15 very beautiful deserts that impress with their landscapes
Sand is an amazing substance, so loose and malleable. Landscapes that are shaped by sand are in constant flux and change. There are many vast uninhabited areas on earth with hot and dry climates. We call such areas deserts. Although the flora and fauna here are very scarce, people have always been attracted to deserts for various purposes. Now we will present 15 famous deserts that are striking in their splendor.
When we hear the word “desert” our imagination draws us yellow sandy landscapes, but there are also exceptions. For example, saline deserts that may have no sand at all. One such place is the world-famous Uyuni salt marsh in Bolivia.
The area of this desert is 10.5 thousand square meters; it consists mainly of gypsum, halite and table salt, creating a perfectly flat surface. During the rains, the salt marsh is under a small layer of water, becoming the largest mirror on Earth. However, you will see everything in these photos.
Salar de Uyuni. Bolivia. Source: Picture by Ezequiel Cabrera.
The white sands of Brazil.
The Lencois Maranhenses, as Brazilians call this amazingly beautiful place. It is located in the northeast of the country on the Atlantic coast.
The area of 1,550 km² is covered with white sand dunes, up to 40 meters high, between which during the rains form small ponds. In the heat the reservoirs can reach temperatures of up to 40° C. The dunes move over time and the shallow pools dry up. All this makes the place constantly changing.
By the way, on our website you will find an article about the most beautiful beaches in Brazil.
According to the editors of TopCafe.su, it is one of the most beautiful places on our planet.
Here we wanted to write about several picturesque sandy landscapes in Russia, but studying the subject, we realized that this is the subject of a separate article. It turns out that there are so many beautiful deserts in Russia, each of which has its own trump card!
Photos taken from the site: https://забытаяреальность.рф/yakutskie-tukulany/.
So now let’s focus on a very interesting natural phenomenon – Yakut tukulans. Tukulans are large sand dunes, swept by the winds near the banks of the Lena River. Their appearance is very similar to that of hot desert dunes. The surprising thing is that they are located at the northern latitudes and neighbor the taiga.
The dry valleys of McMurdo.
The Arctic is commonly referred to as a great ice desert. And that is correct. Antarctica can also be called a desert because it is the driest place on the planet. But Antarctica has sandy plains, albeit small! See photos!
These places are the driest on the planet. There was no precipitation here for at least 2 million years. And for about 8 million years they are free of ice. But pretty pictures don’t show how extreme this place can be. In addition to very low temperatures, winds of up to 320 kilometers per hour rage here. Surprisingly, scientists have found no traces of life in the soil of the Dry Valleys. About this and other equally surprising facts about Antarctica on TopCafe.su is an interesting article.
You may have heard about the disappearance of the Aral Sea. This is a great loss for the planet, which has not yet been recovered. Here among the endless sands you can find real ships. It looks just amazing!
This vast desert stretches across northern China and southern Mongolia. This desert is often referred to as the “rain shadow desert” because the Himalayan range blocks all rainfall. It is also the place where the first dinosaur egg and many other remains of ancient animals were found.
There is even an open-air park in the Mongolian part of the desert that features dinosaur skeletons. It is worth trying to explore the dunes of the Gobi Desert on camels, as our ancestors did. Impressions are assured, but be prepared for the changeable climate in these places.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, USA
This park boasts the tallest dunes in all of North America. Some of them reach a height of 230 meters. The vast desert area has been created over the past tens of thousands of years.
The Rio Grande River, along with its waters, brought in all kinds of sediment that formed the desert. However, it is not really a desert. At a shallow depth, the sand is already wet. So there are alpine lakes, streams, meadows and forests in the area. The park offers many hiking options in the most beautiful parts of the desert, but it can get pretty hot in the summer.
Tassilin Adjer, Algeria
Found in the Sahara Desert, the enormous mountain range is a true natural wonder. The unique geological formation is a UNESCO heritage site and forms an extensive national park. Sandstone is the predominant natural material.
The plateau is a favorite tourist destination. The area is often compared to the lunar landscape.
Tassilin-Adjer has an even more important value as a historically significant place. There are many drawings found on the rocks and inside the caves, dating from 2000 to 6000 thousand years BC. This indicates that once this barren area was teeming with life, rivers flowed and all kinds of animals.
