Travel to Iran

Day 7 Kerman - Lut desert

At first time in the morning Amir Moghaddam picks us up with his 4wd, the guide that we have hired to guide us during the next 3 days. We left Kerman in the direction of the Lut desert. To do this we take Highway 84 and the Sirch road, and climb up through the tunnel located at 2,700 meters, and from there we go down to reach Shahdad, the most important town before entering the desert. From Shahdad there is a main road that crosses the desert from north to south on its west side. We move along a secondary road, more beautiful because it crosses through small villages such as Shafiabad, each one with its beautiful palm groves.

Dasht-e Lut

Dasht-e Lut

(in 112 km.) Dasht-e Lut: The Lut Desert, widely referred to as Dasht-e Lut, is a large salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan. It is the world´s 27th-largest desert, and was inscribed on UNESCO´s World Heritage List on July 17, 2016. Iran´s geography consists of a plateau surrounded by mountains and divided into drainage basins. Dasht-e Loot is one of the largest of these desert basins, 480 kilometers (300 mi) long and 320 kilometers (200 mi) wide, and is considered to be one of the driest places on Earth. Measurements of NASA testify that the hottest land surface on Earth is located in Dasht-e Lut and land surface temperatures reach here 70.7 °C (159.3 °F).

Dasht-e Lut

Dasht-e Lut

We spent the whole day visiting a part of the Lut desert called the Kaluts. The zone of the kaluts has an extension of 120 km in length by 80 in width. The Kaluts are clay formations that over the years have been eroded by the action of the wind, creating formations of the most variegated. In addition, sand dunes are interspersed among all these formations. This mixture of clay formations and sand dunes is what gives the Kaluts desert such a special charm. It is a mixture of colors, the browns and grays of the sand with the reddish ones of the clay. We dedicate the morning to travel with the Amir's 4wd the southern area of the Kaluts and some small walks on foot. At noon we eat at the ecolodge where we will spend the next night.

Dasht-e Lut

Dasht-e Lut

Kaluts is the local name used to refer to the yardangs. A yardang is a rock formation molded mainly by erosion caused by the wind that, in this case, almost always blows from the same point. The rock in question is lengthening and taking different shapes that with the pass ot the time may form very unusual shapes. The yardangs are formed exclusively in desertic areas, where the wind can move at high speed by lifting large amounts of sand. The impact of the sand grains against the original rock erodes it imperceptibly, in such a way that its effects are only recognizable after several thousand years. With the passage of time, the yardangs end up being completely destroyed and turned into sand.

Dasht-e Lut

Dasht-e Lut

After lunch we go back to the Kaluts, this time through its northern area. Here the limestone formations are different, they look bigger, and in a way they resemble Utah's Monument Valley. Amir takes us to take pictures from the points that he considers most beautiful in the area. It shows us his ability with the car to climb huge sand dunes. In some of the stops we enjoyed the sound of the desert. We close our eyes and the only thing we hear is the sound of the wind. There is little time for the sun to set and Amir tells us that today, being a long weekend of bank holidays, the Kaluts are very crowded. We laugh. We think it's a joke since we have not seen anyone in the whole day. After watching the sunset, we left the Kaluts for the "public" zone (the only road traveled by cars) and there we see some cars, some with very loud music, and a couple of coaches.

Dasht-e Lut

Dasht-e Lut

From the parking lot of the Kaluts we return along the main road to the Ecolodge, where our hostess has dinner ready for us. At night the spectacle of seeing the stars is incredible.