The Iranian Desert is officially known as the Kavir Desert (Dasht-e Kavir) and sprawls out throughout the center of Iran. At 30,000 square miles it’s the 24th biggest desert on earth. As you would imagine, the Iranian Desert is full of amazing views. Here are a few highlights from my road trip through the Iranian Desert.
Bayazeh Village is one of the most unique places you’ll ever visit. Its history dates back over 2500 years when it once had a population over 5000. Today however, the population is only a couple of hundred. For this reason, it feels like a ghost town. To add to the eerie feeling are several abandoned and destroyed houses as well as a castle. Visit Bayazeh for a once in a lifetime experience. Photographers will especially in their element as they explore countless abandoned ruins miles from anywhere.
As you drive through the Iranian Desert you’ll discover countless caravanserais. As a matter of fact, you’ll pass one every 20 kilometers or so. Some have been restored whereas others are in ruins. Additionally, each caravanserai is a different design and shape so pay attention to the details. Read about my experience in a caravanserai hotel and also in a caravanserai restaurant.
Camel Warning Signs
As you drive on the desert highway you can’t help but notice camel warning signs. Definitely something worth mentioning about your Iranian desert road trip. Maybe you’ll also see some camels?
Drive Through Desert Landscapes
A beautiful drive through the desert doesn’t come to mind when Iran is mentioned. However, if you visit Iran you could find yourself enjoying a peaceful ride through the Iranian Desert. What’s more, these roads are in excellent condition and often empty.
Views on the Iranian Desert highway can range from mountainous to out of this world.
Some parts of the Iranian Desert feature a Mars like landscape. Alternatively, you could compare this landscape to the rainbow mountains you see around the world. However, if you are in Iran why not visit the Iranian rainbow mountains near to Zanjan. Lastly, where exactly is this Mars like landscape? If you drive north on the 81 highway from Mesr to Damghan you’ll pass through it.
Instagram Shots by the Desert Landscapes
When you visit the Iranian Desert I recommend you either have your own car, private taxi or are part of a tour which stops. As a result you can get out and take your picture at the most beautiful parts. What’s more, adding yourself to the picture can help display the enormity of the desert.
Kavir Desert Dunes
When you visit a desert, the most popular parts are the huge dunes. Thankfully, the Iranian Desert offers huge sections of these but where exactly? There are many huge dunes a couple of kilometers north of the small village of Mesr.
Instagram Shots in the Iranian Desert
Firstly, I highly recommend you stay in Mesr so you can visit the dunes at sunrise, sunset and even during the hot day. In addition, be sure to buy some Iranian clothes from Tehran, Shiraz or whichever city you visit before hand. If you’re a man like me your options are limited to a couple of colors. However, if you’re a lady you have a huge array of colorful dresses as well as scarves to choose from. With a little wind on top of the dunes you can create a wonderful shot with a colorful scarf blowing.
Where to Stay – Pazirik Ecolodge – Mesr
Pazirik Ecolodge was one of the best places I stayed in Iran therefore I must share it with you. Located in the small town of Mesr not only do they offer Persian style rooms in a wonderfully designed hotel but they also offer desert tours. Read more, on the Pazirik Ecolodge page.
Food at Pazirik Ecolodge
In addition to the comfortable rooms, a buffet breakfast and dinner is served daily at the lodge. If I remember correctly, it was camel meat, rice and salad on the menu. One thing I am sure about is that it was delicious and I enjoyed 2-3 plate fulls! After dinner, a fire is lit in the courtyard where you can relax before bed.
So you’ve decided to stay in Mesr but what is there to see in the village? Not much really, a small mosque, a couple of shops and also a couple of abandoned cars. It’s still worth a quick walk around but remember you will be eating in the hotel and no doubt being driven to the dunes in the morning.
Enjoy your Iranian Desert Visit
This will probably be a once in a lifetime trip. For this reason, keep a positive attitude, enjoy the experience and I don’t think you need reminding to take plenty of pictures. Dressing up in colorful Iranian clothes for these pictures will seriously enhance them. Enjoy!
Read about the ancient city of Persepolis. Visit the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad.