deserts are uplifting environments of light, space and possibility – and maybe that’s the reason why Iran desert tours are most popular during the doleful midwinter days! Although only about 20 percent of the country is covered by these mysterious drylands, their beauty far outweighs their number. The most popular Iran desert tours are often operated in, and around.
You may be curious about: how you can get to these deserts, what you can expect from each of them, where you can spend the night, and what their surrounding attractions are. Those, you will find out in no time!
Lut desert is one of the two UNESCO natural world heritage sites of Iran (the other being the Hyrcanian forests). Unbearable heat made travelers and even scientists believe that life can not be sustained here, but soon its wildlife was discovered to be among the most amazing fauna in Iran. Lut is the single warmest spot in the world, and its mesmerizing landforms can be seen from space!
Travelers usually visit Lut desert after taking a trip to the earthen city of Kerman. From there, it takes about a couple hours to get to the golden sands of Lut desert. Finding a tour that best suits your needs to visit the Lut desert AND its surrounding attractions should be your goal.
Vast night sky, star shaped sand dunes, sand boarding, and safari are some of the desert activities of Lut desert tour.
Ruppell’s Fox, Jerboa, Buzzard, Snakes, and Scorpions are just a few animals on the list of the adaptable Iran desert animals in Lut.
The most famous surrounding attraction of the Lut desert is the mysterious Shahdad city and the Shahdad desert not far from it. The beautiful city of Kerman itself 390 kms away from Lut is also one of the most popular tourist attractions of Central Iran.
If camping in the desert is not your forte, there are traditional caravanserais and local houses around Lut in which you can stay the night. Stareh Lut eco-camp is one of the beautiful Iran desert accommodation choices.
Shahdad desert almost rivals Lut desert in heat and aridity. There are myths and stories about life in Shahdad that may have existed there thousands of years ago. Antique pieces of earthenware pottery have been discovered in Shahdad village, and are still being studied to learn more about the previous residents of this place.
From the city of Kerman, there is only an hour and a half long ride to Shahdad village, and from there you must walk to get to Kaluts of Shahdad desert. The distance from Shahdad to Kerman is around 100kms.
Strong winds and erosion have caused the formation of impressive Kaluts in Shahdad, kinds of which are lesser seen in the world.
Even though the Kaluts of Shahdad desert are unique to Shahdad region and its land formations are unique on its own, Shahdad is still a part of the World Unesco site of Lut desert. That is why the animals living in Shahdad are a part of Lut desert animals.
There is a camping center in Shahdad designed to host desert campers and tourists. This facility has traditional desert huts and is accessible to everyone.
It would be a waste if you travel to Shahdad and don’t visit the rural lands of Shahdad village.
Just in Iran’s central region, not far from where the ancient city of Yazd resides, lies the salty land of Kavir desert. Dasht-e Kavir is the largest salt desert of Iran, and has three main layers within itself, only two of which are accessible to tourists.
From the city of yazd to the nearest village to Kavir desert, the Mesr village, there is about 350kms of distance. Travelers often get there in around 5 hours.
Aside from your usual Iran desert tours package, which includes adventurous desert activities and beautiful landscapes, Kavir desert has its own thrills to offer. Heavy storms are frequent in Dasht-e Kavir, and can prove to be dangerous. Mud land is another dangerous characteristic of Kavir.
Snakes and scorpions are Dasht-e Kavir’s locals. Chinkara and Gazelle are two of the least dangerous animals of Kavir, and Monitor lizards among the most dangerous ones.
Kavir national park is home to more than 200 Iran desert animal and bird species, including the Asiatic Cheetah, Golden Eagle, and the Caracal.
Mesr desert, Bafq desert, and Maranjab desert are located in the outer layer of Kavir as well.
We recommend camping in Dasht-e Kavir and grasp this once in a lifetime opportunity to stay the night in this great salty land in Iran. But inside and around Kavir desert have a good number of traditional houses and caravans for you to choose from.
