The Karakal Desert in Yazd is one of the largest deserts in Iran, attracting numerous travelers each year during autumn and winter. In this article from the tourism magazine “Eligasht,” we intend to talk about the Karakal Desert in Yazd. The Karakal Desert, also known as Karakal-e Sadeghabad, has been the habitat of a beautiful feline species called Karakal from past to present, which is the reason for its fame in central Iran. Stay with us to get acquainted with the Karakal Desert in Yazd.
Introduction to Karakal desert
As we mentioned, the Karakal Desert is located in central Iran and has been the habitat of a beautiful feline species called Karakal. This feline’s presence is one of the reasons for the desert’s fame. In this desert, you can find ultimate tranquility through the combination of colors present. In the Karakal Desert, the merging of the desert and the sky can truly be witnessed and absorbed. The Karakal Desert is a mysterious region that, despite its harsh and rugged appearance, captivates many tourists with its colors and the movement of its flowing sands. Due to its proximity to the village of Sadeghabad, the Karakal Desert is also known as the Sadeghabad Desert.
Vegetation and Wildlife in the Karakal Desert, Yazd
In this desert, you can observe the vegetation and wildlife. In this area, you can spot the Caracal cat and desert mouse from a distance. This area, which is also under the supervision of the Siyahkuh National Park, is home to mammals such as the fox, goat, sheep, ibex, leopard, and cheetah. Among the birds in this area, we can mention the Houbara Bustard, the Saker Falcon, and the Eastern Imperial Eagle. The vegetation in the Karakal Desert consists of saltwort and tamarisk, which are unique to desert environments and are also called “Nabka.” The snakeweed and desert marigold are other flowering plants found in this desert, which have no leaves and are succulent. The vegetation and wildlife in the Karakal Desert, Yazd, are incredibly rich.
Getting to know the Caracal cat
Caracal is an ancient Persian name for a feline that lives in the Karakal Desert, which is why the desert is named after it. However, the modern name for the Caracal cat is “Siagush” or “Mangoleh Goush.” This animal is one of the eight felid species that live in Iran, and besides Iran, it also inhabits Africa. It is interesting to note that the Caracal is one of the heaviest and fastest small felids.
According to genetic studies, the African golden cat and the caracal are the closest relatives. Due to the long-standing presence of the Caracal in Iran, a desert with the same name has been named in honor of this animal’s habitat, and many people mistakenly confuse the Caracal with another feline called the Lynx. Although these two animals have many physical similarities, they are not the same.
To prove this, it should be mentioned that the Caracal is a solitary and highly territorial animal and is mostly active during the night. The Caracal covers a vast territory in arid regions, for example, one Caracal claims an area of 270 to 1,116 square kilometers and does not allow the presence of another Caracal.
Tourist Attractions of Karakal Desert in Yazd
Among the exciting activities you can do in this desert are camel riding, safari, motorcycling on golden sands, sliding down the flowing dunes, and walking in the palm groves, each of which can be an incredibly exciting and thrilling travel plan on its own. There are many attractions around the Karakal Desert that you should include in your travel itinerary if possible. The surrounding attractions of the Karakal Desert are abundant and mostly consist of historical sites that are worth visiting. in the following, we will introduce you to the attractions of this unique desert.
Watching Palm Groves and Desert Starry Nights
Similar to other tourist deserts in Iran, the Karakal Desert in Yazd has a suitable environment for unique recreational activities. There are beautiful dunes and palm groves that you can admire. Spending a night under the desert’s starry sky and enjoying a traditional charcoal tea are among the delightful experiences that can be enjoyed in this region. The Karakal Desert in Yazd also has fascinating wildlife, providing tourists with the opportunity to observe desert birds and animals.
Visiting the Bafghi Wildlife House
Another tourist attraction that you can witness along the path to the Karakal Desert in Yazd is the Bafghi Wildlife House, which dates back to the 10th century AH (Islamic calendar) and is located in this area. Bafghi was one of the poets who laid the foundation for the Wasevukh School and did not praise his beloved in his poems. This old adobe house is one of the desert houses that has a brick courtyard and an underground water reservoir, and it is worth seeing on your way to the Karakal Desert. This house, with its beautiful and unique architecture, is one of Iran’s national treasures situated along the route to this desert. Many tourists visit the Bafghi Wildlife House while traveling to this desert.
Ab-Anbar and Kakamir Bath
Among other attractions in the Karakal Desert in Yazd are the Ab-Anbar (water reservoir) and Kakamir Bath, which is one of the largest water reservoirs in Bafgh. The water volume of this reservoir is 250 cubic meters, and it is beautifully and magnificently covered with a dome-shaped brick structure located four meters underground. The Kakamir Water Reservoir and Bathhouse are other attractions around the Karakal Desert and Both of these structures date back to the Safavid era. The water reservoir has been an important place for water storage, especially during the summer season. The bathhouse and water reservoir have been built using Sarouj and brick materials.
