Pure desert: Five tips – from Mongolia to Ras Al-Khaimah


Mongolia: Extreme temperatures in the Gobi

Karge stone landscapes, rugged rocks, salt lakes, steppe, huge shifting dunes: The Gobi impresses with unusual diversity. Located in Central Asia in southeastern Mongolia, it extends into China.

At the same time, it is considered to be the driest area in the world with the largest temperature difference – up to 40 degrees minus in winter and over 35 degrees in the shade in summer. Some species such as Mongolian gazelles, snow leopards or wolves have adapted to the adverse conditions – as well as the few people living here.

The hospitality of the nomads is legendary. Which means: As a visitor one is urged to taste the national drink Airag, fermented mare's milk whose rancid cheesy taste is not for everyone.

Visitors to the Gobi in Mongolia can also stay in typical yurts

Visitors to the Gobi in Mongolia can also stay in typical yurts

Source: Getty Images

The best way to explore the Gobi in Mongolia with a professional organizer – including sleeping in typical yurts and visiting a local family. Geoplan (geoplan-reisen.de) a natural wonder round trip with nights in luxury yurts. A highlight is Khongoryn Elsan, which are the largest sand dunes of Mongolia.

Pegasus riding rides (reiterreisen.com) organizes tours on tough Mongolian horses through fenceless expanses and Bahnurlaub.de a trip with the Trans Mongolian Railway across the Gobi. MGR

Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni – the largest salt desert in the world

Gleaming white under a blue sky as far as the eye can see – covering more than 10,500 square kilometers, the largest salt desert on earth, an unreal landscape on an Andean plateau. Sunglasses are part of the equipment to prevent snow blindness, and UV protection for the skin, due to the sunlamp at over 3650 meters.

The result is the seemingly endless Salar de Uyuni from prehistoric lakes that dried up thousands of years ago. During the rainy season, a salt-level water layer is the world's largest natural mirror, but from June to December, the salt crust is regularly dry.

The Isla del Pescado is one of the special attractions in the Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)

The Isla del Pescado is one of the special attractions in the Salar de Uyuni

Source: Getty Images / imageBROKER RF

From the city of Uyuni jeeps start into the desert. The most comfortable way to explore them is on a luxurious Bolivia tour such as Windrose offers (windrose.de).

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View of heaped salt cones on the Salar de Uyuni in southern Bolivia,

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You will also experience the Salar de Uyuni under the stars and sleep in the “Palacio de Sal”, a hotel with a panorama built of salt blocks. Other attractions include the Isla del Pescado, a giant cactus-covered rise in the White Desert, encounters with local salt miners, the ruins of Pucará de Ayque and pre-Columbian tombs at the foot of the Tunupa volcano. MGR

Oman: Rub al-Khali – the largest sand desert in the world

It is translated as “empty district” and is hardly explored: the Rub al-Khali, the largest sandy desert in the world. It occupies large parts of the Arabian Peninsula and is about the size of Turkey.

The best way to explore the endless sand dunes in comparatively liberal Oman, including trips to the Dhofar region, where grow the world's most frankincense trees.

Oman: The endless sand dunes in Rub al-Khali are easy to explore by car

The endless sand dunes in Rub al-Khali are easy to explore by car

Source: Getty Images

The special tour operator Nomad-Reisen, for example, offers an off-road vehicle expedition with many hikes in ten days, including visits to Bedouins, who have meanwhile settled in permanent settlements (nomad-reisen.de). For climbers, the provider has a camel trekking tour in the program, in which a CO2Compensation payment should help against the bad conscience. VS

Namibia: Camel trekking in the Namib desert

It is thanks to the Germans that there are camels in the Namib – and therefore camel trekking. The Schutztruppe in German Southwest Africa provided dromedaries imported from North Africa during colonial times. On the offspring today tourists can sway from Swakopmund into the desert of Namibia.

If you want to see more, explore the 80 million years oldest desert in the world on foot – Tok Tokkie Trail (toktokkietrails.com) offers three-day guided tours, sleeping on cots under the stars.

Namib Desert in Namibia: The dead trees are characterized by dead trees - some of them over 500 years old

Characteristic of the Dead Vlei are the dead trees – some of them are over 500 years old

Source: Getty Images

If that's too much of a hassle then Namib Sky Ballooning Safaris (balloon-safaris.com) in the hot air balloon, looking at the Namib from above. However, there is no guarantee to see the world's highest sand dunes in the Sossusvlei or the Dead Vlei with the bizarre camel thorn trees, because only the wind determines the direction of flight. BES.

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Emirate Ras Al-Khaimah: Luxury in the desert

Comfort and desert do not match? This is not a contradiction in Ras al-Khaimah. The fourth largest of the seven emirates forming the United Arab Emirates is particularly suitable for desert beginners who want to explore the sandy hinterland for a day, but would like to sleep in their hotel bed in the evening.

Exploring the desert during the day, sleeping in a comfortable hotel bed at night - this is possible in the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah

Explore the desert during the day, sleep in the comfortable hotel bed at night – this is possible in Ras al-Khaimah

Source: Getty Images

Sporty people can, for example, heat down the dunes on sandboards, and those who value an adrenaline rush can rush through the desert into a Bedouin camp with professional drivers in jeeps.

My Holidays Adventures offers such fun tours that include an Arabic buffet and oriental belly dance show. It is not in the desert, but in the hotel, where in the evening at the bar also alcoholic cocktails or a beer are allowed (myholidaysadventures.com). VS

This text is from the WORLD ON SUNDAY. We are happy to deliver it to you regularly.

WORLD SUNDAY 14th July 2019


Desert (t) Desert Holidays (t) Mongolia (t) Bolivia (t) Oman (t) Country Portraits (t) Namibia (t) United Arab Emirates (t) Mongolia (t) Bolivia (t) Oman (t) Panoramic (t) Travel (t) Namibia (t) National Beverage Airag (t) United Arab Emirates (t) Ras Al Khaimah (t) Arab Emirates (t) My Holidays Adventures (t) Salar de Uyuni (t) VS (t) National Park of Gobi (t) BES (t) Jabal Yibir Road


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