Lut Desert Expedition, Iran

Company : Secret Compass
Location : Kermen, Tehran, Silk Road
Duration: 2 weeks to 2 weeks
Approx Costs: 3000+ to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Iran’s Lut desert offers an otherworldly landscape of star dunes, shifting sands and wind-hewn kaluts. It’s home to the hottest recorded spot on earth and its soft sands and towering rock sculptures are the setting for an epic desert traverse…that you can be part of.

The aim of this epic desert expedition is to carry out a 220km east to west traverse of Iran’s Lut desert, also known as the Dasht-e-Lut. As a member of this pioneering expedition team, you’ll pass through an ever-changing landscape of imposing sand dunes, some shaped like stars which radiate out across the desert plains.

Traversing dunes, rock corridors, kaluts, meteorite fields and rocky plateaux, this expedition will be carried out by the team on foot, with support and water supply from 4WD vehicles.

Secret Compass’s first expedition to the Lut was so unique it featured in National Geographic in 2016. This traverse remains a rare achievement, the desert having only ever been crossed on foot by a handful of adventurous travellers. If you’re passionate about Persia and intrigued by Iran, experience the geology, the desert stars and the solitude on this boundary-pushing desert venture.



  • Follow in the footsteps of Thesiger (1964) and Marco Polo (1271)
  • Trek the world’s largest kalut system
  • Visit meteorite craters and the mountains of the moon
  • Cross the infamous ‘plain of pain’ (named by Secret Compass)
  • Explore the region that’s home to the world’s hottest spot
  • Pass through former Silk Road haunts
  • See rare desert structures like salt marshes and polygons
  • See Kerman, One of Iran’s oldest cities
  • Discover Tehran after the expedition



Teammates arrive

All teammates fly into Tehran to arrive on or before 1000hrs on (date TBC). Teammates will make their own arrangements to get to a local hotel (local transport connections are excellent) where the Secret Compass leader will await. The expedition officially begins at the hotel this morning with an introductory briefing, followed by an organised tour of Tehran. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in readiness for an internal flight (organised by Secret Compass and included in cost) to Birjand. In Berjand, the team will meet the excellent local support team and will pack and prepare to commence the desert traverse the following day.

On expedition

Days three to ten of this epic desert expedition involve trekking across the Lut. You’ll be dropped off at the trailhead then let loose on the desert. This route encompasses many striking desert features as outlined in the Why Go section above. The team’s first obstacles are massive sand dunes rising over 200m high. Progress will be slow as the terrain is arduous, the heat oppressive. Moving east, you’ll pass through the Eye of the Lut evaporated lake and the meteorite valley. Then it’s on to flatter ground, crossing salt plains and encircling star dunes.

This is a wholly trekking traverse. The 4WD vehicles are for support only and will make themselves scarce once they replenish the team’s water supplies in the morning. Teammates will each carry daysacks with clothing layers, water (at least three litres per person), lunch and personal items and a share of team med kit. Cooking equipment and the tents will travel in the 4WD vehicles, which will rejoin the team every evening. Throughout the trek, the team will camp in tents beneath the vast desert skies. Needless to say, there will be no showers as all water will be needed for cooking and drinking. Wet wipes are the way forward!

Nearing the end of the traverse and west of the main star dunes, you’ll enter into kalut territory. The team will then complete the traverse on foot before (finally!) getting to travel in the vehicles for the journey to Kashit, a small desert village. A sight for dry eyes, Kashit offers a very welcome dose of civilisation at the close of the trekking phase of this the wild and remote expedition.

Goal achieved

Lut traversed: excellent effort. Following a night and the following morning in Kashit, you’ll drive to Kerman for a proper celebratory meal and a shower, stopping off at sites of interest en route, time permitting. A contingency day is built into the above itinerary to allow for team speeds and the demands of the desert – this really is an exploratory expedition and so teammates should be prepared to flex with the plan as needed.

Kerman has a lively bazaar and buildings made of mud bricks, and was a classic stopover for the Silk Route traders. On the penultimate day in country, you’ll fly back to Tehran for the evening and stay in a hotel. The expedition officially ends after breakfast on the final morning, with teammates free to book return flights at any time on this date including early hours. Teammates are responsible for organising their own transfer back to the airport


  • Trekking / Hiking


  • Camping


  • Meals Included

Tour Price


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