Baqerabad Castle in Bafgh
Within a distance of 2 kilometers from the Karakal Desert in Yazd, there is a castle called Baqerabad, situated in the city of Bafgh where the Karakal Desert in Yazd is located. This castle is one of Yazd’s historical forts, and you can easily observe the flowing sands of the desert from the top of the dunes. Baqerabad Castle, belonging to the Qajar period, was built by the order of Abdolrahim Khan, the son of Mohammad Taghi Khan Bafghi, to provide shelter for the people against potential dangers and to store grains. Baqerabad Castle in Bafgh has 45 rooms, two guard towers, three stations for stone throwers, and ten stations for archers, making it a unique fortress. The flowing dunes, with an area of over 1,500 hectares and a height of over 50 meters, are among the largest dunes in Iran.
Another attraction that you shouldn’t miss on your way to Karakal Desert, Yazd is the Titu Garden, which dates back to the Safavid period and has a history of five hundred years. In this garden, there is a mansion with a French hat and windcatchers, and it is one of the Iranian gardens that has been registered as a national heritage. The trees in the garden are palm, grape, and pomegranate.
Shahid Barzegari Recreation Complex
A recreational complex named Shahid Barzegari has been established near the Karakal Desert, offering suitable amenities and good welfare services to tourists visiting this destination. The complex provides comfortable rooms and suites for tourists, along with sanitary facilities, bathrooms, and parking. Additionally, it offers various recreational activities such as paragliding, beach volleyball, sunbathing areas, badminton courts, desert trekking tours, and stargazing at night.
The best time to travel to Karakal Desert, Yazd
The best time to travel to the Karakal Desert in Yazd is during the autumn and winter seasons, and you can have a desert tour during the day. You should check the weather conditions and pay attention to the wind speed. If the wind is strong, it is better to cancel your trip to avoid encountering a sandstorm. The early morning until 11 AM and from 2 PM to 5 PM is very suitable for visiting the desert, so it’s recommended to plan your visit during these hours. For overnight stays in the desert, the months of October, January, February, and March are highly recommended.
On the other hand, camping in the desert during the very cold months of November, December, and January is not advisable. The nights in the desert during the winter season are also very cold, making it unsuitable for camping and setting up tents. However, it should be mentioned that in April, overnight stays and desert tours are highly recommended, and you can easily observe the night sky in the Karakal Desert, Yazd.
Accessing the Karakal Desert in Yazd
To access the Karakal Desert in Yazd, you need to first head towards the city of Yazd. Then, follow the desert road, which is approximately 100 kilometers towards the city of Bafgh. In the middle of Bafgh Boulevard, you should turn left and continue for about 15 kilometers until you reach the village of Sadegh Abad, where the Karakal Desert is located. Along the way to the Karakal Desert, you can observe the remains of an ancient castle undergoing restoration. Additionally, there are large palm groves in this area that are worth visiting, with numerous pomegranate and pistachio trees.
Important Tips for Desert Travel
- Distances in deserts can be deceiving. For example, you might see a point and assume it is only 200 meters away, while the actual distance may be close to 1 kilometer.
- If you are traveling alone or in a small group, it is important to inform reliable individuals about your location, departure time, and return time.
- When hiking in the desert or engaging in any outdoor activities, it is crucial to walk at a calm pace, similar to elderly individuals.
- Carry an ample amount of water with you, as thirst can hinder your progress.
- Familiarize yourself with the concept of sandstorms, and make sure to have a neck scarf with you to cover your mouth.
- Even if you are confident about the route, these items should always be carried during desert trips to help you find your way in case you get lost.
- Pack a backpack suitable for the number of days you will be traveling. It is recommended to roll your clothes to save space in the backpack.
This article has described all the attractions of Karakal Desert, Yazd, and its surroundings for you, as a travel enthusiast. If you have traveled to Karakal Desert, Yazd, you can share your travel experience with us and talk about the tourist facilities of Karakal Desert, Yazd, and your travel experience so that more people can become familiar with them. Eligasht wishes you a pleasant journey.
- Can I visit the Karakal Desert independently, or do I need to go with a tour group?
for a convenient and organized experience, it is recommended to go with a tour group. They can provide transportation, experienced guides, and necessary arrangements for activities like camping, camel riding, and sandboarding.
- What should I pack for a trip to the Karakal Desert?
When visiting the Karakal Desert, it is important to pack essential items. Some recommended items include:
Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing to protect from the sun.
A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.
Sturdy and comfortable footwear suitable for walking on sand.
Sufficient water supply and snacks for hydration and energy.
A light jacket or warm clothing for cooler evenings and nights.
Basic camping gear if planning an overnight stay, including a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking utensils.
- Are there any cultural or historical sites to explore in the Karakal Desert?
Yes, the Karakal Desert is surrounded by a region rich in cultural and historical sites. In the vicinity, you can visit Yazd, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its historic architecture, windcatchers, and ancient mud-brick buildings. Additionally, you can explore the nearby ancient city of Bafgh, which boasts historical structures such as the Bafghi Wilderness House and Kakamir Water Reservoir and Bathhouse. These sites provide insights into the region’s history and offer unique cultural experiences.