Wau en Namus, Libya
Another unique place in the middle of the Sahara Desert in Libya. This area is a volcanic field that stretches for 10 to 20 kilometers. Against the backdrop of the desert, the valley of Wau-en-Namus is clearly visible even from space. The ash gives the crater its color. In the center of the valley is a caldera and volcanic cone, which is the source of the ash.
Also inside the crater are three small lakes of salt water that feed the lush oasis. For centuries it was an important point for caravans to refill their water supplies and rest. Today it is a major attraction in Libya.
Wau-en-Namus is a true wonder of nature, worth seeing at least once in a lifetime. However, tourists should be cautious and responsible when visiting this place, because a lot of damage has already been done by tourists.
Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
This is a divine hidden place located far from the mainland. Six islands make up the archipelago, the main one being Bazaruto Island. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water, dunes constantly driven by the wind and several loggias for comfortable relaxation.
Among the first people to discover this place are paragliders Gavin McClurg and Johnny McDonald. They were so fascinated by the beauty of the place that they rushed to capture it in photographs.
Today it is hard to believe that there can be such an untouched place for recreation. Only the wind and water worked on its creation. The main attractions here are fishing, sailing safaris, water skiing, paragliding and diving.
Rub al-Khali, Arabian Peninsula
One of the largest sand deserts in the world covers a third of the peninsula. The name sounds like “empty quarter” in Arabic. Apparently, this is due to the very hot climate and lifelessness of these places. The largest oil fields in the world are located here. Many tourists and photographers are attracted by this vast and constantly changing landscape. It is a sandy sea in motion.
People come here to ride off-road vehicles and motorcycles. The endless desert allows you to accelerate well and race without much risk.
Maranjab Desert, Kashan, Iran
Outside the ancient city of Aran wa Bidgol, a desert has been discovered that stretches across the province of Isfahan in Iran. Another large city not far from the desert is Kashan. It is full of museums and architectural monuments, but so far it is not popular among tourists, although it has all the conditions for this.
From the city you can go by car into the desert and have a good time. Meanwhile, the city of Kashan itself has a thousand-year history and is a very interesting place.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA
The park is located 1,291 meters above sea level in the Tularosa River basin. White Sands is another natural wonder. The dunes are based on crystalline gypsum, which gives the landscape a dazzling white color. It is the largest dune gypsum deposit in the entire world. What’s interesting is that the dunes move not only by wind, but also by gravity. When the dune reaches its peak, it collapses forward, thereby constantly changing the landscape.
The area is also home to a variety of lizards, rodents and insects that have adapted and are mostly white to blend in with the landscape.
Baja California, Mexico
Mexico is also divided into states. One of these is the state of Baja California, which is located on the peninsula of the same name. The peninsula is washed by the Pacific Ocean, which brings some moisture here, but there is very little rainfall. The main feature of the landscape are the dried-up riverbeds that once flowed out of the San Ignacio Lagoon. When viewed from above, they look like giant dried-up trees.
The desert areas of the state are home to a wide variety of animals, birds, and reptiles. Tourists come here to admire the pristine nature.
Namib Desert, Nimibia
Deadvlei and Sossusvlei are the names of the natural salt pans in the Namib Desert, which are its main attractions in Southwest Africa. The distinctive feature of this place is the red dunes. When you look at this contrasting splendor, it immediately takes your breath away. The dunes were formed by the flow of the Tsauchab River, which flows only once every 5-10 years, but does not reach the Atlantic Ocean and dries up. The mud brought in finally hardens, forming a picturesque landscape against a backdrop of red dunes and scorching sun.
The Namib Desert itself is unique and is the oldest desert on earth. It is one of the most arid places. In this form, as it is now, it is already 80 million years old. The sunsets here are stunning, but don’t go far from the roads and your guide. The vast desert is very treacherous and ruthless to inattentive tourists.
That’s the end of our little review of the beautiful desert places of the world. We are waiting for your comments. Write what places you like, what places you don’t like. And maybe something we managed to surprise you?
Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publication on April 23, 2021.