Deserts are a true wonder among the world’s vast lands and natural realm; a place where people can have leisurely activities, ride camels and desert sleds, relax by the fire, observe the sky, study the natural habitat, and many more. One of the top and renowned deserts in the world is the Lut Desert of Iran, or simply known as Dasht e Lut.
During summer, the Lut desert is one of the hottest locations on earth and has broken the world’s record for its peculiarity. The Lut desert is also marked as a World Heritage site in Iran by UNESCO. Lut Desert is a spectacular spot covered in wavy brown dunes full of opportunities with numerous exhilarating activities awaiting daring visitors.
Where is Lut Desert?
The vast Lut desert is located in the southeast of Iran and is so enormous that it expands across three different provinces in Iran that are Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, and Western Khorasan province.
This large arid land stretches from the north to the south, and from the western side, it starts in the Nayband fault to the Nahbandan fault located on the eastern side of the desert.
The Area of the Lut Desert
The serene Lut Desert of Iran is 900 kilometers in length and 300 kilometers in breadth. If you see the Lut desert map, you will notice that almost 70 percent of the Lut desert is located in the Kerman province and the other 30 percent in the other provinces.
The total area of the Lut desert is around 20,000 square miles, and it’s the second largest desert in Iran after the Dashte-e Kavir desert. Lut desert takes up to ten percent of the area of the country and has become a renowned place for visitors who enjoy exciting desert activities.
Lut Desert Climate
The Lut desert was recognized as the hottest place on earth from 2003 to 2010, with a temperature of 70.7 °C (159.3 °F). Although, the temperature drops during the night. From June to October, the desert encounters strong winds that move sediments around and cause aeolian erosions on a large scale.
For this reason, the movement of sand in the desert brings forth some of the best dunes, land formations, and yardangs in the world. The Lut desert is located in an interior basin that is surrounded by large mountains.
Its climate is hyper-arid, which means that the desert is very dry, however, recent studies showed the presence of rain and water has increased significantly in the Lut desert.
The Lut desert weather is hot during the day, but at night, the temperature drops so low that some visitors may feel very cold. Unlike the hot climate of the desert, the winds and rain may be extremely harsh with luminous thunderstorms.
These blustery winds and sandstorms help clear the sky at night to a point where you will feel like the sky full of stars is touching your eyes!
The reason for the low temperature at night is the lack of water in the desert. Because there is no water evaporation, the climate varies from day to night and causes a tremendous change in the weather.
Does anyone live in the Lut Desert?
Living permanently in harsh conditions is certainly not possible for a person, and this region is imaged as a location with no living organisms.
However, the Lut desert possesses notable fauna and flora that have adapted to these conditions over the passing years. Scientists and biologists have discovered certain living organisms (such as small crustaceans) swimming inside the Lut Lakes.
Why is the Lut Desert the hottest place on earth?
Lut Desert temperature is constantly shifting; therefore, it is impossible to regard the Lut Desert as the hottest place on Earth.
Even though this large Iranian desert has been one of the hottest spots on Earth, its temperature will change from time to time.
However, in 2005, NASA recorded the Lut desert temperature to be around 80 degrees Celsius. According to Parviz Kardavani, an Iranian geographer, the central crater of the Lut desert, which is approximately 75 kilometers from the Shahdad region, is the hottest location on Earth.
The combination of metals on the surface of the ground and darker sand dunes is the reason for the high temperature of the Lut desert. Nevertheless, with the recorded temperature by NASA, the Lut desert has not had any scientific reports with a similar climate since its previous reports.
Lut Desert Tourism
The vastness of the desert and its diverse geographical regions have provided a large place for visitors to perform various activities and participate in countless desert tours.
Lut desert boasts exotic and distinctive areas for desert lovers. Some of the best areas for desert tourism are in the Shahdad region and the Kerman yardangs.
Observing The Night Sky
Dasht-e Lut is one of the most outstanding locations for observing the night sky. Astronomers and campers often visit this massive plateau to watch the night sky filled with millions of stars, including the glowing Milky Way.
During summer, winds blow across the desert, thus clearing the sky and creating a perfect opportunity for sky observations. Astronomical desert tours take place in the Lut desert annually, where visitors bring advanced telescopes to study and observe the enchanting galaxies.
Lut Desert Lakes
You would not believe that a place with such an extreme climate would embrace a large lake. But it is true! The dried river beds in the desert show that in the past, water was present in this place, and over time, due to climate change, these giant ancient lakes and rivers have dried up.
Now, these riverbeds are sometimes filled with little water during the rainy seasons. In the Southeastern parts of the desert, where we reach a salt lake, the climate is found to be more humid. Experts are still discovering rare living organisms in the desert lakes.
Safari, Cycling, and Riding Motorbikes
One of the most common and exhilarating desert activities is safari and riding motorbikes on the orange sand dunes. With the largest dunes, ridges, and yardangs that extend up to 40 kilometers, the Lut desert is an extraordinary spot for activities for adrenaline junkies and thrillseekers.
