Touch the sky in Maranjab Desert of Isfahan Province
Maranjab Desert is located near the city of Kashan which is one of the ancient desert cities of the central province of Isfahan. It was named after a castle around there dating back to Safavid Dynasty. It has a typical climate of hot and dry in summer, cold and dry in winter, and very little rainfall during the year.
Maranjab Desert is among the most beautiful deserts of Iran. High dunes and forest arch are the attractions of this region. Most of the vegetation consists of Halophyte plants such as Tamarix and Haloxylon trees, and Zygophyllum bushes. The animal coverage of the area consists of wolf, jackal, hyena, fox sand, sand cat, lizard, chameleon, a variety of lizards, snakes, scorpions, dull-yellow partridge, eagle, hawk, and others cause of lots of food and water, hipersia.com reported.
Aran va Bidgol Salt Lake and Sargardan (Wanderer) Island are other spectacular parts of the desert. When you watch the island from far away, the two ends of it disappear in the horizon and the landscape looks like a ship adrift in the ocean desert, that’s why it’s called Wanderer Island. Another attraction of the Maranjab is a caravanserai located on the Silk Road.
Maranjab Caravanserai, one of the most famous in Iran, was built by the order of Shah Abbas Safavid. In the past, there used to be always, 500 soldiers on top of the castle to watch over the caravans trading from China to Europe. Maranjab Caravanserai has a qanat having fresh water which is a phenomenon in a desert full of salt lakes. Today Maranjab Caravanserai is used as a guest house. It has 29 rooms and accommodates tourists visiting this wonderful dessert. The rooms don’t have beds so you should have sleeping bags. Each room accommodates one or two people and the bigger ones accommodate seven people. The caravanserai has a small restaurant that serves food. The area around the Maranjab Caravanserai is safe and is a great place for camping.
Another attraction of the Maranjab Desert is the sand dunes. The tallest sand dunes on the east, are about 70 meters. On the southern side of Maranjab Caravanserai, there is a mountain, known as ‘Kolang Mountain’ surrounded by sand hills. If you are looking for a little adventure, with a 15-minute walk you can reach the top, the view of the desert from the top is just breathtaking. The moving sand dunes create a wonderful landscape in the desert. You can enjoy walking on the sand dunes with bare feet. Since the temperature rises in the desert at midday, it’s better to walk on the moving sand dunes in the early morning or late afternoon.
Maranjab Salt Lake
Maranjab Salt Lake is located approximately 100km from Qom and 60km from Kashan. The lake has a surface area of about 1,800 sq.m. Many people confuse the Maranjab Salt Lake with Hoz-e Soltan Salt Lake. The lake looks like a triangle and it’s five to 50 meters deep. The Maranjab Salt Lake is used for salt extraction too. The lands around the lake are swampy, so it’s better to visit the lake with a local guide who knows the area. Generally, there are two ways to get to the Maranjab Salt Lake:
● On the way from Aran va Bidgol to Maranjab route after driving about 35km you’ll see the way through the salt lake.
● Passing the Maranjab Caravanserai, after 10km you can see the route to the salt lake.
If you are lucky you can see flamingos too. September, October, and November, (the whole autumn) is flamingoes migration time.
What is the best time to go?
Mid-autumn and late November are the best times due to the dryness of the path, mild weather, and the lack of insects.
There are several ways to get to the Maranjab desert. The main route is from Kashan to Aran va Bidgol to Padegan road and you have to drive around 45km on a dirt road to get to the Maranjab Desert. Due to the military base that is located in this region, a leader should accompany you.
Start your trip early in the morning, about 8 a.m., and enjoy visiting Maranjab Caravanserai, Maranjab Salt Lake, and dunes. You can spend your whole day in the Maranjab Desert and get back to Tehran after seeing the beautiful sunset. Otherwise, you can just visit the dunes and caravanserai and get back to Tehran in the afternoon.