The 16 Most Spectacular Deserts of The World

Deserts are generally considered to be hot places. However, deserts that are in the middle of the mountains may be very cold in the summer months. The desert isn’t just a place to make deserts, it’s also a place to go on adventures and visit different cultures

Deserts are generally made of sand, but they can also include other materials such as salt, water, and even ice. They’re also home to many animals that live there. Deserts are usually dry, but they can also be wet depending on the amount of rainfall. Deserts are also home to different plants, including cacti and palm trees. How many deserts are there?

There are 23 deserts in the world. Let’s start with the spectacular ones.


Namib Desert – Africa

The Sahara desert stretches for more than 2,300 miles (3,611 kilometers) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. It’s the largest desert in the world, and it spans three countries. It is situated along the Atlantic Coast of Africa in the Countries of Namibia, Angola, and South Africa. Despite being a desert, the land is inhabited by an impressive array of flora and fauna, including elephants called “desert” elephants that can go days without water.


Atacama Desert – South America

It’s located west of the Andes mountain range and along the Pacific Ocean in Peru and Chile, the Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth. The Sahara Desert has been a vast barren land for hundreds of years. Since the record-keeping began, it has not seen a drop of rain. There are so many things to see and do here, and it can be a bit difficult to decide where to start. Located in the Mojave Desert and covering an area of nearly 9,000 square miles (22,800 square kilometers), Death Valley is the lowest elevation in North America. Due to its location along the coast, the Atacama Desert is cooler than most deserts and is frequently covered with fog.


Sahara Desert – Africa

Covering most of northern Africa – over 3.6 million square miles – the Sahara Desert is the third-largest desert on the planet, and the largest hot desert. Most people think of the beautiful sand dunes found in the Sahara Desert, but these are only a small portion of what there is to see in that part of Africa. There are two major types of landscapes in Africa – dryland and moist land. The land which consists of mainly rocky plateau is known as the Hamada in West Africa, while the rest of the continent is a region known as the Sahel. You’ll find small patches of green grassy land, desert shrubbery, rocky cliffs, snow-capped mountains, and salt flats. The Sahara Desert is home to an impressive array of flora and fauna. It includes foxes, which are common throughout the Sahara.


Gobi Desert – China/Mongolia

The Gobi desert is a huge, barren wilderness where temperatures can reach over 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and it has nothing to do with the cartoon character. Silk Road was an ancient trade route that ran from China to Europe through Central Asia. It is famous for its role in the Mongol Empire and important stops along the Silk Road. If you travel in India, one of the greatest experiences you can have is to go on an adventure trip to the Gobi Desert where temperatures of over 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) are the norm during the summer months. The temperature can drop to below -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F) in the winter. You can take a side-trip to China’s Dabaozhang fossil site. There you’ll see fossils of prehistoric animals, such as giant dinosaurs, and animals like Bactrian camels, Siberian ibex, and Gobi brown bears.


Mojave Desert – Nevada/California

The Mojave Desert covers parts of southern California and southern Nevada. It also includes small portions of northern and western Arizona and southwestern Utah. The best dessert in the United States is located in California. It’s called Death Valley, and it’s a highly high desert. However, within the Mojave Desert is Death Valley’s much more arid place. It’s only 86 feet (27 meters) above sea level. The Mojave Desert in Southern California is also home to the stunning Valley of Fire State Park and many towns and museums, making it a trendy tourist destination.


Antarctic Desert – Antarctica

It’s winter darkness, cold, and ice here in the continent of Antarctica. These are some of the words used to describe this area. The best things to eat are dessert and bread. And, you can add a dessert to your list of things to eat. Indeed, Antarctica is the southernmost part of the world that does not receive sufficient rainfall to be classified as anything other than a desert. We got little snow, but it turned into ice and then disappeared. You won’t find any flowers or trees in this place. It’s all made up of moss and algae. For those who want to see what these incredible creatures really look like, you will be able to see orcas, seals, and, of course, penguins.


Sonoran Desert – USA/Mexico

The Sonoran Desert, which lies in portions of Arizona, California, and Mexico, is a beautiful landscape brimming with endemic fauna and flora. The Saguaro and Organ Pipe cacti are two of the main attractions, along with the yucca plant, which looks like a giant turnip and flourishes in the desert. With many Native American tribes calling the area home and cities such as Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona is the perfect place for a family vacation. Some popular national parks include the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, where you’ll find many national monuments and nature preserves, such as the Kaibab National Forest. You’ll also find deserts, like the Mojave Desert.


