Deserts are some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. The arid land is often uninhabited but possesses a stark beauty. Deserts can be hot or cold, and cover almost one-third of the Earth’s surface area. Here are the most famous deserts around the world:

1Antarctic Desert

This photograph was taken in Gerlache Strait with full frame camera and G telephoto lens.

Said to be the largest desert in the world, the vast inhospitable and freezing expanse of Antarctica is only home to small groups of scientific researchers (only between 1,000 and 5,000).

2Arctic Desert

Ski touring (mountaineering) in Western Greenland

This large cold desert occupies parts of Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. It is known for its high winds and sub-zero temperatures and is particularly vulnerable to climate change.

3Sahara Desert

Sand dunes in the Sahara Desert - Morocco

Spread over a vast region of Northern Africa, the Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, being almost as large as the United States. It covers 13 countries and is famous for being extremely hot during the day and freezing at night

4Arabian Desert

camel in liwa desert

Located in the West of Asia, the Arabain desert stretches across Yemen, the Persian Gulf, Oman, Jordan, and Iraq. At its centre is the Rub ’al-Khali or the “Empty Quarter,” which is the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world.

5Gobi Desert

Canyon, Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Set in the dry “rain shadow” of the Himalayas, the Gobi Desert lies in north-western China and southern Mongolia. The largest desert in Asia, it is home to various famous cities of the old Silk Road as well as many important fossils. 

6Kalahari Desert

Kalahari desert.

The semi-arid savannah of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa covers parts of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. It is known for its desert plants and scrub vegetation, and for its sole permanent river, the Okavango. 

7Great Victoria Desert

Victoria desert landscape, Australia

The Great Victoria Desert is the largest in Australia, spread over the south and west of the country. It is known for its sand hills, salt lakes, and grassland plains, as well as its numerous thunderstorms. 

8Patagonian Desert

Landscape in the pampas of Patagonia, in Argentina

Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Andes Mountains to the west, the Patagonian Desert is one of the largest deserts in South America. It covers an area in Argentina and Chile.

9Namib Desert

Aerial view of the sand dunes of the Namib Desert colliding with the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia.

The oldest desert in the world, the Namib is located on the coast of southern Africa, spreading across Namibia, Angola and South Africa. It is full of sand dunes and fascinating animals. 

10Thar Desert

Indian women crossing sand dunes and carrying on their heads water from local well, Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India. Rajasthani women and children often walk long distances through the desert to bring back jugs of water that they carry on their heads.

Though not especially dry or large when compared to the other deserts on this list, the Thar Desert in north-western India is famous for its vibrant cultures. Spread across the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat, it is also home to majestic forts and palaces. 

11Great Basin Desert

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

The largest desert in the USA, the Great Basin Desert is bordered by the Rocky Mountains to the east, the Sierra Nevada range to the west, the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts to the south, and the Columbia Plateau in the north. Don’t miss the Mojave’s Death Valley, the lowest point in North America. 

12Atacama Desert

Riding Horse, Vale de la Luna - Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world, and is spread over a plateau across Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. It is famous for its many salt lakes and its almost total lack of vegetation. 

Also Read: How To Go On Ethical Safaris In Africa

Have we missed any other famous deserts from around the world? If so, do share them in the comments below.


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