ISRAEL – Amiram Dora, the “father” of the solitary tree, often paddles out to the Dead Sea to apply mud, providing essential nutrients for the tree’s survival in such harsh conditions.

The Dead Sea is located on the border between Jordan and Israel. Despite the word “sea” in its name, it is essentially a hypersaline lake, with a salinity level ten times that of regular seawater, making it almost inhospitable for most forms of plant and animal life.

On a salt island in the middle of this lake, approximately 90 meters from the shore, stands a tree that many refer to as the “solitary tree” or the “survival tree.” It is situated near the Ein Bokek resort, approximately 20 kilometers from the city of Arad, Israel. “It seems to float in the void,” shared Jackson, an Australian travel blogger.

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The solitary tree in the midst of the Dead Sea. Photo: Flickr.

This tree did not naturally sprout and grow; it is an artistic creation by a local artist named Amiram Dora. In 2017, Dora brought the tree to the island and has been nurturing it ever since. He daily paddles to the island and applies mud around its base to ensure it receives enough nutrients to survive in this challenging environment. Despite his efforts, the tree does not thrive with lush branches and leaves but manages to sustain its existence.

The existence of this tree has piqued the curiosity of many, and it gained international attention in 2019 when it began appearing regularly on Instagram and in foreign media. Upon close observation, one can see the tree’s roots anchoring into the white salt layer of the island, with shoots emerging from its branches.

Post-Covid-19, the solitary tree has become a popular destination for tourists seeking unique photo opportunities. The easiest and quickest way to get here is by car. If coming from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, it takes about a 2-hour drive to reach the location.

“When arriving by car, park in one of the spots between the Leonardo Plaza and Herods hotels,” said Catrina, a former flight attendant and founder of the travel blog 24hourslayover. From this location, it’s just a short walk of a few hundred meters to the public beach of Hamei Zohar. From the beach, you can easily spot the island.

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Many tourists come to take photos with the solitary tree. Photo: Alex in wanderland.

Look for a nearby pier, walk to the end of it, and swim from there to the island. This is the shortest way to reach the island, according to Catrina. As per the observations of many tourists who have approached the tree, the salt island is not too far, but swimming in the Dead Sea can be quite a challenge as it is much more difficult than swimming in other bodies of water. Catrina also advised being cautious not to get Dead Sea water in your eyes as its high salt concentration can cause discomfort. “If the water gets in your eyes, it stings. You’ll have to close your eyes and swim the rest of the way,” she said.

Video: YouTube