Shahdad Desert: Magnificent Desert of the Kalouts in Iran

A Mesmerizing Journey Through Endless Dunes

The Shahdad Desert, one of Iran’s largest desert regions, is considered by desert researchers to be the hottest place on Earth.

This area near the city of Shahdad in Kerman province is full of tranquility and charm.

Due to the natural beauty of this desert, many tourists from all over the world visit Iran every year to visit this region.

It is best to travel to the Shahdad Desert during the colder months, as the region’s minimum summer temperatures exceed 60 degrees Celsius.

One of the most fascinating phenomena of this desert are the “kalouts” found there.

Below, we will introduce Shahdad Kalouts and other tourist attractions in the area in detail.

Shahdad Kalouts

Shahdad Kalouts In Kerman, Iran
Shahdad Kalouts in Kerman, Iran (photo by Tripadvisor)

Kalouts are distinctive Y-shaped geological formations that form in desert areas due to wind and water erosion.

This natural phenomenon occurs in certain arid regions of the world, such as Iran, the United States, and Egypt.

Covering an area of ​​11 square kilometers, Shahdad kalouts is formed in the Shahdad Desert and is considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.

 Interestingly, this area is also known as the “Ghost City” as no one lives there.

Valuable items such as pottery, sculptures and the bronze flag of Shahdad have also been discovered here.

Entertainments in Shahdad kalouts

Visiting Shahdad Kalouts
Visiting Shahdad kalouts

One of the attractions of this area is to watch the starry sky and experience the calm and silent atmosphere, which can be slightly eerie. In addition to that, other activities such as camel riding, desert trekking and special safaris are designed for this region. It should be noted that these Kalouts are among the largest Kalouts in the world. Please note that Shahdad Kalouts are divided into two sections: the green area and the orange-red area. In the green area, you can explore without a guide, but in the orange-red area, due to the difficulty of the terrain, it is essential to have a guide.

Staying in Shahdad Kalouts

In these Kalouts, accommodation facilities with parking and sanitary services are provided, and there are also camping facilities and ready-made tents available. If you wish, you can also visit hotels and traditional accommodation in Kerman.

Javan Lake in Shahdad Kalouts

Javan Lake In Shahdad Kalouts
Javan Lake in Shahdad Kalouts

This lake is one of the special attractions of Shahdad Kalouts because it is located in one of the hottest regions in the world. The beautiful Kalouts with island-like prominences create a very scenic view in the midst of the Javan Lake. Animals such as leopards, snakes, zebras, cats and desert foxes also live in this area.

Shoor River in Shahdad Desert

Shoor River In Shahdad Desert
Shoor River in Shahdad Desert

Shoor River is one of the most fascinating landscapes in this area, passing through the Shahdad Desert. As the name suggests, the water of the river is very salty to the extent that the salt concentration turns the water white. The river flows into a place called Chaleh Shoor and plays a significant role in the formation and durability of the Kalouts. One of the attractive phenomena in this area is the presence of salt hexagons (are known as polygons) and salt crystals that have been created over time along the river and its surroundings.

Eggshell Salt Pan in Shahdad Desert

Eggshell Salt Pan In Shahdad Desert
Eggshell Salt Pan in Shahdad Desert

This 100-hectare salt pan is composed of attractive uplifted layers of salt, which resemble eggshells, hence its name “Eggshell Salt Pan“. The elevated salt formations on the surface of this salt pan add to the beauty of the landscape. The eggshell shape of this salt pan creates a sense of delight to walk on its surface and feel the ground beneath our feet, but doing so will destroy the beauty of the place. Our recommendation is to stand at a distance from the salt pan and enjoy the view.

Nebka in Shahdad Desert

Nebka is a type of vegetation in the desert that, due to the wind, a sand hill is formed around it in the shape of a large clay pot. For this reason, it is also called the “Desert Vase.” When traveling to Shahdad Desert and on the way to Shahdad Kalouts, you can observe this attractive vegetation cover on both sides of the road. It is interesting to know that Nebkas have been registered as national and natural heritage in 2013.

