6 World Wide Desert Adventures
HIKE HE SINGING SAND DUNES OF THE GOBI DESERT, MONGOLIA
When Marco Polo travelled across the Gobi Desert, some 750 years ago he was scared for dear life because he thought the sound of the sands were the sounds of evil spirit. Well Khongoryn Els sands dunes of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert have this rather odd habit of, singing, which is not normal for sand dunes. It’s a fairly rare phenomenon and just about 30 dunes worldwide are musically inclined — the rest are pretty quiet. It's more of a constant low rumbling moan, with the occasional booming explosion - but it makes for a slightly odd encounter in the desert. Scientist said it’s something to do with the curve of the sand dunes forming a natural amphitheatre.
CAMEL SAFARI IN WADI RUM, JORDAN
What better way to explore and experience desert life than on the back of a camel and Camel Safari through Wadi Rum is just the place to do it. No 4x4 or Range Rover experience as the natives have been doing for centuries. The red sand and high rocks of Wadi Rum offers a different desert experience, here you can climb, scramble, trek and hike. At day you saunter pas towering rock formations known as 'jebels' and at night you eat traditional Bedouin food and listen to their folk tales and music with a billions stars watching over you.
4X4 TOUR OF THE ATACAMA DESERT, CHILE
Did I say now 4x4 before? Well for this adventure, you are going to need it, because some deserts ae just oversized sandpits, dotted with the odd cactus and skeleton. Not this one. The Atacama Desert in Chile, is the driest desert in the world, its full of extraordinary geological and natural features. These include volcanic lava flows, blinding white salt flats, turquoise lakes surrounded by flocks of pink flamingos, the explosive geysers of Tatio and the spectacularly arid landscape of the valley of the moon. A guide and a 4x4 is all you need.
FLY OVER THE PINNACLES DESERT OF AUSTRALIA
The Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia is home to more than 150,000 tombstone-shaped pillars that erupt out of the sand, forming an eerie graveyard in the desert. These spectacular natural formations have been carved over thousands of years, but were pretty much unknown to the outside world until the 1960s. Today, many tourists visit the park on a 4x4 tour, but the best way to view this phenomenon is on a helicopter or fixed-wing plane tour, which will give you a sense of the incredible scale of the Pinnacles and enable you to see the area known as the Dead Pinnacles, which is inaccessible on wheels.
SURF THE DUNES IN THE NAMIB DESERT, NAMIBIA
If you are a keen snowboarder and want to try out your skill in a warmer climate, well ditch your thermals and gloves and head for the Namib Desert. In the dunes just outside the coastal town of Swakopmund in Namibia, you can have a crack at sandboarding - snowboarding essentially but on warm, yellow, grainy bits instead of cold, white, powdery stuff. You can stand up, bend your knees and surf down the dunes, as you would on snow, or just lie down, lift up the front of the board and plummet, head first, downhill - fun guarantee.
RUN THE BADWATER ULTRA-MARATHON IN THE MOJAVE DESERT
Dubbed 'the toughest footrace on earth', this gruelling slog through America's Mojave Desert is a truly evil creation, designed to test the human body to the limit. Competitors run 135 miles from Death Valley - the hottest, lowest and driest valley in the States - all the way to Mount Whitney in California. The race involves a 3,962m ascent, and temperatures can reach 135 degrees. Survive this and a 26k marathon is nothing to you.
QUAD BIKING IN THE SINAI DESERT, EGYPT
If only those ancient Egyptians had managed to construct a rudimentary quad bike, they'd have been far too busy having fun whizzing round the desert to build those giant pyramids. After the seriousness of Egyptology and pyramid tours escape the crowds and embark on a quad-biking tour of the Sinai Desert, outside of Sharm El Sheikh. Feel the adrenaline as you bound over stomach-churning sand dunes, past striking coloured canyons and through sun-baked valleys, all the while consuming large quantities of sand; which you might prefer to the local Salatit Krumb (cabbage salad).