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4 Less-Known Deserts to Explore in Iran

  • Mehdi 

Iran is a multi-ecosystem country meaning that it has hot & dry climates, humid & mild climates, and cold climates. That is actually why Iran has an all-season ecosystem almost all over the country. One of the natural attractions in Iran is exploring the vast deserts in the central part of Iran. There is Loot Desert, Central Desert, and many others that are holding the record for being the hottest deserts in the world.

Besides the world-known deserts in Iran like Loot, Mesr, Maranjab, and Daq-e-Rostam desert, there are many others that are less-known with there are a lot of rooms to explore. Here, I told you my pictorial story of 4 unique adventures I had when I explored 4 of the less-known and intact deserts in Iran, untouched by no ordinary tourists.

1. Haj Ali Gholi Sal-Flats near Damqan

Haj Ali Gholi Salt Flats & Desert near Damghan

Just about 40 to 50 km south of Damghan city in Semnan province, there is a vast salt flat called Haj Ali Gholi. It is a perfect mixture of a dried-out salt flat with the central Iran desert ecosystem.

Haj Ali Gholi Salt Flats & Desert near Damghan

Haj Ali Gholi is one of the few locations in Iran, and I think in the world where you can actually see the curvature of the Earth because there is nothing in the far distance that blocks the view, so you can see the horizon and the curvature of the planet. Flat Earth debunked!

Sunset in Haj Ali Gholi Salt Flats & Desert near Damghan

On my adventures, I usually stay the night on the desert, looking at the horizon as the sun sets. It is a perfect scenery to gaze at and take a few photographs.

2. Ardame Desert near Neyshabour

Ardameh Desert near Neyshabour

Ardame Desert near Neyshabour city in Razavi-Khorasan province is actually a small desert-like ecosystem that lefts a lot of spots if you look at it from Google Map. Ardame desert is a long ribbon of dunes dotted across the Ardame locale.

Ardameh Desert near Neyshabour

Ardame and the deserts like this are close desert ecosystems that are constantly bombarded by harsh winds that take the sands up into the air and circle it around the dune where it lands, so the desert will always exist and dunes never vanish. However, they relocate eventually but not in the next millions of years!

Ardameh Desert near Neyshabour

Ardame desert is not known because it is actually very small to be spotted easily on the maps and not many people apart from locals of Ardame know of its existence. If you decide to go on an adventure to Ardame, then don’t forget to pack wind covers, masks, and a pair of sealed goggles so sand particles don’t fly into your eyes.

3. Halvan Desert near Tabas

Halvan Desert near Tabas

Halvan Desert is just about other deserts in Iran. It is located near Tabas city in Yazd province and it is a good place to stay a few nights. It’s safe for adventure if you have proper equipment.

Halvan Desert near Tabas

The Halvan desert itself isn’t special in an extraordinary way. It has sands and a lot of dunes where you can climb and roll down to have a lot of fun. What makes this less-known desert a special one are the secrets that are laid on the way of the desert and in the center of the desert.

Old Caravansary in Halvan Desert near Tabas

If you take the main road from Tabas city to Halvan desert, you can’t miss the old caravansary on you right a few minutes when you take off the road to the desert. It is a historical caravansary that has a very big yard surrounded by a lot of small rooms. The picture above tells you how big & awesome this place is. The fun doesn’t end there. Around this old landmark, there are a lot of other mysterious that you can explore, like the old Qanat with fresh drinking water!

Pir-e-Hajat Historical Village in Halvan Desert near Tabas

Another secret that makes Halvan a special desert is the historical village of Pir-e-Hajat that is located roughly in the center of the desert. It is a big village with a lot of landmarks like a historical stronghold and a lot of old houses. The village is still populated you can find different facilities like stores to restock, a public bath-house to refresh, and drinking to refill your water bottles.

4. Mokhtarun Desert near Birjand

Mokhtarun Desert near Birjand

The last desert that I’m going to talk is called the Mokhtarun Desert or Daq-e-Mokhtarun by locals. It is actually one of the places that just a few people know about its existence. It is a small desert near Birjand City that is surrounded by fertile soil. It is an odd kind of ecosystem. You are walking on fertile grounds when suddenly everything changes into a desert with high dunes and running sands.

Mokhtarun Desert near Birjand

Mokhtarun desert is not easily accessible by normal cars. Even if you have a fully equipped off-roader, you may get stuck in the sands. That is why when I decided to explore this place, I went there by car. Left the car at the edge of the desert where the ground is hard and continued my way on an ATV. It a lot more fun riding a quad bike on running sands and climbing dunes.

Mokhtarun Desert near Birjand

My kind of fun in exploring deserts around Iran is to stay a few nights there and enjoy the silence and the dark sky with all the stars. However, this desert is home to two dangerous animals: Wolves & Hyenas. If you wanted to explore Mokhtarun desert, make sure to have an armed local with you or carry animal scarer flashlights, civilian-grade flashbangs, or anything that makes loud noises to scare them ways and buy time to go to a safe location.

Finishing Thoughts

There are a lot of deserts to explore in Iran. Among them, there are a lot of famous and world-known deserts that thousands of tourists across the world visit every year. But there are examples of less-known deserts like I talked about in this article, where you can explore and have a lot of fun spending a few nights in the total silence and total darkness of an intact desert.

The 4 deserts that I talked about are just a few of hundreds of less-known deserts perfect for exploration and adventure. If you like to visit any of these deserts, please let me know in the comment section so I can provide you with more information. Also, don’t forget to tell me which of these deserts are your favorite one and which one do you want to visit first.

Thanks & Have Fun!

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