Unique Travel

email us

US Transcom
US Transcom

Shahin & Sepehr

Iranian Online Directory

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian


Forget shomal
Dazzled by the surprising beauty of the desert

By Ali Parandeh
November 13, 1998
The Iranian

We were supposed to all meet at 9:30 Thursday morning. However upon my return home late Wednesday night, I got a message that the we are leaving at 7. Having not packed or done anything, I spent a good few hours just getting my stuff together. After a couple of hours of sleep, I made it to our meeting point exactly at 7.

But I had forgotten that I was in Tehran, Iran. Others started showing up slowly well after 7 and the last one arrived at 8:30. I thought of the extra hour of sleep I could have gotten.

The minibus had a lot to be desired in terms of comfort, but the atmosphere soon made up for it. Our group included about 20 people, all under 40 years old; three couples and four families.

It took us about three hours to get to our final destination: the National Park near Saveh. At the entrance we were told that the person in charge was not available to sign our entry papers. To kill time, we walked to a dried up river near by to have lunch.

Our path was through thick bamboo growths, over two meters tall, followed by plain flat lands covered with interesting desert plants. After an hour, the hot sun forced us to go back. We settled under the bridge over the dried river. For lunch, we had some delicious aabgousht (meat and potato stew), but a somewhat a thicker version of it, followed by fresh fruits and a siesta for a few who took shelter under the bridge.

We waited about four hours for our man to arrive and grant us permission to enter the park. Everybody boarded the de luxe minibus and headed into the desert. Starting with rather a flat road we soon entered a hilly area. In the flat area you could see some hills in the distance. On one side we had the hills behind us. In front, we had a better view of the golden desert hills. They were not very high. I suppose it would have taken about 10 to 15 minutes to climb to the top of the highest one. One of the hills stood out with its amazingly colorful spiral layers.

After driving about ten kilometers we stopped and decided to settle for the night. By the time we put up the tents and got ready, it was nearly 6 o'clock. We had less than a few minutes to have everything prepared for dinner before it got dark. We also wanted to go for a walk as the air had cooled. After making the cooking area, it had become dark already but still some of us decided to go for a walk.

We saw one of the most beautiful sunsets, followed immediately by a clear sky full of stars. I had never seen so many stars in my whole life. But even this was nowhere as scenic as the Milky Way, so clear and so astonishing. The sky was so beautiful that we were looking up half the time and thus constantly losing the trail. The walk back to the camp wasn't exactly easy, since it was behind a hill and the folks who had stayed back had not started a fire yet. So we just used my little torch, which I had gotten with a gift certificate after eating a whole box of Kit Kat!

After arriving back at the camp, we grouped together to chat the night away. Soon conversation led to jokes and guestimates of everybody's age. (Of course, you all know that I'm 18!).

It didn't take long though before the hungry started complaining, so the fire was prepared and we had jacket potato and barbecued chicken. I think I was one of the few lucky people who got a well cooked potato that was neither raw nor carbonized. Apart from a few carbonized potatoes everything else considered edible was consumed. We then gathered around the fire for a Balouchi dance with music playing on our minibus stereo system! More jokes followed.

As the night fell, a strong wind started to blow which burnt all our wood in less than half an hour. With the fire disappearing, people also started to crawl into their tents.

I have to say that the temperature drop was not as I had expected. The wind blew until the very early hours of the morning. Although I was sleeping with a thick pair of jeans, socks and my jacket, I was still very cold and got very little sleep.

At 7:30 my day started with a 45-minute walk in pure desert silence. Nothing but a light breeze and a small bird chirping somewhere in the bushes. The morning light on the hills created a breathtaking scene, and each hill was colored delicately with different earth compositions in layers of blue, green, grey and brown. As I walked up and down these hills, the view was even more precious depending on the angle of sunlight. I never thought the desert could be so beautiful.

After breakfast our leader Farokh Mostofi, editor of Shekar va Tabi- at (Hunting and Nature) magazine took us for a nature walk. We came across a tiny cactus and elongated rod-shaped rocks which are apparently formed when lightening hits the ground and melts everything around it in a small radius. When the ground cools down, the long rods are formed.

From there we all walked back to the park gates. Only two people walked the whole way, while others were picked up by the minibus. The scenery was interesting until we passed the last hill. After that we were accompanied by some 100 flies and all we could see in the distance was pretty much a flat land and the sounds of silence.

Unlike most trips where everyone on the return journey is sad or moody, our group maintained a hyped and good atmosphere to the very end. To say the least, it was one of the most enjoyable camping trips I have ever been on in Iran.

Similar trips are organized by the Hunting and Nature magazine. All those interested can contact me.

Copyright © 1997 Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form