adapts step by step.
As long as one is not forced to get in, I'd recommend, to stay away of this pastime !
Written Jun 9, 2008
Address: Dead Sea beaches
Ancient caves and settlement on the northern shores of the Dead Sea where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls - the oldest biblical documents ever found - trace the history and daily lives of the mystical Essenes, a Jewish sect that fled Jerusalem 2000 years ago.
Initially discovered in caves in clay jars by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947, the scrolls prompted excavations which revealed the complexity of Essene life. This restored archaeological site offers a glimpse into the life of this culture.
Many of the original Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Written May 5, 2007
A 12 km geological ridge of pure salt in the southern part of the Dead Sea, believed to be the infamous biblical city that perished together with gomorra. Features unique salt pillars dubbed Lot's Wife, whom biblical legend says became a pillar of salt when she looked back on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra.
Really nice views driving south to Mitzpe Ramon or coming back from Eilat.
Written May 5, 2007
Israel's second most popular tourist site after the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.
A mountain top fortress which King Herod transformed in 35 BC into a three tiered winter home, boasts two luxurious palaces, bathhouses, storage rooms and impressive water cisterns.
An eternal symbol of Jewish history and heritage, it is the site of heroic defiance by a few Jewish zealots who took their own lives rather than surrender to the might of the Roman empire.
Masada offers fabulous views of the Dead Sea and Judean Desert. Easily accessible via a quick cable car ride or by hiking up the serpentine path. Located only 18 km north of the Ein Bokek hotel area.
Written May 5, 2007