Most people know deserts to be large sandy, and hot without much vegetation area. While this is true, deserts are places that receive little precipitation (forms in which water falls from the atmosphere to earth). Therefore, sites like the Antarctic and Greenland qualify as deserts. Hot or cold, we would all like to visit the deserts, right? Let's read on to learn about the world's ten best deserts.

1. Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert, or the Great Desert, is the largest hot desert in the world. However, it is the third largest desert in the world, smaller than Antarctica and the northern Arctic deserts. It is located in Africa and is the largest desert on the continent. It occupies most of North Africa, stretching from the Red Sea in the East, the Mediterranean in the North, and the Atlantic Ocean in the West. It is also found in several African countries: Egypt, Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia, and Sudan. Many activities can be enjoyed in the Sahara, such as quad biking, stargazing, sand surfing, camping, and even trekking. Camel rides, too, are part of the deal. There are also places to visit, ancient temples such as the temple of Amun and Shali Fortress, among others. The best time to visit the Sahara Desert is during the Christmas or Easter breaks.

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2. Arabian Desert

The Arabian Desert is located in western Asia and occupies almost the entire Arabian Peninsula which is the largest Peninsula in the world. The Arabian Desert is the fifth-largest desert in the world and the largest in Asia. It stretches across Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. It is advisable to visit the Arabian Desert between November and February when the weather is coolest. Some activities include camel safaris, desert camping, hiking in the desert, dune bashing, Arabian safaris, and hot air balloon rides. There is deadly quicksand in the Arabian, so be cautious when visiting.

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3. Antarctic Desert

As explained above, Antarctica is a cold desert and the world's largest desert. It is considered a desert because it only receives annual precipitation of about 50 mm. It is also a continent, the fifth-largest continent. Antarctica is the coldest desert and the coldest place on earth. It is made up of thick sheets of ice accumulated for thousands of years. Although Antarctica is cold, there is summer, and this is the best time to visit the desert. Summer lies between November and March when the earth is tilted towards the sun, and it is always sunny. Interestingly, some activities include skiing, climbing Antarctica’s mountains, kayaking, crossing the drake passage, visiting science research stations, and spotting seals and penguins.

4. Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert is a desert plateau in South America. It is found in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru. It is the driest nonpolar desert. It is also the world’s largest source of sodium nitrate, and the oldest artificially mummified human remains are here. It is interesting to note that the soil in the Atacama Desert is similar to that of Mars. It is ideal to visit the Atacama Desert during Chile’s winter, from May to July. Some activities you should enjoy include visiting Valle De Luna (Moon Valley), floating in the Laguna Baltinache, watching flamingoes at the Laguna Chaxa, and visiting the Chacabuco Nitrate Village, taking desert trips, going on hot air balloon rides, and enjoying Stargazing.

5. Namib Desert

Namib Desert is said to be the world's oldest desert, and some parts of the desert rival the Atacama Desert as the driest place in the world. Namib desert lies in Namibia, South Africa, and Angola. An interesting bit about Namibia is that there are desert-adapted lions. The Damaraland elephants have also adapted to the desert and can go for days without water. The black rhinos also call Namib home. Tour programs take people on safari around Namib and sightings of these animals. There are also old sand-filled towns and castles to be visited. It is recommended to visit the Namib Desert between May to October.

6. Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert spreads across China and Mongolia. It is, however, not one major desert. It is a combination of 33 different deserts, each with different features and landscapes. It is famous for its role in the Mongol empire. Only 5% of the Gobi Desert is covered in sand. The rest is mountains with a green valley, rivers, oases, sand dune lakes, historical sites, and lakes. The desert also has fossils such as dinosaur eggs and is home to animals such as Bactrian camels, Siberian Ibex, and Gobi brown bears. Plan a visit to the Gobi Desert from August to October and enjoy activities such as camel trekking, searching for fossils, watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets, visiting the Three Beauties National Park, and climbing dunes.

7. Arctic Desert

The Arctic Desert is another cold desert because of the low amount of precipitation it receives annually. It is the second largest desert in the world. It covers a group of islands in Russia and Norway. Despite its freezing weather, there are inhabitants in the Arctic, the famous Eskimos. Some animals have adapted to these conditions, such as the arctic fox, arctic hare, narwhal, polar bear, and walrus. There are a lot of activities that can be enjoyed in the Arctic Desert. They include dog sledding, snowshoe walks, skiing, sports fishing, mountaineering, and rafting. For the best time to enjoy the Artic Desert, plan your trip between June and September.

8. Great Australian Desert

Right after the Sahara Desert, the fourth largest desert in the world is the Great Australian desert. Located entirely in Australia, it is a collection of 10 deserts and desert regions that are in Australia. Mining is one of the significant activities to do in the GAD, along with agriculture and tourism. GAD is rich in gold, lead, nickel, some precious gems, iron, aluminum, manganese, and uranium ores. Hot though it may be for humans, the Great Australian Desert is inhabited by some exotic animals. It includes wallabies, kangaroos, dingoes, and wombats and is home to the world's largest feral camels. There are reptiles like bearded dragons, thorny devils, and birds such as emus, parrots, and cockatoos. Activities such as desert safaris, hiking, and visiting Uluru can be enjoyed best between April and October.

9. Kalahari Desert

Covering Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, it’s the second biggest desert in Africa after the Sahara Desert. There is a variety of wildlife to be seen in the Kalahari Desert, from springbok, oryx, wildebeest, kudu, cheetahs, leopards, the famous black-maned lions, secretary birds, and giant eagle owls. The best time to visit Kalahari is between November and April. During this period, there is a large animal migration. There are national parks to tour during your visit, or you can go canoeing and cruising in the orange river, hiking the dassie trail, and mountain biking.

10. Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert in North America spans the states of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. It is home to the Death Valley, the hottest place in North America. Though it has harsh conditions, the Mojave has lovely landscapes that have been used as an out-of-this-world backdrop to the fiction series ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’ There are a variety of species, such as ten different types of scorpions, tarantulas, desert tortoises, some endemic plants, Joshua tree forests, and wildflower fields. It boasts the Valley of Fire State Park, many towns, and museums. All of these make it a very famous tourist attraction. Plan your trip between February and April and enjoy these activities and others such as hiking Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Loop Trail, stargazing, and hiking the mule mountains.

There are 23 deserts in the world, some are big while others are small, some hot, and others cold deserts, each with unique features. Deserts are found worldwide, and some of these deserts are growing in size. It is pleasing to realize that despite the severity of the conditions in these places, activities can still be enjoyed.

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