Most people don’t consider a desert to be a very exciting place to visit. Most believe there’s little to see and do, the climate is too harsh and there’s probably nowhere nice to stay. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Desert adventures have taken the travel world by storm as more and more travellers are eager to explore the diverse landscapes, extreme terrain and unique activities only a desert could be suitable for.
Perhaps with life as busy as it is; cities constantly buzzing, noise and air pollution at an all time high and the stress levels of most even higher, people want a place to break away from it all. They’re looking for quiet, open space, relaxation, but not without luxury, activity, things to learn and the opportunity to return with a multitude of interesting stories. A trip to the desert is a great way to find all this and more, and if you don’t believe us, take a look at our curated list of the world’s most exhilarating deserts.
Namibia | Kalahari Desert
Namibia, situated in Southern Africa is one of the most exquisite regions in the world. In fact, it’s probably one of the most diverse countries on the planet, in terms of landscape. On one side you’ll find desert dunes that extend for kilometres (think Sossusvlei), while on the other end you’ll find one of the most extreme coastlines on earth, where the waters of the Atlantic Ocean caress the dry desert shoreline. This is known as the Skeleton Coast. Then you have a rather plush region towards the South, which includes places like Windhoek and the city of Swakopmund – which provides the perfect combination of city and desert. In fact, Swakopmund is a favourite to visit as travellers get the best of both worlds including beach activities and water sports, developed city amenities, as well as the thrilling desert activities found just outside Swakopmund. There is plenty of incredible accommodation in Swakopmund, so there’s no reason not to visit. And to end off your trip we’d recommend a trip to Sossusvlei – because you haven’t fully experienced the Kalahari desert until you’ve been to Sossusvlei!
The Atacama Desert in Chile is an extraordinary place. South America in general is an extraordinary place – it’s a rather underdeveloped continent where nature still very much reigns supreme. The Atacama Desert is particularly spectacular because there’s very little life to be found there; very few species are able to endure the harsh environment/climate. The Atacama is actually not as humid as most deserts in the world, but it is the driest. It’s known to have gone without rain for years at a time. For this reason, it’s incredibly desolate and isolating which attracts those looking for just that. But even though there’s little water, people have lived there for years and there are plenty of hostels and places to stay – except you’re unlikely to find a plush five star to kick back and relax. The accommodation on offer is tailored around hiking, exploring and activity, so if you’re eager to walk the desert and hike the volcanoes, Atacama is for you!
Dubai | Saharan Desert
Dubai, if we may, is the ‘New York’ of the UAE. It’s grand, flashy, modern and filled with all the bells and whistles – sky scrapers, the trendiest restaurants, perfect man-made beaches, you name it, it’s got it. For some, this is not overly attractive, but what is attractive is the great expanse of desert the extends across the north of Dubai. The heart of the desert is a mere hour’s drive from the city and is one of the most beautiful deserts with its deep orange hue, soft sands, camels, and in some regions even palm tress. What makes this part of the Sahara so much fun is that there are many modern, but culturally authentic camps scattered throughout that provide top class service and amenities including quad biking, belly-dancing shows, hookah fests and camel riding. It’s perfect for the traveller that enjoys the isolation of the desert, but would still like a cultural experience – and who wouldn’t mind experiencing the electric energy of Dubai’s city centre.
Morocco | Saharan Desert
The Sahara Desert also extends over to Morocco, except this part of it is a little different – even the colour of the sand is different. But the most stark contrast comes in the way of the town and the cultural experiences found here compared to that of Dubai. Morocco is much older than Dubai, of course, and is deeply routed in culture, diversity and history which offers visitors a truly special experience. The town is also incredibly beautiful, filled with Mosaic-covered riad’s and markets. And here in Morocco, the desert is right on your doorstep – literally.