The Lut Desert, a different Iran
A trip to Iran is one that is on many people’s ‘must do’ lists, but ask them what they want to do there, and you will invariably here about the ruins of Persepolis and other historical areas. The attraction is understandable, how often do you get to walk through the history of civilization after all?
However, Iran is a large, diverse country that has so much to offer, and even if you are looking for a real adventure, instead of heading to Shiraz and the heart of the Persian Empire, the Lut Desert offers something very different. Named Dasht-e Lut by the locals, a trip here takes you somewhere unique, with scenery that looks like it belongs on another planet, the fossilized dune fields standing tall, reminiscent of the man-made ruins in other parts of the country, but here, they are the ruins of the planet itself.
The desert is unforgiving, but it brings with it such sights of beauty and awe that it really is as inspiring as even the ancient ruins of the birth of civilization, and while it may not be the first thing most people think about when they discuss a trip to Iran, it is as rewarding and memorable as the traditional tourist visit. Maybe even more so, because it is something so very different.
From the vast, seemingly endless Mega-Dunes on the eastern edge to the Kalut Valleys on the west, it is a place that will amaze and challenge you in equal measure. There are several ways to explore the Lut Desert, but perhaps the most adventurous is an organized Trek from one side to the other. While the trip is challenging, with guides and support vehicles for backup, it gives you the taste of adventure while minimizing your risk. Travelling from East to West, it takes in all the main sites, from those Mega-Dunes, through the fossilized escarpments in the otherworldly Eye of the Lut and the Star Dunes, to the rocky and daunting Kalut Fields, with its escarpments jutting out of the ground like giant anthills.
The entire desert is unlike anywhere else on Earth, beautiful, desolate, challenging and awe-inspiring in equal measure, this is an experience that you will find nowhere else in the world but Iran. A trip across the desert will leave you with memories that last a lifetime, even a glimpse into the sheer diversity of the world we call home. With its fossilized outcrops, it even lets us see what our world looked like when the very first men walked upright, and the determination to survive they must have had. Most visits to Iran give us a glimpse into the history of Persia, but take on the challenge of Dasht-e Lut, and you get a glimpse into the history of the world itself.
For your trip to Iran, there is much more than a trek around tourist attractions, this vibrant and diverse country has something for everyone. Don’t dismiss Iran until you have a look at just what you can do there.