Thinking about Iran, you may imagine it as a vast desert without any tree where people move using camels. Thanks to western media propaganda, this is the first image most of westerner who have little information about Iran or have not travelled to Iran may have. Though this image is wrong, part of it is correct; Iran has vast deserts forming most of its central regions. So without an Iran desert tour, your trip to Iran would miss an integral part for sure.
Iran has two deserts; Dasht-e Lut, located mostly in South Khorasan, Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman provinces, and Dasht-e Kavir, the bigger one which encompasses provinces like Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Kerman, Yazd, and Markazi. Iran deserts cover almost 25 percents of the country’s land area.
Breathtaking landscapes created by wind erosion, rich flora and fauna, salt lakes, beautiful sunny days and starry night sky, golden sand dunes, historical caravanserais, ancient villages with renovated eco-lodges and qanats will make your Iran desert tours a lifelong memory. Here we mention just some of these destinations you will definitely like in your Iran desert tours.
Varzaneh, named after a village south of the desert, is located 100 km east of Isfahan city. Its sand dunes resting beneath sunlight move smoothly with wind and create interesting shapes. What makes Varzaneh a good option especially for those who have not enough time to spend for a night stay in desert, is that it is one of the most accessible deserts of Iran.
You can easily get to Varzaneh even by your own car and spend a half day enjoying its tranquility and beauty. Then you can continue your trip or spend a night in Varzaneh city in its guest houses. However, getting to Varzaneh, our recommendation is to visit Gavkhoni Wetland and also Varzaneh City and its grand historical mosque, bridge and pigeon tower. It is also interesting to see women wearing white chadors in Varzaneh unlike the rest of Iran.
One of the most beautiful natural landscapes of Iran, Kalout Shahdad, is located in the middle of Lut Desert. Reaching to Shahdad, looking from a distance, you will see a deserted city with skyscrapers scattered around it. But they are actually duns created in thousand year by wind and natural forces. These natural structures make this desert a unique one in Iran. Travelling to Kerman, Shahdad is a must-visit but not in August as one of the hottest places on earth, Gandom Beryan, is located in Dasht-e Lut Desert near Kalout Shahdad.
Maranjab Desert is a popular desert destination for Iranians. Like Varzaneh, it is located in Isfahan Province. The desert is accessible both from Tehran and Isfahan and provides you with a unique stay in a historical caravanserai located in the middle of desert. Looking at the vast desert landscape from hilltops, you may be lucky to see the wandering lake, which seems to appear in different places throughout a day. Though the desert is one of the most available ones in Iran, it is highly recommended not to drive there alone, it is better to get a tour to Maranjab desert or at least have accompanies.
Located in Khur Biabanak County, Isfahan Province, Garmeh is a real oasis. Garmeh Village with green palm trees, near the desert, would probably make your experience here one of the most queer ones you may have in Iran. Garmeh is known for its traditional houses hosting tourists, one of which is Ateshooni. You may be lucky to watch the house’s owner, Maziar’s musical performance during your stay here, an experience which mesmerizes visitors. If you enjoyed your stay here, you may want to go to a nearby village, Mesr and experience a totally different experience with a warm and friendly family in Barandaz lodge.
Khar Turan National Park
The last but not the least desert area we want to talk about is Khar Turan. A wildlife refuge, it is located in Semnan Province and is home to Asiatic Cheetah, an endangered specie. With historical villages like Ghale Bala and Reza Abad, what makes Khar Touran a must-see is not just its natural landscapes but the opportunity it provides especially for nature lovers to see a variety of animals. Gifted with rich flora and fauna, as a protected area and the second largest biosphere reserve on the planet, you should have permission to visit the area and see its wildlife including Asian Zebra, Caracal, Mouflons, and White Wagtail.
Depending on the time of your Iran desert tour, staying at Reza Abad Village, you may be also lucky to visit nomads and spend a night in their tents.
These are just some of Iran deserts you can enjoy during your Iran travel. Considering the fact that most of them are located in the province on the classic route, you can easily include an Iran desert tour on your itinerary.