Extreme Destinations: Lut Desert, Iran

Published: 05/01/2015

In our last post, we wrote about the wettest place on the planet: Mawsynram, India. In this post, we want to introduce you to another extreme destination, this time in Iran. It is the Dasht-e Lut desert, known more commonly in the West as simply the Lut Desert. Its claim to fame is that of being the hottest place on the planet.

You may have heard of Saudi Arabia's Death Valley and America's counterpart in eastern California. However, neither compare to Lut in terms of raw heat, lack of water and barrenness. A visit to Lut gives you a good glimpse of what the surface of Mars might be like. Yet despite its hostile environment, plenty of adventurers make the trip to Lut every year.

What You'll Find

The Lut Desert is divided into three distinct sectors:

  • Western – mountainous with few sand dunes
  • Eastern – mostly large sand dunes, very inaccessible at times
  • Central – mostly flat lands with a variety of sand dunes and small hills

What you will not find in Lut is water. Surface temperatures in the desert can reach as high as 70°C – even in the shade – making it nearly impossible for water to accumulate. The result of this lack of water is zero vegetation. It is all about sand and rocks in Lut.

You will also not find much by way of wildlife. There are a limited number of creatures capable of surviving in Lut, but they mostly stay under the stand during the daylight hours. The fact that you will not be visiting at night means you are unlikely to see any of them under normal circumstances. Moreover, if you are thinking of spending the night in Lut, that is probably not a good idea. It is a very unforgiving environment that can quickly become dangerous.

Getting There

Anyone planning a trip to the Lut Desert will be doing so on an individual basis. There are very few, if any, tour groups willing to make the trek. There are also no accommodations in or near the desert. Visitors usually stay Tehran or Kerman, hiring a private guide to take them into Lut. By the way, there is no public transport to the desert either. It is either rent a car and go alone or hire a local to act as a guide.

We should caution that the political environment in Iran is not as stable as it could be. Westerners are always advised to be extremely careful when travelling there, and especially when going into a foreboding environment such as Lut. It is wise to check international travel advisories when planning your trip, and prior to departure. Also, make sure all of your paperwork is in order before you leave.

The Lut Desert is certainly an extreme destination for travellers looking to push themselves to the limits. As the hottest place on earth, visitors walk away with a new appreciation of what it must be like to live in the scorching Middle East. It's not easy, that's for sure.

Posted in: Travel Destinations
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