Just an hour away from Kashan, the city that hosts some of the most beautiful historical houses and Persian gardens, is the beautiful Maranjab desert. This gleaming land is to the north of the beautiful Aran and Bidgol town, and is most definitely one of the most popular deserts in Iran.
Only about 60kms away from Kashan city, you can step on Maranjab’s sands in about an hour if you choose to visit this desert form Kashan.
It is no secret that the sky is at its most pristine and jaw-dropping form in desert. Maranjab on the other hand, is famous for its starlit sky and is a favorite among stargazers.
The Sand Cat and the Ruppell’s Fox are two of the Carnivorous inhabiting the lands of Maranjab desert. Wild Goat is also sighted in Maranjab and one of the important Iran desert animals.
Aranbidgol Salt Lake is among the most popular tourist attractions of Iran. Maranjab’s arid climate is the reason this lake a dry salt flat most of the year. This has created a spot most favored by photography lovers and nature tour seekers.
Whoever is willing to miss the opportunity of camping under the captivating night sky of Maranjab, can instead consider Safa Historical Guest House as an option! This guest house is one of the more famous traditional accommodations of Maranjab and ages back to around 350 years ago!
Varzaneh desert is without a doubt one of the most beautiful Iran deserts. Its utterly captivating terrain is made even more unique thanks to the Gavkhouni wetland in this desert. Varzaneh is most popular for its camping spots and glowing night sky.
Varzaneh desert is around 120kms away from the city of Isfahan, and it takes close to an hour and a half to get there with car. Although Varzaneh’s popularity was the reason that bus rides from Isfahan to Varzaneh also became available.
Compared to other deserts of Iran, Varzaneh has a relatively rich flora and fauna. This is partly because of the Gavkhuni wetland not far from this sandy terrain. Plants like Salsola, Phragmites, and different species of Tamarisk are among the dominant vegetation of Varzaneh.
Varzaneh desert is famous for the great number of birds that fly to its drylands in different seasons. Bird species like black grouse, brown bittern, Herons, Flamingos, and Gulls are some of these seasonal visitors. This has made Varzaneh one of the most popular birding spots in Iran.
Traditional guesthouses like Varzaneh traditional guesthouse or Chapaker guesthouse are found on the edges of Varzaneh desert, close to the Varzaneh village.
Gavkhouni wetland, home to an amazing number of animals and plants is the gem of Varzaneh desert. The ancient Ghoortan citadel is another peerless attraction and one of the historic sites of Varzenh everyone must visit.
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Darak desert is where the crystal water of Oman gulf clashes with the golden sands of desert. Beautiful in nature and unique in kind, Darak desert remains wonderfully empty of litter and any sort of chemicals.
Located in the far south of Iran, Darak desert can easily be accessed from the Bandari city of Chabahar. From there, a 2 hour ride on the beautiful road to Zarabad village will lead you to Darak.
Alabaster sand dunes and uniquely shaped mountains, a golden beach connecting the two worlds of sand and water, and all in all a scene out of fairy tales and Arabian night stories.
Northern palm squirrel is one of the land animals hopping from tree to tree in Darak. Turtle species such as the loggerhead sea turtle, the green sea turtle, and Hawksbill sea turtle are seen in Darak shore in certain times of year. Other sea animals like the beaked sea snake, the Persian Gulf sea snake, and the blue-banded sea snake also swim the waters meeting the Darak desert.
Camping in Darak will doubtlessly be one of the unforgettable experiences of your life. Grab your tent and pack your meals an enjoy a night at the beautiful spot off the beaten track.
If you would rather stay in one of the traditional local houses in Zarabad village, then the choice is yours! By doing so, you will also be partaking in sustainable tourism and help develop the local village life.
Zarabad village is a pristine and untouched example of Bandari village life in Iran. Not yet touched by the modernized hands of technology and globalization, this village is one of the must-see places on the Iran touristic spots list.
(Note: traveling to Chabahar and visiting the beautiful desert of Darak does not need a visa. Learn more about the visa free regions of Iran here)
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