Walking in the protected areas of the desert, you will see groups of racers and cyclists competing and riding over the bare sand. Campers and adventurers visit the Lut desert often and cherish the unforgettable off-road ride on this picturesque large plateau.
Not only you can get a chance to experience riding cars, bikes, and bicycles, but also encounter thrilling camel riding activities.
A guide will help you around and lead you ahead with the camels while you watch the striking scenery and ride the camels. It surely is a special opportunity to confront the ancient past in this distinguished location on Earth.
Have a chance to take the best desert shots in Iran. You can take the most perfect scenic pictures with your camera. The large land formations, river bed trails, camels, bikers and racers, native fauna and flora, the ancient historic cities found in the Lut desert, and the hotels are some of the top things to take a photo of.
The next time you decide to visit a place, you can add the captivating Lut desert to your list and bring your camera with you.
Lut Desert Accommodations
Here is the list of Lut Desert Accommodations:
Shahdad Desert Campers
The unique-looking Shahdad camps were successfully opened around twenty years ago for tourists and journeyers to reside peacefully during their stay in the desert.
The campers are made out of woven palm tree barks and leaves, which offer rooms for forty guests in total with electricity, taps for drinking water, a supermarket for essential products, washrooms, and showers.
The campers are also in contact with the emergency services in case of an urgent matter. Please note that, due to the harsh weather conditions of the desert, the desert camp may close at a specific time of the year, so please double-check with the camp to ensure that their services are available for you.
Lut Star Eco-Camp
In recent years, a convenient Eco-camp has been set up for all visitors to enjoy their stay in the Grand Lut Desert. Lut Star Eco-camp holds up to 80 beds.
The camp is located in the east of the ancient city of Shahdad inside a village called “Malek-Abad”. The facilities of this Eco-camp include a parking lot, internet connections, a coffee shop, and a tour guide to help you find the best locations in the Lut desert.
Inside the Lut desert are situated multiple places of stay, such as hotels, eco-camps, and other accommodations. Based on your preferences, you can choose your favorite shelter.
Some of the other best places we recommend are Kashkilo Eco-camp Shahdad, Baba Ata Hotel, Payab Hotel, Aghigh Eco-camp, Kaloot Eco-camp, Gandom Beriyan Eco-camp, Toranj Eco-camp, and Hoor-Banoo Eco-camp.
Lut Desert Facts
Here are some interesting facts about the Lut Desert:
The Lut desert was once a place of residence in ancient Persia. In 2,500 B.C., the arid Lut desert was home to a thriving civilization called the ancient city of Shahdad.
Today, this area is known as the Shahdad region. Another enormous prehistoric city belonging to the Bronze Age was also excavated by archeologists in the eastern part of the Lut desert, which went by the name of Shahr-i-Sokhta.
This city was marked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014. It has been regarded as a highly valuable location to the Iranian heritage.
Killer of all Microorganisms
Dasht-e Lut is full of mysteries and has many regions that no man has ever walked through. On the other hand, the desert bears incredible features.
As an example, many experts claim that due to the extreme temperatures of central areas of the Lut desert, no bacteria are able to survive in this climate, and it will result in their death.
Discovery of other Ancient Civilizations
In a region called “Zangi Ahmad”, a place deprived of any water or flora, an archeological site in the shape of a ruined tower is to be seen, and around it, colored glass and artifacts (pottery) were found by archeologists.
The Jurassic Period
Moreover, in recent years, a fossil of a dinosaur nail was discovered in the Lut desert, which is still undergoing research by experts.
This giant endless Lut desert of Iran bears hundreds of mysterious stories that are yet to be discovered.
Why is the desert called “Lut”?
The word “Lut” translates to the word “barren” in English. Archeologists claim that before the history of mankind, the Lut desert was the heart of a large sea called “Tis”.
Eventually, the climates changed, and the sea dried up, leaving a massive amount of sea salt on the barren land. Though the story may not be one hundred percent authentic, there has been evidence showing the existence of historical civilizations and cities under the dunes and landforms of the Lut desert.
After the discovery of this giant arid property, Iranians decided to name this desert “Lut” due to the lack of life forms in the desert and its barren grounds.
Lut Desert UNESCO
As mentioned above, the Grand Lut desert is remarked as a greatly valuable location pertaining to thousands of years ago. Hence, it was included in the list of World Heritage sites as the 33rd world’s largest desert by UNESCO on July 17th, 2016.
Dasht-e Lut is truly a mysterious place with a buried history that is yet to be found by historians. It features many activities for adventurers. You can participate in racing competitions, go on a safari, relax by the fire and camp, ride camels, stroll around the dunes, and take the most striking images.
You wouldn’t have to worry about the limitations of your journey since there are numerous accommodations for you to choose from and enjoy the desert view. If you are fond of watching the night sky in a desert, the Lut desert of Iran will be an excellent location for you.
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