There are few who can escape the charm of the desert and I am absolutely no exception (it is no coincidence that it is my favorite "type of landscape"!). This environment, disturbing in its absence of forms of life, at the same time offers absolutely unique emotions, often linked to the geographical conformation but also to the colors. In this article I will take you in a journey to discover the least inhabited and most fascinating areas of the planet, among endless expanses of sand, rock or salt, to discover the most spectacular and extraordinary deserts I have ever seen.
1) Namib Desert (Namibia)
Arid for over 80 million years, it is believed that the Namib Desert is one of the oldest deserts in the world. This huge expanse of sand occupies the coastal part of Namibia, the one overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and extends from north to south for about 1300 km. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that between its colossal dunes of very fine red sand the famous pan (dried salt lakes) with the trees now dry. The landscape is surreal to say the least: you will feel trapped in a Salvador Dalì painting! If you want to plan a trip to visit it, find all the info in the article Trip to Namibia: 12 days between the Namib desert and Etosha safaris.
2) Wadi Rum Desert (Jordan)
Il Wadi Rum is a valley carved out over the millennia by the flow of a river in the sandy soil and granite rock of the Southern Jordan. It has been home to human settlements since prehistoric times (about 8000 BC) and, to fascinate Lawrence of Arabia it was not only the suggestive landscape with the sandstone gorges and the red sand dunes, but it was above all the stoicism of this people who know how to face the difficulties of life in the desert. Today it is possible to get closer to that traditional lifestyle, but with some extra comfort, staying overnight in the Bedouin camps scattered in the desert (find all the info in the article A trip to Jordan: everything you need to know).
3) Sahara Desert (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia ...)
Il desert par excellence and also the one closest to us. With an area of 9.000.000 sq km the Sahara is the largest hot desert on the planet. Crossed by the Tropic of Cancer, it is located in northern Africa and includes territories belonging to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan. The Sahara desert has been a source of inspiration for authors of famous novels, film directors, explorers, caravans, adventurers and, even today, travelers in search of strong emotions, among soft dunes smoothed by the wind, oases and endless sunsets.
4) Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)
This blinding desert is hidden among the towering peaks of Bolivia and it is one of the most incredible places on the planet. The Salar di Uyuni it is in fact known to be the largest salt flat on earth; formed by the drying up of a prehistoric lake, the Salar de Uyuni is an immense desert, a magical place that disorients and confuses with its whiteness. In addition to being a center of salt extraction of course, the salar (below the surface) is rich in lithium and it is estimated that 50% of the world's lithium deposits are located right here! For me, visiting it was a dream and I can't wait to go back! Find all the info on how to visit it in the article In Bolivia: my 4-day tour to the Salar de Uyuni.
5) Gobi Desert (Mongolia)
This suggestive name, almost from a science fiction movie, indicates the fifth largest desert in the world, and extends over 3600 km, without interruption, from the Pamir to the borders of Manchuria. Although summer temperatures can reach 60 ° C, the Gobi is a cold desert, because it is located on a plateau, and in winter it is not unusual to see the sand dunes covered with snow. The Gobi desert hides a real treasure in paleontological terms, there are frequent finds of dinosaur skeletons dating back to 80 million years ago, but the real attraction are the spectacular Khongoryn Els, majestic sand dunes that hiss when they are whipped by the wind . Of the 6 deserts it is the only one I haven't visited yet, despite having been in Mongolia when I went there Trans-Siberian. I'll absolutely have to fix it !!
6) Atacama Desert (Chile)
Among the most fascinating deserts in the world, he could not be missing, probably my favorite (but it's a good fight!), Or the Atacama desert in northern Chile. This desert is one of the driest coastal deserts in the world: in 1971 it was estimated that rain had not fallen on this area for about 400 years, and it is fifty times drier than Death Valley American! It is thanks to this extraordinary clarity of the sky and the total absence of humidity in the air that the Atacama Desert is the ideal place for stargazing. It is no coincidence that most of the telescopes on the planet are located right here. As you will understand if you read my article Travel to northern Chile: from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama I could have stayed here for months !! Simply magnificent !!!