Top Desert Destinations
More oft than not, it is strikingly interesting to be in the middle of nowhere. The experience of dining amidst sand and listening to folklore of the local culture is splendid. To be at a place sky horizons meet the sandy desert as far as you can see. To be in a time warp where there is no noise of cars stranded in traffic jams. Planning a trip to the most famous desert destinations will take you off the beaten path. From the most arid to the chilliest – deserts are there to captivate your imagination. Not as inert as you would imagine, there is ample life there and there are people who call it their home. There are many ways to explore the wilderness of the desert’s nothingness and experience the local culture as well. We have scoured a list of best desert destination/cities for you to plan your next vacation.
Camel Safari, India – One of the most captivating and thrilling experience you can have in India is a camel ride in the widespread desert of Thar and camping under a clear sky. Explore the unbelievable wide and vast desert on the western side in the state of Rajasthan with a camel ride and campfire dining at night. Opting for a camel ride will give you a firsthand experience of the rustic, rural life which is surprisingly populated as opposed to a barren desert. The most popular camel safari can be found in Jaisalmer city and a rare experience of the old caravan routes. Discover the marvels of Rajputana architecture that is unique to this part of India and explore myriad of forts and palaces.
Gobi Desert, Mongolia – This great desert covers most of the southern part of Mangolia. It is still a place for survival for the locals as the weather can be extreme – 40 degree in summer months and dipping to negative 40 degree during winter months. The winter is so harsh that in the year 2009 several livestock died as they could not feed on the ice covered grassland. Often called as the “Flaming Cliffs”, Gobi is mostly covered in sand dunes with a high rocks. The rocks and cliffs are in orange colour giving an image of it being on fire. The locals live in the movable dwellings and seem content in the extreme conditions. You will be met with a vibrant hospitality at the hands of the locals and enjoy your stay here. The vastness of the desert can be gauged from the fact that the dunes of Khongoryn extend for more than 100 miles. You will have to walk to reach this high point of 1,200 ft and cross a channel of spring water.
Atacama Desert, Chile – This one covers 600 miles and is a plateau in South America. It is the driest desert in the world, according to NASA. There are several spots in the desert where no rain has ever been recorded. In contrast to other deserts, you will not be able to find a cactus plant or a blade of green nor even a lizard – instead you will stumble upon the remains of what used to live here. The desert conserves whatever is left behind as there is no moisture, nothing rots and everything sort of turns into an artefact – even dead bodies. Hence, it comes as a shock to one and all when they come to know that about a million people live here; however, they are more concentrated in coastal cities, oasis town, etc.
Sahara Desert, Africa – This one is the largest hot deserts in the world and easily covers many countries in Africa including Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Algeria and many more. It covers an area of 3,500,000 square miles which is around 10% of the continent. Most of the landscape of the Sahara desert has been shaped by wind, barren plateaus, salt flats and dry valleys. The area is also covered with volcanic mountains. The flora in this region is sparse due to less precipitation and the harsh climatic conditions are responsible for the survival of a few of the animal species. The people who live in the desert are nomads and move from one region to another.
Antarctic Desert, Antarctica – It forms the southernmost tip of the world and situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere. Approximately 98% of the region is covered in snow. As compared to the rest, it is the driest, coldest and windiest desert. It receives very less precipitation annually – 8 inches and is sometimes referred to as the white desert as well. It would be interesting to note that the largest animal here is 1.3 cm tall. Nearly 70% of the world’s fresh water is contained in the icy glaciers of this region.
With such diverse options for you to explore the desert regions, you next vacation will be no less than a discovery in itself.