Watching the stunning sunrise and sunset of world’s 25th largest desert, basking in the fascination of awe-inspiring sceneries, staying in local camps, tasting Persian cuisine, picking up stars in the night sky, and getting a glimpse of occasional shooting stars, all of these are parts of a memorable journey to Kalouts. Wondrous Kalouts
Lut and Shahdad
Kalouts of Shahdad and their otherworldly sceneries have gained much attention in the past few years. Shahdad is one of the oldest towns in Kerman province, located 100 Km outside of Kerman and is 40 Km from the Kalouts.
The highest temperature on earth has been recorded in Lut (Dasht-e Out), at the edge of which you could see Shahdad. According to Geologists, here is one of the heat poles on earth. But it could be this heat and dryness which has attracted European tourists. The highest temperature recorded in Kalouts is +70° C, accordingly, some believe that this heat had made the survival of any living being in the radius of 30,000 Km impossible.
The famous Yardangs or Kalouts of Shahdad have entered into the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. This jaw-dropping area has a history of 20,000 years. Kalout is a natural formation made by the simultaneous work of wind and water erosion, in the south of Iran. This city of clods -located at the heart of the Lut desert- has 145 Km length and 80 Km width, covering an area of 11,000 kilometers.
Rud-e Shour is the only perennial river flowing in the area. Its water is one of the saltiest in the world and contains large amounts of minerals. This river springs from 200 Km in the southwest and flows towards the Salt Pit, a region called Gowd-e Namak by local people.
Tamarisk bushes spread on the sandy hills of Lut, creating Nebkas. When sand and dust gathers under the bushes, Nebkas is formed which shows the way wind flows. Going deeper in the heart of Kalouts, less vegetation is seen and even the scattered Astragal bushes gradually fade away. There is no plant life in the Kalout pits or the areas surrounding them. Wondrous Kalouts
What to Do before Setting Off
To reach this amazing city, you need to obtain a permit and the helping hand of a guide. The area is vast and sand formations look like one another, so without a guide you run the risk of getting lost. Due to several detours and constant transformation of Kalouts -especially after the rainfall- it is highly recommended to inform the police and CHTO (Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization) before setting off. Sometimes even GPS fails to function in the Lut and Shahdad outskirts.
Take enough food and water with you. Going into the area without proper equipment could cause lasting damages.
How to Go
You could take a taxi or go by bus to Shahdad and Kalouts. In the morning, taxies in Kerman are available for wondrous Kalouts. To enjoy the scenery and also to avoid the heat rise, it is better to start at sunrise or sunset.Wondrous Kalouts
Where to Stay
You could rent village huts in Shahdad, starting at $20 a night. This includes three meals a day and is a great opportunity to taste Persian cuisine in a rural area. You could also spend the night in Capri camps (with shed-like buildings) which are less comfortable, but cheaper. This traditional camp is 10 Km out of Kalouts.
Amazing Night Sky
Above all, the area has one of the best night skies of Iran. Shahdad and its calmness, starry nights are famous among Iranian stargazers. Far from any major light source, those interested in stargazing could experience a captivating and memorable night. Consequently If you are lucky, you might even catch wandering meteors scratching the sight of shinning Milky Way. Wondrous Kalouts