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A different kind of sun and sand

A different kind of sun and sand Taking a holiday amongst the wonders of the natural world usually involves escaping into the mountains, camping in a forest or spending time exploring the sea. But one option most people don’t often consider is venturing out to explore our world’s deserts.

You can find sandy deserts on nearly every continent on Earth. And if you spend any time experiencing them, you’ll see the bleak but striking beauty of these vast expanses and delicate ecosystems. Alongside the wind-sculpted architecture of dunes, some areas are taking advantage of the touristic opportunities available to offer adventures in sand surfing and dune buggy racing.

So if you fancy experiencing the delights of an arid landscape the TopDog Insurance team highlights some of the world’s most magnificent deserts.

Atacama Desert, Chile

This is considered to be the driest place on the planet - certain areas have recorded less than 1mm of rain a year and some weather stations have never even reported rain. Renowned for its almost Martian landscape, the surreal beauty of this desert is quite stunning. The most popular place to visit is the oasis of San Pedro, the Atacaman tourism hub, home to about 5000 people. A number of hotels are available here and you can explore the desert around you through horse rides, biking tours and desert treks. Atacama is also the best place in the world for stargazing, with no light pollution the wonders of the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye.

Sahara Desert, Morocco

Sahara means ‘greatest desert’ and while it’s not the largest in the world, it’s definitely one of the hottest. The Sahara spans most of North Africa, from the Atlantic Sea in the west to the Red Sea in the east. From majestic sand dunes to flat expanses of gravel and rocks, it provides some wonderful sightseeing. The best place to explore the Sahara is in Morocco and some excursions into the desert even run on proper roads. Morocco desert tours and safaris can be enjoyed in 4x4 vehicles, desert trails on foot or even on camel-back, recreating parts of former caravan routes such as the one from the Drâa Valley to ancient Timbuktu.

Namib Desert, Namibia

The Namib Desert offers one of our world’s most fascinating landscapes. It’s believed to be one of the oldest deserts and stretches across Namibia, Angola and South Africa, for 2000km along the Atlantic Ocean. The sight of the waves lapping at the warm sands of the desert is truly unforgettable. In Namibia, you can visit the Sossusvlei sand dunes which are some of the planet’s highest, rising to a height of 300m. The Skeleton Coast, where you could once find the washed-up bones of whales and seals, is another popular site. Plus an absolute must is to head out on desert safari and view the famed desert elephants.

Thar Desert, India

The Thar on the Indian subcontinent covers parts of the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat. It is one of the most populated and culturally rich deserts in the world, despite its inhospitable environs. Jaisalmer is the capital of the desert region; from here you can enjoy wonderful camel rides and desert tours. The nomadic tribal people dress in brightly coloured clothes and still lead a very traditional way of life. Other desert locations you must visit here include fantastic cities like Jodhpur and Bikaner, where you can see edifying monuments and sample authentic cuisine, and the protected bird sanctuary at Tal Chhapar.

Gobi Desert, Mongolia

The famous Gobi Desert is the fifth largest in the world, covering parts of southern Mongolia and northern and north-western China. It’s a ‘cold desert’ – the range of temperatures experienced here between summer and winter is astonishing. A winter visit may have temperatures fall as low as -40°C; you’ll even be able to see snow on the sand dunes! There are various great trips you can take, from hiking in the Baga Gazriin Chuluu Mountains to Mongolian camel treks. One of the most popular landmarks to visit in the Gobi Desert is the red sandstone Flaming Cliffs, which is both a spectacle and an important paleontological site.

Whether you decide to go on Atacama desert tours, try a camel safari in Rajasthan or explore desert trails in Morocco for your desert holiday, we at TopDog Insurance are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.

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