We’re all quick to moan when we wake up on a grey, wet morning, but even when the big ball of gas and plasma does make a sustained appearance, we change our grumbles to how it’s just too damn hot.
However, what we consider “hot” is nothing in comparison to these places. If you REALLY want to experience heat so sweltering it feels like you’re actually being barbequed, then these locations around the world are a must-visit – although you might want to make it a short stay.
The small town located in the Afar Depression of Ethiopia holds the record of the highest average temperature ever measured. From 1960 to 1966 Dallol averaged 34.6 degrees Celsius, and when you combine this with humidity that doesn’t budge below 60 per cent, you know you’re in for a scorcher.
Although the former mining city has become a ghost town, it’s still worth a visit because of the fascinating hypothermal deposits, which are shaped by the precipitation of solids from hot mineral-laden water.
Timbuktu was once a major trade route across the Sahara and considered one of the main centres for the spread of Islam throughout Africa. Even today, inhabitants remain there despite the heat reaching as high as 54 degrees Celsius and desertification being a real issue.
Anyone interested in ancient culture should endure the Mali sun as Timbuktu has one of the largest collections of ancient manuscripts. The World Heritage Site is also home to the three grand mosques Djingareyber, Sidi Yahia and Sankore.
In the middle of Tunisia is a desert oasis Kebili, and it is here where people go to escape the North African heat. Don’t let that fool you though: the few palm trees providing shade are not much protection from the brutal temperatures that can reach as high as 55 degrees Celsius.
The village offers a picturesque setting in spite of the hotness and it has been home to people for nearly as long as modern humans have walked the earth. In fact, evidence suggests that the settlement was founded around 200,000 years ago.
RUB’ AL KHALI, ARABIAN PENINSULA
Rub’ Al Khali has the largest continuous sand desert in the world spreading across around 650,000 square kilometres and roughly one third of the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a hot and dry place where typical annual rainfall is less than 1.2 inches and day temperatures reach a baking 55 degrees Celsius.
However, there is a reason to come here, at least for those who want to make a name for themselves. The desert had not been traversed unaided until February 2013 when a team of South African adventurers managed the feat – there’s nothing wrong with coming in second.
DEATH VALLEY, USA
The name of Death Valley is a bit of a giveaway on this one. The lowest, driest and hottest region of North America is situated in the Mojave Desert of California. Here a temperature of 56.6 degrees Celsius was the highest ever directly recorded anywhere in the world.
Even though you wouldn’t think it, the parched landscape is home to plenty of wildlife including kit foxes, bobcats and bighorn sheep, as well as wildflowers that spectacularly bloom when the rain falls. Add to this the impressive rock formations which provided the backdrop to countless Western and adventure films.
FLAMING MOUNTAINS, CHINA
Located in the Tian Shan mountain range in Xinjiang, China on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert is the red sandstone bedrock of the Flaming Mountains. There are no weather stations here but a NASA satellite recorded an absurd temperature of 66.6 degrees on the surface of the rocks.
The Flaming Mountains didn’t get their name because of the searing heat – the red sandstone gullies created by erosion are said to resemble fire. If you want to enjoy the wonders of the ‘Red Mountain’ as it is also known, a cart pulled by camels is a traditional way to travel.