Peace and Quiet: Arid Destinations for Travelers Craving Calm
In times like these, who isn’t craving a still destination far away from the noise and light pollution of busy and crowded cities? While international travel slowly resumes, adventurous travelers seeking calm can plan a future trip to these peaceful and arid destinations around the world:
Atacama Desert - Quasar Expeditions
Known as the driest desert in the world with soil similar to samples found on Mars, The Atacama Desert spans 600 miles on the Pacific coast from Peru to Chile and receives an average of one millimeter of rainfall a year. Travelers interested in exploring the barren landscape can do so with Quasar Expeditions, a leader in experiential travel throughout South America for over 30 years. Quasar offers unforgettable tours throughout the Atacama, where guests can enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding across the arid terrain during the day, and unparalleled stargazing opportunities at night - the desert offers 300+ clear night skies each year and is home to the largest ground telescope in the world. Add stays at the top hotels in the area such as Explora Atacama and Tierra Atacama, and guests are in for an unforgettable trip.
The Kalahari / Tswalu
Located in the green Kalahari of South Africa, a place where humans have wandered since the dawn of the creation, the Kalahari offers a diverse landscape and animal sightings such as cheetah, aardvark, lion and others.
One of the very few mountain ranges in the southern Kalahari – the Korannaberg – casts a benevolent shadow over the rolling dunes and expansive grasslands of Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa’s largest private game reserve in the Kalahari. With a strong focus on research and conservation, Tswalu’s offers guest a chance to experience extraordinary wildlife in a luxurious setting. Between private game drives with no set schedule, helicopter safaris, horseback riding, walking safaris, meerkat encounter, visit to the millennia-old San petroglyphs, and research activities, Tswalu offers guests the chance to experience the magic of the southern Kalahari from every angle.
Since Tswalu is a private reserve, no areas are off-limits, and its not crowded with tourists, so guests can pursue the sightings of the Kalahari as they please. Each room comes with its own guide and vehicle, allowing for total flexibility.
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
A haunting and intriguing landscape, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana form a large part of the Kalahari Basin and the shimmering, salt-baked landscape is iconic in its beauty. Once an ancient super lake that covered up most of the country hundreds of thousands of years ago, today the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is a desert and a place of serene nothingness and awe. It’s a place that defines isolation, but dig a little deeper below the surface to discover the people and wildlife that call the seemingly inhospitable area home. The dry season, from April to October, with the peak being in the summer, is the desert as the world knows it. A shimmering whiteness envelops the scorched landscape of the dry Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, like a mirage floating over the crusted salt, with the chance to encounter nomadic herds in the distance, as if an illusion. The only safari accommodations in the Makgadikgadi are under the Natural Selection portfolio. Camp Kalahari and San Camp offer experiences to discover this otherworldly desert destination. Dry season is time of year for whizzing across the pans on quad bikes or horseback, sleeping under the stars, and enjoying the pans in their most iconic, dazzling state. In addition to these seasonal activities, guests can embark on daily game drives to spot desert-adapted animals including lion, zebra, elephant, brown hyena, cheetah and more. Guests also have the opportunity to interact with the famed Makgadikgadi meerkats, walk with the bushmen, have breakfast in the bush after an early morning game drive and more. Back at camp, guests can indulge in sweets from the camp kitchen, lounge in the common areas and take a dip in on scorching days.