Even after a lot of travelling to upscale and uptown destinations, we find the ultimate respite in natural escapes. The rippling landscape, camels sauntering around, hidden oasis, and adrenaline-inducing activities — there are breathtakingly beautiful deserts in the world. Be it the soaring mountains of the African desert or the red dune safari in Dubai, the deserts across the earth have abundant surprises in store.
Here we have rounded some well known ones:
Sahara Desert, North Africa
Touted as The Great Desert and occupying a whopping portion of North Africa, the Sahara Desert is as gorgeous as you can imagine. Spanning over 3.6 million square miles, this is the third-largest desert on the planet and the largest hot desert. Home to an impressive array of Arabian fauna and flora, the desert features rocky Hamada, mountains, plateaus, gravel plains, salt flats, basins and depressions. From sand surfing and camping, to spa and stargazing, travelers can dive into a heap of activities here.
Atacama Desert, South America
Carpeting over 1,600 km on the Pacific coast, the Atacama desert is the driest place on the earth and a rare piece of beauty. It is a desert plateau located at a height where it receives less than 1mm of rainfall per year while few areas don’t get any rain. What is amazing here is that you can still find produces such as olives, tomatoes and cucumbers, and see grey foxes, desert wasps and butterflies! The desert is dotted with salt lakes, lagoons, geysers, hot springs and multicolored rock formations, making it a sight to behold.
Arabian Desert, Middle East
Beyond the glitzy skyscrapers of Dubai lies the quaint and majestic Arabian Desert. The moving mass of sand stretches over 900,000 sq miles, being the second largest in the world. It is the truest form of the desert with 33m precipitation, seasonal winds, low night temperatures, and a picturesque location. Several species thrive here, from Arabian oryx and gazelles to acacia trees and palm — a tour to this desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For a high-octane action (dune bashing, hot air balloon ride, etc) and cultural insights, book the desert safari Dubai.
Spanning an area of 200,000 km, the Great Indian Desert, Thar is a charming destination. One can acknowledge its significance by the fact that 40 per cent of the human population in Rajasthan (an Indian state) lives in the Thar Desert. An epic episode of legendary Ramayan tells how Thar was formed while some studies suggest that the increasingly dry climate soaked the river that connected to the Indian Ocean. Today, this lush desert has turned into a water-rich site, boasting of indigenous desert plants, birds and animals. You can explore the region on camel or jeep safari.
Namib Desert, South Africa
Harking back to 55 million years ago, the Namib desert is the oldest desert on the planet. Pressed up against the Atlantic coast of Africa, the desert meets the sea and offer you a never-seen-before vista. It touches the countries of Namibia, Angola, and South Africa. With no human inhabitation, visitors can stumble upon ostriches, antelopes, rodents and birds. It is spellbinding to watch the pinkish shade towards the inland changing to a white tone near the sea. When it rains heavily, the Tsauchab River fills the pan, and tourists from across the world arrive to witness it in real.
White Desert, Egypt
The White Desert is one of the amazing deserts in the world. Its chalk-white landscape looks mesmerising during sunset/ sunrise and appears mystic in the moonlight. It has a dramatic scenery that widely varies from green vegetation, palms, oasis and hot springs to strange dormant volcanos surrounded by mountains. The sand is littered with quartz and fossils. And the white-carved rocks are shaped like giant mushrooms. All this is happening five hours southwest of Cairo.
Mojave Desert, USA
Wrapped in 47,877 sq.miles, the Mojave Desert is home to a few yet interesting plants and animal species. For example, Mistletoe, the well-known Christmas decoration grows here. The desert remains hot in the summer while freezing in the winter — and that’s where its name is derived from. Mojave means coping with a range of extreme conditions. There are museums, tree forest, springs trail, hiking peaks, dome and challenging dunes to entertain and engage you.
Gobi Desert, Central Asia
Unlike most scorching deserts, take a trip to the cold and verdant Gobi desert. It spans parts of China and Mongolia and covers 1.3 million square km. It is an unparalleled creation of the Earth, where most of the surface is rocky and has weathered gravels. Interestingly, the Himalayan Mountains obstructs the rain-causing winds to enter the area and makes it a rain- shadow desert. On one side you will marvel at mountains, grasslands, rivers, small lakes and oasis, while on the other you will uncover copper, gold, coal, other natural resources and dinosaur fossils.
Deserts though not one destination in most bucket lists, is an important tick-off at least once in a lifetime. Hopefully, these beautiful options will make you want to plan one soon as travel opens up.