Sarfaranga Cold Desert: Cold Beauty Unveiled

Introduction

Sarfaranga Cold Desert, also known as the Skardu Cold Desert is a breathtaking natural wonder with a unique landscape that mesmerizes tourists. The Sarfaranga, unlike common hot deserts, is a cold desert with a distinctive terrain of sand slopes and cliffs against a backdrop of high mountains, including the Karakoram Range. Sarfaranga is not only a delightful feast for the eyes but also a wonderful and refreshing experience for the mind.

sarfaranga desert

Sarfaranga Desert Rally 2023

The Sarfaranga Desert Rally is held annually. It attracts participants and spectators from all over the world. The fifth edition of the event was held in October 2023. The rally takes place in a breathtaking atmosphere. The desert with its sandy slopes, rough terrain, and surrounding mountains provides a challenging yet rewarding experience for those who participate and also for those who encounter it. Last year over 100 racers from across Pakistan participated in the event, including 18 local drivers with three female competitors. The Rally not only shows the beauty of the desert but also highlights the spirit of adventure.

sarfaranga desert rally

What is so unique about this desert?

The most stunning and wonderful thing that makes Sarfaranga Desert truly unique is that, unlike traditional deserts with hot temperatures, Sarfaranga is a cold desert, experiencing chilly temperatures throughout the year due to its high altitude. Another unique aspect is that flat plains or rolling hills surround most deserts. The Sarfaranga Cold Desert is an exception with dramatic, snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. This creates a visually stunning contrast between the golden sand and the towering peaks. Lastly, the presence of a major river Indus flowing alongside the desert is highly unusual. All these things set Sarfaranga apart from other deserts.

Activities to do in Sarfaranga Cold Desert

Visiting the Sarfaranga Cold Desert offers a range of exciting. Here are some activities you can enjoy in the desert:

  • Glamping: Enjoy the comforts of a hotel with the thrill of camping under the stars with a glamping experience. Glamping resorts offer luxurious facilities to set up the tents amidst the dunes.
  • Bonfire nights: Enjoy a traditional bonfire night under the stars. It’s a great way to enjoy and socialize after a day of exploring the desert. You can roast marshmallows, share stories, and listen to local music under the magical night sky.
  • Paragliding: Take to the skies with a paragliding experience. Soar above the dunes and witness the breathtaking views of the desert and the surrounding mountains from a bird’s-eye view.
  • Stargazing: Sarfaranga Cold Desert is a stargazer’s paradise. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way stretching across the sky and countless stars twinkling like diamonds.
  • Camel riding: Take a camel ride through the desert and experience the traditional way of transportation. It is a unique way to explore the vast desert.
  • Horseback riding: Explore the desert on horseback, a more adventurous alternative to camel riding.  It allows you to cover more ground and get a feel for the freedom of the open desert.
  • Photography: Capture the breathtaking beauty of the desert with your camera or smartphone. From stunning sunsets and sunrises to the unique rock formations and snow-capped peaks.
  • Cultural experience: Learn about the local Balti culture by interacting with the residents of nearby villages. Visit traditional homes, sample local cuisine, and participate in cultural activities.

Sarfaranga Desert Weather

sarfaranga weather

The Sarfaranga Cold Desert experiences dramatic weather changes throughout the year. Summers are mild with temperatures around 15-25°C making it an ideal time to visit. Winters are quite cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing at night. Spring and autumn offer milder weather. The desert is sunny year-round but gets windy in winter.

Sarfaranga Desert Road

Sarfaranga road condition

Sarfaranga Cold Desert can be easily accessed from Skardu by a road stretches for about 8 kilometers. The Sarfaranga Desert Road is known for its scenic drive. It allows adventurers to explore the desert’s unique terrain from the comfort of their vehicle.

Sarfaranga Desert Location

Sarfaranga is a high-altitude desert located in the Shigar Valley of Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan. It lies at an elevation of approximately 7,500 feet. It’s one of the coldest deserts in the world.

Sarfaranga Desert Map

Sarfaranga Cold Desert Distance from Lahore

The distance is approximately 1,004 kilometers (624 miles). There are two routes to cover this distance. The journey takes about 16 to 18 hours by car. You can also take a flight from Lahore to Skardu Airport.

Conclusion

Sarfaranga Cold Desert offers a unique blend of adventure, cultural exploration, and breathtaking scenery. From the thrill of the annual jeep rally to the serenity of stargazing under a blanket of stars, this high-altitude desert caters to a variety of interests. It’s a cherished destination for adventurers and nature lovers alike. It is a place of wonder and discovery of timeless charm.

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