The beauty of a particular place is not limited to the number of tourists that visit it. Despite having a harsh environment, the deserts have a unique beauty that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This compilation presents a list of the 10 most beautiful deserts in the world.
Sonora is an amazing desert that covers about 300 thousand square kilometers in Southwestern Arizona, Southeastern California and Northwestern Mexico. This desert receives more rainfall than any other on Earth, with 25 to 35 cm of rain per year. The Sonoran Desert is also known for its rich biodiversity with over 60 mammal species, 20 amphibians, 100 reptiles, 20 fish species, 350 bird species and 2,000 plant species. It is the hottest and second largest desert in North America. Summer temperatures in Sonora average 40 degrees Celsius, but in some parts it reaches up to 48 degrees. Sonora is home to two — Coffe and Catalina. Some desert plant species are completely endemic and are not found anywhere else in the world. For example, the giant cereus is the tallest (up to 20 meters) cactus tree on Earth. Also worth noting is the beautiful Arizona iron tree, which has been living for over 1,500 years.
The Simpson Desert is the fourth largest desert in Australia and one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. It occupies an area of 143 thousand square kilometers. More than 1100 sand dunes are the most prominent attraction of this desert. They are located in parallel rows, and the length of some exceeds 200 km. In addition to quantity and length, the dunes of the Simpson Desert are also famous for their vibrant colors, including red, orange, pink, and white. This arid region receives only 150 mm of precipitation per year. The average summer temperature in the Simpson Desert is 39 degrees Celsius, but can sometimes reach the 50-degree mark.
Occupying almost the entire Arabian Peninsula, the desert is the second largest in the world. It stretched across a vast area of hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. Most of this desert is located in Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Desert is bordered to the north by the Syrian Desert, to the south by the Arabian Sea, to the west by the Red Sea, and to the east by the Gulf of Oman. The climate of the Arabian Desert is characterized by hot days and frosty nights. In summer, temperatures can reach 55 degrees Celsius. The largest part of the Arabian Desert is called Rub al-Khali — it is the largest area of continuous sand in the world. This part covers an area of 650 thousand square kilometers. The Arabian Desert includes many mountain ranges. The highest among them is the mountain Nabi Shuaib in Yemen with a height of 3666 meters. Despite the harsh climate, the Arabian Desert is an excellent source of natural resources, including natural gas, oil, phosphates and sulfur.
Covering 12,000 square kilometers, the Negev Desert occupies more than half of Israel’s land mass. Instead of a lot of dunes, you will see canyons and deep valleys in this desert. The most important geological formation of the Negev desert is the unique Makhtesh erosion crater. It is surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful cliffs. In one of the canyons of the Negev is the Ein Avdat National Park with a stunning oasis where springs with clear cool water beat. This place is very popular with fans of walking tours along numerous routes.
The Mojave Desert is the smallest desert in North America at 35,000 square kilometers. Located in Southeastern California, Mojave also covers parts of Nevada and Arizona. It is bounded by the cold Great Basin Desert to the north and the Sonoran Desert to the south. Among the outstanding attractions of the Mojave Desert are the dunes of Kelso. The stunning dune system is up to 200 meters high in places. Created by the southeast wind, the unique dunes have an attractive golden color. Plant life here is not rich and includes only a few varieties. Among them are blue Palo Verde, desert senna and tree-like yucca, which grows nowhere else in the world. It can grow up to 15 meters in height and live for over 150 years.
Atacama is the driest desert in the world. Located in Northern Chile, the desert stretches over 65242.806 square kilometers. Atacama is an extremely dry place. Some parts of this desert have never seen rain. The average rainfall in the desert is only 1 millimeter per year. The Atacama is 50 times drier than California’s Death Valley.
The Andes and the Chilean coastal range on both sides block the access of moisture to the desert. As a result, the soil of the Atacama is almost lifeless and similar in this respect to the soil from Mars. Therefore, the landscapes of the Atacama are called otherworldly by many. The high altitude, clear skies, and lack of background light make Atacama one of the best places for stargazing. For this purpose, there are three international observatories in the desert.
With an area of 8.6 million sq. km. The Sahara desert is the largest hot desert in the world. In terms of size, the Sahara is the third largest desert in the world after the Arctic and Antarctic deserts, covering most of North Africa. The Sahara is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Niger Valley to the south, the Red Sea to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Even with such a harsh environment, the Sahara has an incomparable beauty. The dry valleys, mountains, salt fields, mountains, dunes, plains and oases of the Sahara are unique and breathtakingly beautiful. Almost 25% of the Sahara desert is covered with dunes. In some places the dunes reach a height of 200 meters.
Covering southern Mongolia and northwestern China, the Gobi Desert covers 777,000 square kilometers and is the largest desert in Asia. It is growing every year, covering 1,390 square miles in the fields of southern China. The landscape of the Gobi desert is characterized mainly by bare rocks and few dunes.
The Gobi desert is divided into five main ecological regions — the eastern steppe, the Alashani plateau, the valley of the Gobi lakes, the Dzungarian basin and the Tien Shan range. These eco-regions have different geological characteristics, including mountains, salt marshes, rocky landscapes and dunes. The Gobi Desert also has outstanding historical significance, as the ancient Silk Road passed through its territory. A series of Buddhist temples of the Mogao Caves are located in the southern part of the Gobi. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with thousands of years of Buddhist art.
The Namib is a beautiful coastal desert in Namibia. It stretches almost 2,000 kilometers along the Atlantic coast and covers an area of 50,000 square kilometers. With an estimated age of 55 million years, the Namib is one of the oldest deserts in the world. With towering dunes, mountains, plains and unique animal and plant species, the Namib Desert is unlike any other place on earth. It also has some of the highest sand dunes in the world, some of which come right up to the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the most recognizable parts of the Namib Desert is the dead valley of Deadvlei. This is a clay plateau with the remains of dead trees, surrounded by the highest dunes. Deadvlei Plateau is a photographer’s paradise and one of the most unusual places in the world.
Antarctica is considered a desert because it receives the lowest rainfall comparable to the driest places on Earth. With a total area of 5.4 million square miles, Antarctica is considered the largest desert in the world. It is also the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth. Despite all these facts, Antarctica is one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
Interestingly, the highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica was 14.5 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth was also in Antarctica, at 94.7 degrees Celsius below zero. It is also the windiest place on Earth, where winds can reach speeds of 320 kilometers per hour. Almost 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is the largest solid mass of ice on earth. This frozen continent holds 70% of the world’s fresh water. Despite the harsh environment, some amazing animals and birds thrive here, including penguins, seals, whales, dolphins, albatross and petrels.