Some of the most exciting and memorable experiences available to travellers today take place on the rippling sands of the world's mighty deserts. See our list of top 10 desert experiences, as selected by our specialists.
The Skeleton Coast is largely devoid of life
Stay in a traditional ger, Gobi Desert, Mongolia
The Gobi Desert covers over two million hectares and is home to an array of wildlife and varying terrain. A great way to experience it is to stay in a traditional tented 'ger' camp. The centre of Mongolian life, it is the end-design of centuries spent living on the exposed steppes.
Read more about the Gobi Desert
Experience troglodyte architecture, Tunisia
The village of Matmata in the southeast of Tunisia houses many of the world’s best examples of troglodyte architecture where people still live underground. The unforgiving landscape of this region is so unusual it was used in the filming of Star Wars to portray a different planet.
Read more about Tozeur in Tunisia
Go on a star-gazing tour in the Atacama Desert, Chile
Chile’s Atacama Desert is so dry that rainfall has never been recorded in some parts. Because of its crystal clear skies and lack of light pollution a trip here makes this one of the best spots for astronomy, for both amateurs and experts alike.
Read more about the Atacama Desert
Try camping in the Antarctic
Not sand of course but still remote and unforgiving, the silence of Antarctica is broken only by the occasional groan or crack of an iceberg or glacier. From your ship it's possible to camp overnight in some places and enjoy the stunning desolation of one of the most captivating places on Earth.
Read more about the Antarctic
Tread in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, Jordan
Famed for the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, Wadi Rum in Jordan is a place of towering sandstone outcrops, with sheer red sides and rounded summits. While seeing some of the sights Lawrence would have seen, you might also encounter a wild ibex, hyrax or Arabian desert cat.
Read more about Wadi Rum
Ride a Harley Davidson to Uluru, Australia
At the nearby desert outpost of Alice Springs in Australia's Outback, lies one of Australia's most iconic natural features: Uluru (Ayres Rock). Stand out from the crowd and hire a Harley Davidson motorcycle to explore this and the surrounding desert landscape.
Read more about Alice Springs
Climb a sand dune in the Sahara to see a sunrise
The Sahara Desert is perhaps the best know desert in the world. From Erg Chebbi, on Morocco’s eastern border, you can climb the colossal sand dunes and see a sunrise or sunset.
Read more about the Erg Chebbi
Go on a wildlife Safari in the Kalahari Desert, Africa
The Kalahari Desert is a huge area encompassing parts of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The best way to enjoy it is on a wildlife safari where you can see large game like elephant, rhino, leopard and if you are lucky, the famous black-maned Kalahari lions.
Read more about the Kalahari
Take a 4WD trip into the Patagonian Desert, Argentina
Located mainly in Argentina with small parts in Chile, the Patagonian desert is the largest desert in South America and the seventh largest in the world. The desert is actually a cold desert and the best way to see it is a four wheel drive (4WD) trip from nearby Bariloche.
Read more about Bariloche
Take a balloon flight over Sossusvlei, Namibia
Soaring silently over the dune belts and 'vleis' (valleys or pans) of Sossusvlei is an unforgettable experience. You can enjoy breathtaking 360 degree vistas, taking in the stark beauty of the desert. After around an hour in flight you land for a champagne breakfast.
Read more about the Sossusvlei