While summer is well on its way and the temperature has risen to peak height, there are some who may want to continue to turn the heat up. This post is for those who have had a long winter (or are in the middle of a winter and want to escape) and are ready for a scorching desert adventure. Who has not dreamed of riding on a camel across dunes, surfing where there is no water, and watching the enormous starry tableau of a completely clear night sky?
After a long day of sandy exploration, a visit to the local oasis to cool down would feel out-of-this-world amazing. For those travelers, study abroaders, volunteers, and more, imagine sitting down to work under the airy breezes of a Bedouin tent. If any of this sounds appealing, take a look at the top five places to go for a desert break.
1. The Sahara Desert, North Africa
The Sahara is the largest non-polar desert in the world and one of the hottest. There are plenty of desert tours that provide camel treks to noteworthy valleys, villages, and even to the Skoura Oasis. Prepare yourself for some mind blowing sunrises and sunsets, and make sure to pack an extra coat since the temperature drops precipitously at night. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities as well within the area. You can work with organizations and live with local nomad populations as you assist with daily duties including caring for livestock.
2. Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum is one of the most incredible deserts in the world and you will have a chance to interact with local Bedouin villagers and nomads. Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia and explore on camelback or horseback. Make sure you do not miss the rock bridges/archs of Jebel Burdah and Jebel Umm Fruth. Study abroad in Jordan and get the chance to experience this amazing desert for yourself.
3. Namib Desert, Namibia/Angola/South Africa
One of the oldest deserts in the world and with some of the highest sand dunes, the Namib Desert would be a remarkable travel experience. There are even elephants that have adapted to living in the harsh desert climate in this region. After driving through the immense dunes, take a hot air balloon ride and really see the scale of the Namib Desert. Volunteer in Namibia and help to preserve the elephants that have adapted to this harsh climate.
4. Huacachina, Peru
This picturesque oasis is located in southern Peru and surrounded by towering sand dunes. This is a great escape for those who want to give sandboarding a try. Otherwise you should plan on renting a dune buggy, grabbing some wine, and finding yourself a perfect sand dune to watch the sunset. Intern abroad in Peru and dune surf down for the wildest ride of your life.
5. Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil
The National of Park of Lençóis Maranhenses is a fascinating rain-filled area of sand dunes. It has a rainy season which causes small freshwater pools and ponds to form. Make sure to take a swim in one of these tiny lakes and keep a look out for small fish. Study abroad in Brazil and take advantage of a weekend excursion to visit this incredible park.
If you still have not gotten your fill of deserts, give these other top contenders a gander: Gobi Desert, Mongolia/China; Atacama, Chile; Thar Desert, India/Pakistan; and Simpson Desert, Australia.