The Most Beautiful Oases in the World
Imagine you are walking through the hot, desert, in an endless search for water, and then: an oasis! Lush green, crystal clear water, your port in the desert sea. Well, this scenario probably won’t happen to you, but there seems to be something to the myth of the oasis. Some oases only consist of small water points and some expand into entire oasis towns with their farms. They used to be important supply points for migrant peoples, the caravan trade, and cattle breeding. Today you can explore these unique places. Here is the top 10 of the most beautiful oases in the world.
Haria in Lanzarote
Let’s start with an oasis for beginners: Haria on Lanzarote, a palm tree oasis. The volcanic island is better known for its desert-like barrenness, but in the north, you will find the unique valley of 1,000 palm trees. The special and cooler climate has meant that lush vegetation has formed here between the mountains. The place is characterized by its beautiful, white houses with idyllic courtyards. According to legend, every time a girl was born a new palm grew in the village.
Haria is not yet overcrowded with tourists and so you can visit the handicraft market in peace and swim in the natural bays. Explored necessarily the lava tube Cueva de Los Verdes, which is one of the longest volcanic tubes in the world. And since Lanzarote is a popular holiday destination, there is the possibility that you can explore this special place yourself.
Ubari Oasis in Libya
The huge area of the Ubari oasis is located in the Libyan part of the Sahara in the greater province of Fezzan. Underground water reservoirs feed the numerous salt lakes, which are picturesquely surrounded by bushy palm trees. The Umm al-Ma lake with its 800 meters length is particularly beautiful. You can even explore old Bedouin settlements here. The road that runs through the oasis was once an important link on the Trans-Saharan Caravan Route. Today, locals do their trade in the oases and offer visitors souvenirs.
Palm Valley in the Northern Territory of Australia
If I am already introducing you to the most beautiful oases in the whole world, then Australia should of course not be missing. The Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park is an impressive oasis. It’s about two hours from Alice Springs in the outback of the Northern Territory. The valley owes its name to the special Red Cabbage Palm or Marienpalme, which can only be found here.
The huge national park is characterized by its dry river beds, rugged cliffs, and breathtaking gorges. Here the water collects in small lakes that seep from the mountains through the sandstone and form underground water depots. Tourists can camp here or take part in bushwalking tours. But make sure that the Finke River is currently running water. It’s best to travel to the Northern Territory between April and September, as the temperatures are not so extreme then.
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil
“Is this an alien planet for aliens?” That was the first thing I thought to myself when I saw this desert. The answer is: no! This is the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is the largest desert of Brazil on the northern coast in Maranhão. The wave-like lagoons with their turquoise-blue water are spread over 80 kilometers.
Due to the rain-rich and nearby Amazon basin, these crazy lakes form an endless wasteland. Here you can discover small fish, crabs, and turtles and in some places, there is also diverse vegetation consisting of grasses, bushes, palm trees, and mangroves. From the fishing village of Barreirinhas, you can start your tour to the dunes and take a refreshing swim. If you do run into aliens, give me a call!
Chebika oasis in Tunisia
We continue with the paradisiacal mountain oasis Chebika, which can be found in the desert of Tunisia, near the Algerian border. Located at the foot of a mountain range, the spring water meanders through rocks and gorges and pours into crystal clear lakes as a waterfall. Lush palm trees provide pleasant shade in the hot desert sun.
Many tourists take bus tours to this unique place, also known as the Balcony of the Sahara. The Romans used the Chebika oasis as an outpost and later Berbers ran their oasis economy here. So this oasis is a place full of history. Interesting to know: Several scenes from Star Wars were filmed here in 1976. Well then, may the Force be with you in this place.
Siwa Oasis in Egypt
Let’s go on vacation to Egypt! In this beautiful country, too, oases such as the impressive Siwa Oasis can be found. It is located about 50 kilometers from the border with Libya and is not that easy to travel to – it takes about ten hours by car from Cairo. The oasis itself is huge with a length of 80 kilometers. Anyone who takes the long journey will be rewarded: There are crystal clear lakes and diverse flora of date palms, olive trees, fruit, and vegetables.
Siwa is a whole city oasis with over 20,000 inhabitants, many mosques, gardens, donkey carts, and a historic market square. Something very special is the great Amun Temple, known as the Oracle of Siwa even in antiquity. Even Alexander the Great once questioned the oracle – but since he probably died of poisoning, the prophecy was probably not the best for him. If you want to learn more exciting stories about Siwa, you should book a tour that will take you to this mystical place.
Yuya Quan or Crescent Moon Lake in China
In the vicinity of Dunhuang in China, there is a very unusual oasis with the so-called crescent moon lake. The beautiful name arises from the shape of the lake, which looks like a crescent moon. This tiny, idyllic place is located in the middle of up to 300 meter high dunes, which are also called echoing or singing dunes.
Here you can go on exciting camel tours or go on a sand sled. Sounds like a lot of action, doesn’t it? The formerly important point of the Silk Road has not been swallowed by the sand in this desert sea for more than 2,000 years.
En Gedi oasis in Israel
In the Israeli desert west of the Dead Sea and near the Masada fortress, there is almost nothing but a barren, vegetation-free expanse. But only almost! Because in many small valleys the water forms beautiful clear lakes from the soil and springs, which allow the plants to sprout. Even leopards, ibex and mountain gazelles cavort here. The En Gedi Oasis, which translates as the spring of the kid, is a huge nature reserve with caves, lakes, and waterfalls.
Be sure to visit the impressive Schule with a waterfall. You feel like you are in paradise, right? The crystal clear water promises you a wonderful cooling off. You can even find the remains of a temple from the 4th millennium BC. And although the environment here in Israel seems so unreal, the Shalom Marathon or the half marathon on the Dead Sea takes place exactly at this location. Then start training!
Huacachina in Peru
This is an oasis as it is in the book! In the middle of the desert in Peru, a small village is sprouting up like a mushroom. Located in the Ica region, about 300 kilometers south of Lima, Huacachina is a national heritage site. Although only a few hundred locals live here, countless visitors come here every day, because the oasis has so much to offer. There is a wonderful lake that is fed by an underground river from the Andes. The water, which used to be very rich in minerals, was said to have healing properties, but one day the lake almost dried up, so that artificial water has to be added to this day. But that shouldn’t prevent you from swimming and rowing boats. Fun is also guaranteed around it because most of the visitors come here because of the dunes, which are up to 100 meters high: they drive dune buggies and do sandboarding. An oasis with a real fun factor!
Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman
Now comes my number one! The dreamlike oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most famous oases in all of Oman. It is located about 50 kilometers from Muscat, the capital of Oman, in a mountain desert and is easy to reach for tourists. The turquoise blue water lets you look to the bottom and immediately invites you to take a bath. Large palm trees line the shores of the small lake and provide wonderful shade. Between the rugged rocks, the place looks like it was from 1001 Nights, don’t you think?
The oasis is located in a wadi, a dry river bed in which there are many other such freshwater lakes. You can swim, watch small fish, camp, and hike to unique caves nearby.
Fascinating what nature has produced, isn’t it? Oases are special places that invite you to relax and at the same time offer unique experiences.