Danakil desert, Ethiopia:
The Danakil Desert is a desert in northeast Ethiopia, southern Eritrea, and northwestern Djibouti. Situated in the Afar Triangle, it stretches across 100,000 square kilometres (10,000,000 ha) of arid terrain. The area is known for its volcanoes and extreme heat, with daytime temperatures surpassing 50 °C (122 °F). The Danakil Desert is one of the lowest and hottest places on Earth.
Salar de Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia:
At 10,582sq km in size and about 100km across, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia – the world’s largest salt flat – is roughly the size of Jamaica. The salt crust ranges from three to 10m thick, amounting to about 10 billion tons of salt.
In fact, there’s so much salt there are even hotels built of it. But what lies beneath is worth the big money – that magic mineral on which mobile phones and laptops depend; lithium. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest lithium reserve.
Bonneville salt flats, Utah:
If you want to drive really fast, and we mean really fast, say 900kph for example, then this is the place to do it. Located in north-western Utah, the 121sq km flats are famous for the Bonneville Speedway where various daredevils since 1912 have strapped themselves into speed machines – some jet-propelled – and blasted themselves across the vast flats and into the halls of speed fame. In 1965, professional racecar driver Craig Breedlove topped 966kph in his jet-propelled machine.
The Maldives Islands:
The flattest country on Earth. The island chain in the Indian Ocean is so flat – between one and 1.5m above sea level – that only the occasional 2m high sand dune punctuates the otherwise table top surface.
Lake Baikal, Siberia:
Lake Baikal in the south of Siberia is not only the oldest and deepest lake in the world, but during colder months it freezes and forms one of the flattest surfaces on Earth. It is larger than all Great Lakes combined with 23,615.39 cubic kilometres (5,700 cubic miles). During the Russian Civil War in 1920, the White Russian Army fled the pursuing Red Army by crossing the frozen lake southward to China.
Wadi Rum, Jordan:
Wadi Rum is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km (37 mi) to the east of Aqaba; The 720sq km of desert valley is walled by sheer sided sandstone and granite mountains. Locals call it the Valley of the Moon.
Makgadikgadi salt pans, Botswana:
The 16,000sq km Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in north-eastern Botswana flood seasonally and are not a single pan, but consist of many saltpans divided by sandy desert. Idiot drivers are discouraged, as it’s easy to become bogged or lost and with little hope of rescue.
The Everglades of Florida:
Native Americans called it the “grassy waters”, others the “River of Grass”, which describes the Everglades located in southern Florida, one of the flattest parts of America. Over 60 miles wide and 100 miles long the waters flow south over a limestone shelf to the Florida bay.
Schleswig-Holstein mudflats, Germany:
The mudflats in northern Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park are the largest continuous mudflats on the earth.
With an area of 4410 km ² it is by far the largest national park in Germany.
The national park extends from the German-Danish maritime border in the north down to the Elbe estuary in the south. In the north there are mudflats are 40 km wide in places.
The outback in Australia is famous for its vast, almost unending flat plains. Getting across them requires driving along strips of tarmac in a seemingly endless stretch of sameness that can make some drivers go bananas and question whether they are really getting any closer to their destination.