Allegedly the hottest place on Earth with a record temperature of 70.7 Celsius (159.3 Fahrenheit) and daytime temperatures reaching well into the 60s, the Dasht-e Lut Desert north of Kerman is beautifully strange (and hot) experience. The desert's landscape is a sight in itself, consisting of cracked salt flats with ridges and furrows rising up to 75 meters into the air, assembly weirdly oversized sandcastles. To experience the heath, it is possible to arrange trips from Kerman, which can include sleepovers under the open sky, including cooling dips in oasis' springs, and visits to century old caravansaries.
Bring your thermometer!
One thing that may come as a surprise to travellers is Iraq is not the desert wasteland depicted on TV. Actually, the Iraqi Kurdistan region is full of water. And where there is water, there are often waterfalls. Although Gali Ali Beg in the far north reigns as the most famous (it's even on the 5,000 Iraqi Dinar note), there is another set of falls that have made international headlines. In southern Kurdistan, about 1.5 hours east of Sulaymaniyah, on the Iranian border, the remote falls of Ahmed Awa will forever live in infamy. In 2009, three American hikers lost their way when visiting the falls, and ended up illegally crossing the border with Iran. They spent two years in an Iranian prison. While toying with danger might be reason enough for future travellers not to visit the falls, the fact that they are actually the best falls in the region might be enough to push the unsure to walk the Iraq/Iran tightrope.
This beach and protected area is a nesting ground for the Green turtle. It's possible to witness the egg laying from close distance and later see other nests hatch, where over a hundred small turtles race to the ocean. It's close to impossible to get there without a car - as elsewhere in Oman. The peak season is March to September.
The mountain range in the Asir region is home to hamadryas baboons. The easiest way to see them is probably at the rest stops along the mountain roads. Here troops of baboons patrolled the parking lots in their search for an easy snack. They are used to get food from people, but judged by the size of the males' fangs it seems like a risky business to hand-feed them.
Nothing compares to the Yemeni Island of Socotra. With 307 endemic plants and animal species, it is often called the "Galapagos of the Indian Ocean". It is an ecological paradise with a untapped, unspoilt raw natural beauty that will stun and amaze around every corner. From vast stretches of deserted beaches to massive cave systems to magnificent canyons to towering peaks, Socotra has it, and then some. And this is not a tropical paradise resort, this is bare bone commune with the Earth sort of place. Camping is the norm as your choice of waves or cricket sing you to sleep under a blanket of stars. Absolutely magical!!