Travelling To Shahdad Desert, Iran
Travelling to Shahdad Desert, Iran

Patrolling in the Shahdad desert

You can patrol Shahdad desert in different ways and enjoy your stay in this place.

More information can be found below.

Hiking in the Shahdad Desert

The best time to walk in the Shadad desert is early in the morning from 10am to 4pm.
It is best to travel with at least one companion and sufficient food, maps and a route finder.

Safari or Offroad Driving in Shahdad Desert

Offroad Driving In Shahdad Desert
Offroad Driving in Shahdad Desert

With a suitable vehicle, you can explore the Shahdad region and its surrounding attractions.

Safaris and off-road vehicles are great options for adventure in the heart of the Shahdad desert and Kalut.
 If you are looking for exhilaration and speed, off-road driving is recommended.

 If you do not have a suitable vehicle, you can rent one on-site. However, it is important to note that off-road driving requires specialized knowledge. Therefore, if you have no experience, we recommend traveling with a professional driver.

Four-wheel Motorcycling in Shahdad Desert

Four-Wheel Motorcycling In Shahdad Desert
Four-wheel Motorcycling in Shahdad Desert

Another suitable option for transportation is a four-wheel motorbike, which you can rent by the hour. Driving these motorcycles is relatively easy, but it’s recommended to exercise caution while driving.

Camel riding in the Shahdad Desert

Camel Riding In Shahdad Desert
Camel riding in Shahdad Desert

You can experience the joy of camel riding in the Shodad desert with professional guides. The cost of this entertainment is also very reasonable.

Tourist attractions near Shahdad desert

If you’re interested in visiting other nearby attractions in the Shahdad region, you can consider visiting Shafiabad Caravanserai, Beryan Wheat Plain, and the mausoleum of Shah Nematollah Vali.

Shafiabad Caravanserai

Shafiabad Caravanserai, Kerman, Iran
Shafiabad Caravanserai, Kerman, Iran (photo by Flickr)

This Caravanserai dates back to the Qajar era and features beautiful watchtowers and architecture. Additionally, you have the option of overnight stays at Shafiabad Caravanserai. It is located in the village of Shafiabad on the outskirts of the desert.

Gandom Beryan Plain (Beryan Wheat)

Gandom Beryan Plain, Iran
Gandom Beryan Plain, Iran (photo by Iran Golden Days)

This plain is the hottest part of the Loot Desert and is located 80 kilometers north of Shahdad city. The black basalt rocks and volcanic gravel add to the attractiveness of this place.

Shah Nematollah Vali Mausoleum

Shah Nematollah Vali Mausoleum
Shah Nematollah Vali Mausoleum (photo by Wikipedia)

This site belongs to the Timurid era in Iran and features a beautiful dome chamber. Fortunately, it is registered as a national cultural heritage site of Iran.

Shazdeh Garden

Shazdeh Garden, Kerman, Iran
Shazdeh Garden, Kerman, Iran (photo by Tripadvisor)

This garden is located in Mahan County, Kerman and belongs to the Qajar period. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in Kerman and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Haj Mohammad Taghi Shahada Reservoir

Haj Mohammad Taghi Shahada Reservoir
Haj Mohammad Taghi Shahada Reservoir

This reservoir is one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Kerman and is located south of Shahada city. The unique architecture of the reservoir will be very attractive to Iranian and foreign tourists.

Book Kerman Hotels

Book Kerman Hotels

As you know, for a trip to the desert, specific items such as special shoes, backpacks, essentials, hats, sunglasses, tents and sleeping bags are required. Be sure to use light meals with high nutritional value for your journey. With the available amenities and tourist facilities in Shahdad Desert, you can experience an enjoyable trip that is sometimes filled with excitement and sometimes with tranquility and silence. We hope this article has encouraged you to travel to this region. We look forward to welcoming you to Iran.

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Zeinab Khadivi

Hello, I'm Zizi Khadiv. I love traveling and socializing with people, and I really enjoy introducing the beauties of my country and the hospitable people of Iran to people from other countries. That's why I love being a tour guide.

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