Jordan’s two seas couldn’t be more different. One is full of life and ships with the country’s only port, the other is almost completely devoid of life and the only boats belong to the military. Also only one of them is actually a sea…
Jordan’s gateway to the Red Sea is the town of Aqaba, a popular holiday spot for access to the sea, and it has a reputation as a buzzy place. I stopped there for a quick walk around, enjoying the coastal views, and briefly seeing the heavily restored citadel.
Driving along the coast there is some impressive infrastructure, and views of Israel and Egypt across the water, and Saudi Arabia next door. In 1965 Jordan and Saudi Arabia did a land swap to give Jordan greater access to the Red Sea.
I spent an enjoyable couple of hours at the Berenice Beach Club, a nicely laid out resort with several swimming pools as well as a private beach.
The beach was pretty idyllic.
As a bonus there is a surprisingly good reef just offshore, easily accessed and enjoyed with snorkel gear.
My Dead Sea experience had some similarities but plenty of contrast. The Dead Sea Spa Resort was almost exactly the same as the Berenice Beach Club initially, if a bit flasher.
But heading down toward the sea there were signs showing how far the Dead Sea has shrunk in living memory.
The initial view wasn’t particularly appealing.
But nicely framed beach huts made it look better.
The Dead Sea is at the lowest point on earth, some 430m below sea level, which means that is it noticeably hotter. It is also one of the saltiest lakes in the world, which means that you float as if you were sitting on a lilo. It doesn’t take long to get used to it, on your back or adopting a unicycle position are the best positions. I was expecting to feel a bit yucky from the salt but it was fine, though I did have a burning sensation (like a bad sunburn) over much of my body while actually in the water…