Playground for big boys

Just thinking about it – such a huge sandbox is impossible to build by yourself and even if you would get all your friends together – no chance. In our case we are talking about the desert Dasht-e-Lut.

Impressive, only dunes!!!

Before entering into Iran, we knew that we wanted to go to the desert Lut, but we had no plan, where to go. It was clear for us, not to enter into the desert by ourselves, as it is always better to be two or more vehicles in case of an emergency. So we planned to accompany Tino, Tina and Alex with their truck. In Yazd we met them and the planning started. Till we arrived in Kerman, we had the information, that you are not allowed to drive further than 2 km into the desert without a guide, as since 2016 it is a world Unesco heritage and another point are the existing landmines, which are used to stop the smugglers and every year people get killed by them. So we decided to visit the desert with a guide and with the help of a dozen of Iranians we found Arman. He is a young family father, who knows the desert very well. Perfect – bargaining for the price, filling up our water and diesel tanks and buying all the food we needed. Ohh, we were so excited!!

The team: on the left Alex with his family in their MB 1017, in the middle Arman and Darius with their Toyota Hilux and we on the right side with Emma

The following day we first drove by ourselves. From Kerman over a high pass to Shadad, where we got the last diesel and from there to the famous area of the Kalouts. These are rock formations, which are longish and slimy and because of erosion, all point out in the same direction. There we spent one night and it was as well the meeting point with Arman for the following day.

At 10 am Arman arrived with his friend Darius and their car. On the asphalted road we drove another 80 km before turning to the right. After 4 km we stopped again and started reducing the pressure of our tires. From 6 bar air pressure down to 1.5 bar. Arman was ready after 5 minutes – for our trucks we needed around 50 minutes. Then we continued, as 100 km were planned to drive on the same day. The beginning was no problem to drive, but suddenly the ground changed into steps, coming from dried out river beds, so the rest of the route we only had an average speed of around 30 km/h. But Arman knew the region very well – he offered us highlights for driving and even better ones for the optic. Down there, up here, driving over there and back. Sometimes we lost the sight of his car – but what was always visible were 3 huge dust clouds. In the end of the day we made the 100 km in the desert, which guided us more through stony parts than sand. From the place where we spent the night, we were able to see huge sand dunes on the horizon. We were having dinner next to the fire and luckily saw a fennec and the day ended in absolute loneliness.

With low pressure in the tires we are driving through the sand
Tino is learning to drive
Unfortunately, the day already ends

The next day we started early. At 8 am everybody already had breakfast and we made some small things on our trucks before starting to drive. The first challenge was to get out of the pothole, in which we vertically drove in the last evening. But Arman knew how... A bit of soft sand here, a bit there, up the hill and over the edge!! After another 10 km in the stony desert, we finally arrived at the dunes, where Arman was already waiting for us with a big smile in his face. We drove around one dune, than another and suddenly he stopped and just said: “We want to go there!” We followed him with our eyes and just thought: “No chance!!”, but Arman was already in his car driving up the 30 m high dune. Alex assured us:”I will not drive up there!!” We got out of our trucks and together with Arman, who was already back from the top, we drove together with him and his car up and down the dune. The problem was the last third of the dune, where the power of the trucks was fading and the sand was too soft. But we both tried it – third gear and full power, slowly and steady... After six tries without a success, we gave up and luckily it was not the only route. We took the easy way and the next 20 km we drove through the sand, at the bottom of the huge dunes passing sections with soft sand, where we always tried to get over it as fast as possible, without stopping. Driving on sand and through this lonesome landscape just made us happy. In the end, Johannes even got the chance to use our steel plankings, when we found the spot for the overnight stay. But with the help of Alex and Tino and their shovels, we got out after half an hour.

Day two – only sand
With the use of our walkie talkies we helped each other driving through the sand
In the end of the day we got stuck in the sand – the driver looks critically what he did

The rest of the day we explored the area by foot or had a longer nap, everybody like he wanted. Tino, Alex and Johannes used the time to climb up the high dune in front of the camp. On the top, they just saw sand and dunes and sand and dunes. Running down was the highlight of the day. For dinner we cooked a hotpot on the fire.

Beautiful – the walk through the dunes. Every step has to be done twice – Alex enjoys the silence

After a deadly silent night we woke up and got a yummy breakfast cooked by Arman. His special fried eggs on the fire. After that we had enough energy for the whole day. We left the dunes and drove again across the desert. In the western part, the landscape was again completely different. We saw some bizarre rock formations, where we stopped for lunch. After that, we drove through narrow canyons and over steep hills. When we arrived to the night camp, we decided to bake a bread on the fire and eat it together with Falafel and fresh salad. What a culinary delight!! We enjoyed the last night all together in the middle of the desert.

Arman is preparing the breakfast
Sand as far as you can see
Getting out of the playground – the landscape is changing fast
Weird rock structure in the middle of the desert where we had to pass through
Arman knew the best ways for our big trucks
Tasty bread made on the fire

The next day we had to drive again 100 kilometers through the stony desert, to get back to civilization. Of course no problem with Arman. While we were pumping up our tires, we had a fast lunch. On the way out of the desert, Arman wanted to show us a place for the last night in the Kalouts. Just after a few minutes on the asphalted road, the police stopped him and took him to the office, to check if he had all the permits. This showed us, that you have take a guide to visit the desert Lut.

A Canyon – it feels like it is separating the desert in two pieces
The happy men after the trip …

We enjoyed the four days and we got a good impression of the desert Lut. Again a huge Thanks to Arman and Darius for guiding us through the desert. We can recommend to everybody, who is visiting Iran, spending some time in the middle of the desert.
The variety and the remoteness are hard to describe in words. As well the sky at night is far away to what we are used, as there are no disturbing lights around.

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