Want to tap your explorer within and send your comfort zone spinning?
Don’t miss these spectacular desert adventures, from dune-bashing in the Wahiba Sands to sunset camel rides across the Sahara.
From an ancient realm comes horizons new – and we’re ready to jump right in…
Sundowners in the Atacama Desert, Chile
The Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) of Chile’s Atacama Desert is quite unlike anywhere else on earth; an otherworldly landscape that looks remarkably like the surface of the moon. Fittingly, this surreal corner of the planet once served as the training ground for NASA’s Lunar Rover, with a rust-red canvas peppered by shimmering ridges and hidden geological marvels.
Ramble through Devil’s Canyon and the Quebrada de Kari of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt mountains) before gathering for sundowners in the barren and spectacular terrain. Watch the dry salt-drenched lakes come alight in a prism of colour as the sun goes down, over a glass of fine Chilean red.
Dune-bashing and hiking in Wahiba Sands, Oman
With its billowing drifts and golden light, Wahiba Sands is textbook desert territory. This is the land of wandering Bedouins and nomadic explorers; intrepid souls who trekked for miles over the wild frontiers of the Arabian Peninsula, with only their camels for company. So, what better way to pay homage to the timeless setting than with a self-guided desert hike?
At a certain point on our drive here, us Flashpackers ditch the jeep for a wander across the dunes, using a GPS to navigate our way to our Bedouin camp for the night. The next morning, we’ll up the ante with a thrilling spot of dune-bashing. Join us as we go flying over the desert in a series of 4x4s, pitching and turning with the movement of the sands.
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A sunset camel ride in the Sahara, Morocco
When it comes to bucket list territory, a sunset camel ride in the Saharan desert really does trump the rest. Set out on your charges – the time-old “ships of the desert” – just before twilight, to see vast rolling landscape come aglow in a blaze of pink and gold. At a certain point, we’ll stop for sundowners to drink in the full drama of the natural amphitheatre we find ourselves in.
We then continue onwards to our cinematic-style desert retreat, complete with boutique tents and a candlelit dinner under the stars. A private chef will treat you to a taste of Morocco’s finest cuisine before a night of traditional live music and dancing.
Glamping in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
If it’s Lawrence of Arabia territory you’re after, look no further than the magnificent craters of Jordan’s Wadi Rum. From the moment you enter this ancient sphere, you can’t fail to be spellbound by the deep desert chasms and naturally-formed bridges that have remained unchanged over thousands of years.
We’ll spend a good few hours getting under the skin of our desert backdrop, scrambling up cliffs to admire sweeping views and racing down the towering dunes in our fleet of open-top jeeps. Then it’s time to retire to our Bedouin camp for the night, followed by an early dawn rise for a sunrise camel ride.
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See the meerkats of Klein Karoo, South Africa
Our amble along South Africa’s lovely Garden Route meanders inward a little to take in the delights of Klein Karoo. This semi-arid desert is markedly different to the breezy coastal stretches of the Western Cape, with dry open plains pocketed by low-lying mountains.
This is ostrich territory and it’s also the homeland of our friends the meerkats. These elusive creatures are best spotted in the early morning so after a stay at De Zeekoe Guest Farm (a secluded guest farm with its own swimming pool), rise before light to see the meerkats emerge from their burrows and survey their natural habitat. It’s a special moment indeed…
Images: Flash Pack and Shutterstock