Thar Desert – India/Pakistan

Also called the Great Indian Desert, the Thar Desert is a sand desert located in northwest India and part of eastern Pakistan. The most populous desert in the world is the Sahara Desert, which covers an area of approximately 17 million square kilometers. It’s home to 83 people per square kilometer. There are no major roads leading in or out of the Badlands National Park, so it’s accessible only by helicopter, small aircraft, and ATVs. However, there are miles of hiking trails to explore, and you can drive to different areas of the park if you’re feeling adventurous. The biodiversity in the area around the Vrindavan Temple is incredible. With over 140 bird species, 23 species of lizards, and 25 species of snakes, there’s a whole lot to see and do.


Rub’ al Khali – Saudi Arabia

Rub’ Al Khali or The Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert in the world. It covers 225,000 square miles (583,000 square kilometers). You’ll learn all about this fascinating region of the Arabian Peninsula with fascinating facts and figures about its history, geography, and climate. The name ‘Empty Quarter’ is appropriate given its harsh environment, which does not allow much of anything to thrive there. However, it’s important to note that it does not detract from its beauty.


Tabernas Desert – Spain

The Tabernas Desert is known as ‘mainland Europe‘s only desert.’ It’s located in southeastern Spain, north of Almería. If you’re looking for a place where you can see a lot of movies, then consider visiting the Western parts of France and Italy. There are plenty of charming towns, and you’ll find lots of locations where you can see some memorable films. Although it’s not like the deserts in the Middle East, this desert is home to a number of different species of reptiles, amphibians, and birds.


Taklamakan Desert – Central Asia

China’s Taklamakan Desert is the second-largest shifting-sand desert in the world. It covers an area of 120,000 square miles (300,000 square kilometres) and is located in the middle of the country. I was born and raised in a desert. The only place for water is the oasis. But if you live there, it is also the land of heat and sand storms. Even though people were using the Silk Road to trade in the far reaches of the desert, they tried to avoid the area.


Pinnacles Desert – Australia

The Pinnacles desert a Namboung National Park. Western Australia, 2012.

Located not far from the coast of southwest Australia are thousands of limestone pillars that rise from the shifting yellow sands.  There are many types of columns, some are smooth-sided, others have sharp, pointed edges, and some look like tombstones. This is the Pinnacles Desert, a part of the Nambung National Park, which is roughly 200 kilometres north of Perth.

The incredible natural limestone formations are formed approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago after the sea receded and left deposits of seashells. After a long period of exposure to the elements, the pillars were exposed. As the wind blew away the sand, only the pillars remained.

The Pinnacles were formed when the San Gabriel fault pushed the San Andreas fault forward. This caused the San Andreas fault to push up into the mountains and form the cliffs. Some of the oldest artefacts found in North America are 6,000 years old and were discovered by archaeologists in the Pinnacles Desert. They were probably left there long ago by an ancient civilization that, unfortunately, has yet to be identified. This tends to suggest that the Pinnacles were exposed about 6,000 years ago and then covered up by shifting sands, but that there was a shift to the present configuration about 200 years ago. You can see the process of wind moving through the Pinnacles Desert today.

In the north, the winds bring sand from higher elevations down into the valleys and along the edges of the cliffs. The southern winds then bring the sand from the lower elevations up the cliffs and towards the centre of the canyons. Time marches on and eventually, the tall, slender limestone spires will be buried by new sand and their strange shapes will be hidden from view. It’s fascinating to watch how nature continues to play with the landscape, over and over.


Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia

Located at the high elevation of 11,985 feet (or 3,653 meters) above sea level, the Salar de Uyuni is a magnificent and stunning sight of what time and Mother Nature can create. You don’t want to miss a chance to visit this beauty.


Dasht-e Kavir – Iran

Located on the Middle East’s western side, the Dasht-e Kavir, also known as the Great Salt Desert, is known for its salt marshes (kavirs), and of course, mud. The Saltmarsh is a unique wildlife habitat area, with a landscape of salt mounds created when the underground salt layers forced their way through the mud and rocks to the top. The land is dangerous, as it is difficult to get out of if you were to fall in. Because of this, the area is very uninhabited except for the mountainous regions.


Chihuahuan Desert – New Mexico

If you’ve ever driven along Highway 10, you’ve seen the stunning scenery of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America. It has some amazing plants and animals that you should see if you get the chance. The Arizona rainbow cactus and grey fox are both native to Arizona, and they are often seen together in the wild. If you’re looking for a must-see, look no further than the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, which displays white gypsum sand dunes.


White Desert, Farafra – Egypt

Farafra, Egypt lies north of the White Desert National Park. It’s a picturesque display of what nature can do. One of the most spectacular sights to behold in the Sahara Desert is the Erg Chigaga Dunes in Mauritania, located in the south of the Sahara Desert. It consists of an area of sand dunes stretching for over 100 kilometres in length. The area is about 300 meters high, and the terrain is dotted with rocky hills and deep fissures. As one explores this land, there are specific routes that one must take to protect this land, and these are rightfully so.

Last Updated on December 14, 2021

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