Tree of Life


Although the Tree of Life's age has now been established, the mystique and allure of this lone, green, desert dweller remains strong. Planted around 1583, the knotty mesquite tree gracefully spreads its ageing limbs over a patch of Bahrain's southern desert, attracting hundreds of visitors daily. They come to take pictures in its shade and enjoy the sunken walkway marked by 19 carved silhouettes of other famous trees around the globe that circumnavigates the Tree of Life, framing it from different perspectives.

It is still not clear what sustains the tree, though the underground water source it is tapped into is probably what once drew the inhabitants of the small village excavations have revealed to be buried close by. Once literally just a tree in the desert, today there is also an informative visitors shelter with toilets and a security guard around the clock.

On special occasions, like the Bahrain International Music Festival, the site's open-air platform hosts cultural events. The tree is best appreciated after dusk, when it is hauntingly lit up to accentuate the mystique that draws people to it. Be careful though, driving away in the dark is tricky in a location where there is no street lighting.

The tree is 40km south of Manama and signposted from the Musakar Hwy, becoming visible as soon as you go off-road. A 4WD is not required but take care not to drive into soft sand.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bahrain attractions

1. Dar Al Naft Oil Museum

3.03 MILES

This grand white stone building, complete with neoclassical pillars, looks odd surrounded by nodding donkeys and sprawling pipelines, but this is where …

2. Formula 1 Racetrack

5.41 MILES

The Al Sakhir Tower of the Formula 1 Racetrack rises above the desert like a beacon. If you're visiting Bahrain out of season and want to see what a state…

3. Al Areen Wildlife Park & Reserve

5.78 MILES

Ignore the tacky cardboard cutouts of animals leading up to the entrance – this is a great-value day out for the entire family in one of Bahrain's three…

4. Al Jazaer Beach

7.68 MILES

This beach won't win any Blue Flag awards for cleanliness, but if you do find yourself this far south, it's a nice enough spot to cool off. The clean,…

5. Riffa Fort

8.65 MILES

The completely restored Riffa Fort was built in 1812 by Sheikh Salman Bin Ahmad Al Fatih, the 19th-century ruler of Bahrain. A classic piece of Bahraini…

6. Al Dar Islands

9.91 MILES

Throughout the day sea taxis whisk visitors to this little desert island, where there are shallow swimming areas, various day-accommodation options (from…

7. Al Bahair Mini Canyon & Wetlands

10.49 MILES

Unlike any other place in Bahrain, these huge, beautiful, natural rock formations of varying shapes are yellowish in colour and sit right in the middle of…

8. Pottery District

12.16 MILES

Look out for the giant amphorae and head inwards from the corner of the highway and Ave 42 to explore Bahrain’s most famous pottery district, where…