Dry January sounds a little… well, dry. But if the lack of 'moonshine' is already getting you down, we're here to show you that dry doesn't have to be dull. Let us wet your appetite with some of our favourite holiday destinations which also happen to be some of the driest places on Earth…
The Namib Desert, Namibia
When you think about desert adventures, the Namib Desert is probably one of the first to spring to mind. Meaning 'Vast Place', the Namib is a coastal desert covering huge swathes of Namibia and parts of Angola and South Africa. Home to a surprising variety of plants and animals - some of which are found nowhere else in the world - the Namib Desert offers a truly unique safari experience. Thanks to a number of exciting and luxurious new camps and lodges that have opened in and around the desert over the last few years, Namibia has become a firm favourite at Original Travel and is one of our top picks for safari lovers. On the Eastern side of the Namib Desert is the NamibRand Nature Reserve where you can see zebras, giraffe, African Wild Cat, antelope and a plethora of smaller desert-native creatures. This dusty desert adventure is different to other African safaris, but the otherworldly landscapes and ability to explore much of the desert terrain on foot will leave you feeling closer than ever to mother nature.
Luxor and Aswan, Egypt
The fifth driest place on Earth, Luxor is often described as 'The World's Greatest Open-Air Museum'. We recommend visiting in January when temperatures are delightfully mild allowing you to fully appreciate the sheer magnitude and grandeur of the ancient monuments. For a unique perspective of the surroundings, glide down the Nile aboard the sublime SS Sudan, stopping off to visit The Great Pyramids and The Valley Of The Kings, where the colourful and well-preserved tombs look as though they were only recently crafted but are in fact thousands of years old. Venture north of Luxor and you'll discover the beautiful Temple of Dendera, a sight not to be missed. Wander through richly decorated chapels and admire iconic columns topped with the carved head of the goddess Hathor - the Egyptian goddess of love and fertility.
While snow-capped Canada doesn't leap to mind in a roundup of dry desert adventures, Yukon's capital city, Whitehorse, certainly fits the bill with an average annual rainfall of just six inches making it the driest city in Canada. The perfect place to reconnect with nature, this remote wilderness boasts countless opportunities to be dazzled by the Northern Lights, hike mountains and discover glistening glaciers. A visit to Dawson City is also not to be missed, a town which looks like it's fresh out of a Tarantino Wild West movie. Here, you can sample the local 'sour toe cocktail' (which does in fact include a real toe), see some cancan dancing and walk in the footsteps of the goldminers from the Klondike Gold Rush. There is also the added bonus of limited phone signal, so you can fully switch off from the stresses of day to day life.
The Atacama Desert, Chile
Commonly known as the driest place in the world, the lunar-like Atacama Desert is protected from rainfall by the Andes Mountains which sit to its east. With temperatures averaging a balmy 18 degrees, the weather is just perfect for exploring the region's bucket-list worthy salt flats, bubbling hot springs and jaw-dropping dune valleys. If you thought a desert as vast as the Atacama was devoid of wildlife, you'd mostly be right… apart from the Los Flamencos Nature Reserve, which sees flamingos and rare birds flock to its pretty lagoons every year. While you're there, you'd be a lunatic to leave without visiting the Valley of the Moon (pictured), a fascinating area formed of out-of-this-world sand and stone formations. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even see R2-D2!
Virtually uninhabited (apart from a small number of scientists living in research bases) Antarctica is by far the driest, coldest and windiest continent on Earth. One of our favourite desert adventures, for a unique perspective of this iconic destination hop aboard a specially designed ship for an unforgettable cruise around the starkly beautiful landscapes. We can recommend some of the best luxurious and ground-breaking ships which will take you around the world's largest desert with just a handful of other people. While ships such as the Magellan Explorer and the Greg Mortimer will tempt you to stay inside to enjoy the many cosy creature comforts, venture outside to participate in activities such as snowshoeing, kayaking, hiking, scuba diving and paddleboarding. Bonus: if you're visiting outside of 'Dry January' you're unlikely to run out of ice for your cocktails…
Want to know more about our desert adventures? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.