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The UNESCO listed Lut Desert - The scenic desert of Iran

The UNESCO listed Lut Desert - The scenic desert of Iran

Lut Desert or Dasht-e Lut is a vast salt desert in the southeast of Iran in Kerman and Sistan o Baluchistan provinces. With its amazing landscapes, this desert is the first natural UNESCO World Heritage in Iran.

September 24, 2020

Lut Desert or the Dasht-e Lut is a vast desert with a rich verity of outstanding desert landforms, located in the southeast of Iran. With its hyper-arid climate, this desert is one of the hottest spots on earth and is described as the land of “no life” in some parts, although it has its flora and fauna which survive at this harsh condition, and because of this environmental situation and lack of water, most of the Lut Desert is inaccessible and the western edge is the only settled part. This desert is one of the most scenic deserts of Iran and world and it got inscribed as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Lut Desert: An outstanding geological phenomena

Between June and October, this desert is swept by strong and durable winds which result in amazing examples of ongoing geological processes. Sands transported by the wind create huge sand seas that cover 40 percent of Lut Desert in east and south and are among the world’s best active dune fields with different shapes of sand dunes like star dunes and funnel-shaped dunes. This wind erosion also creates an exceptional type of Yardang/ Kalout (Kalut), which is the best type in the world in terms of height, durability, and extent.

Lut Deseert - Shahdad, Iran

Lut Deseert - Shahdad, Iran

Visiting Lut Desert – Shahdad

For visiting the wonders of the Lut Desert, you should travel to Shahdad city which is located at the western edge of this vast desert and 95 kilometers away from the historical city of Kerman. Shahdad region was a major Bronze Age center where the ancient bronze and many other objects from the prehistoric era are excavated, and historical castles, caravanserais, and qanats are located.

Located 40 kilometers away from the city of Shahdad you will reach the Shahdad Desert which is one of the most spectacular natural attractions someone can witness in a lifetime. This vast silent area is ornamented with Shahdad Kalouts created 20,000 years ago as the result of wind and saltwater erosion. Here all you see is these natural sculptures with amazing shapes and the endless sky with magically vivid colors during sunrise and sunset and millions of stars and meteorites at night. Going further, you will visit more incredible phenomena of the Lut Desert like Rood-e Shoor which is a saltwater river and creates an even more surreal atmosphere and Gandom Beryan. Gandom Beryan is an area covered with black basalt lava rocks and is known as the lowest spot in Iran, and these are the reasons why this very spot has been recorded as the hottest spot on earth in some years. Nebkha (Nebka) is another natural phenomenon of Lut Desert which is located at the edge of this desert. Nebkhas are dunes that are formed around Tamarisk bushes and therefore they are also known as the desert vases!

Lut Desert - Shahdad, Iran

Lut Desert - Shahdad, Iran

Best time to visit Lut Desert

The best time for traveling to Lut Desert is from late February to early June and then from October to the end of November. During the months mentioned, the weather will be fine for the Lut Desert tour, although a light jacket for the night and some light shirts for daytime will come handy.

Where to stay

Camping in the Lut Desert: As your most adventurous choice, camping in the middle of the Shahdad Kalouts is a unique experience, but it is highly suggested that you ask your guide and a local guide to accompany you and take their security tips serious.

Staying at an ecolodge: If you prefer a more comfortable stay, there are now ecolodges available around Shahdad, which have friendly atmospheres and provide simple yet standard services and you can book before you travel to Iran.

Returning to Kerman: Since Shahdad is not far from Kerman, you also have the option to drive back to Kerman after spending the whole day and watching the sunset in the Lut Desert and sleep at your cozy room in the hotel.

Visiting Lut Desert - Shahdad, Iran

Visiting Lut Desert - Shahdad, Iran


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