With deserts making up 33% of the world’s land surface, it’s no surprise they attract millions of visitors to their awe-inspiring environments each year. And while some escape to the desert for its tranquility and serene properties, others seek out exploits to get the adrenaline flowing. So we’ve combed the earth and found 9 desert experiences that are unlike all others. Get ready for some exciting encounters and thrilling adventures in the world’s most extraordinary deserts!
Sandboarding in Namib Desert, Namibia
There’s only one way to take on Africa’s Namib Desert in an exhilarating and fearless, way – sandboarding down the desert’s massive sand dunes. Those rolling hills of sand create the perfect atmosphere to get the adrenalin pumping and take in the magnificent surrounding scenery.
This bold adventure caters to both beginners and pros. Visitors who want to experience a fun and safe ride can choose to lie down on the board, reaching speeds up to 80km/h (50 miles/hour), while those who are looking for more of a challenge can attempt to surf the sandy slopes standing up – much like snowboarding. There are a variety of slopes, depending on your skill level, and all provide a fantastic sandboarding adventure!
Bedouin Camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan
Camping with the Bedouins in the Wadi Rum desert is the ultimate overnight desert experience. Located in the southern region of Jordan, this extensive desert covered with canyons, dunes, multi-colored sands, and towering rocky formations is nothing short of majestic.
Arrive at the ancestral campsite by jeep or camel and enjoy traditional Bedouin tea and meals. This is your time to play traditional music, sit around the fire, and stargaze into the night. Each tent is made from goat-hair and offers the opportunity to explore the more remote areas of Wadi Rum. It’s the perfect place to rest and relax after a day of desert adventures.
Falconry in the Dubai Desert, UAE
Try your hand (or arm) in the ancient sport of Falconry, which dates back thousands of years and is widely used by nomadic tribes in the Middle East and Asia. The UAE’s national bird, the falcons, is a prominent part of the Emirate culture and provides an incredible desert life experience.
Grab a glove for a hands-on lesson in the modern and ancient techniques from a professional falcon trainer, watch these impressive birds as they fly up to 4,000 ft, and tour the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between the Bedouin culture and these desert birds of prey. It will be an experience that you’ll never forget!
Jeep Tour at Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
If you’re looking for an unforgettable desert journey, the world’s largest salt flat should definitely be on top of your list. And the best way to experience the surreal landscape of Salar de Uyuni is on a jeep tour.
Located in the Eduardo Avaroa National Andean Wildlife Reserve in Bolivia, this remote destination is filled with incredible landscapes and spectacular natural beauty. Dive deep into the desert to explore volcanoes, geysers, lakes, hot springs, and more. And top off your tour with the Train Cemetery and Incahuasi Island – undeniably some of the most unique areas you’ll ever see!
Desert Spa Day in the Sahara Desert, Morocco
You’ve probably heard of the healing power of the Turkish and Swedish spas, but what about a Sahara desert one? Here’s your chance to get down and dirty (literally) and benefit from the natural healing properties of the Saharan sand.
Highly recommended by Merzouga locals, these “sand baths” are reported to be good for muscles, aches, some skin diseases, and even arthritis. Berber men dig holes in the desert dunes where you’ll climb in and lie for 30 minutes. This exotic spa is not only good for the body but the mind. Take the time to relax, breathe in the open air, and experience the desert in a whole new way!
Hiking Timna Park in the Negev Desert, Israel
A hidden desert gem, hiking Timna is a dream come true for many outdoor enthusiasts. With hiking trails for all experience levels (including kids), Timna consists of 15,000 acres of steep cliffs, unique rock structures, and Mount Timna, with the world’s first-ever copper mine dating back to the ancient imperial Egyptians.
And get your cameras ready because Timna has spectacular views and structures like the famous Solomon’s Pillars that are perfectly formed, sandstone columns towering over the desert like the giants they are. There’s also rock climbing and biking for experienced climbers looking for a challenging adventure.
Canyoneering at Bryce Canyon National Park, USA
Do you love exploring and navigating tight canyons? Then canyoneering in Bryce Canyon National Park’s slot canyons is right up your alley! This incredible location has some of the most unique and intriguing repelling, rock climbing, and slot canyon exploring in the entire world.
The rugged terrain of Bruce Canyon is excellent for this high-adrenaline sport. Get ready to climb boulders, slither in and out of narrow slots, repel off steep cliffs, swim through trenches, scale rare rock formations, and leave no stone unturned.
Spend a Day with Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Botswana
One of the most fascinating desert experiences you’ll ever have is taking a walk through the extraordinary world of the ancient African tribe, the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. As one of the world’s oldest tribes, they will teach you how they survived living in this harsh environment with their hunting, gathering, and fire-making skills.
As you glance into the window of the past, discover how to find water in desert melons, make jewelry and hunting equipment, learn how local plants are used for daily life, perform traditional dances, and more. It’s an experience that will change your entire outlook on desert life.
Camel Trek in Sinai, Egypt
There’s nothing more symbolic of a desert adventure than a good old camel trek, and Egypt is the place to get your camel trekking on. A trek through the Sinai desert is definitely one that cannot be missed!
Along with its epic desert surroundings, the Sinai has incredible patches of oases. The greens and blues you will find in stark contrast to the desert reds, oranges, and browns are simply a sensational sight to take in. You’ll also be introduced to the culture and customs of the Bedouins who live in the surrounding areas. It might be a bumpy ride, but one you’ll be talking about for years to come!