On application, potential teammates will receive a detailed Expedition Handbook. Here are some expedition-specific questions and our general FAQ will answer many other questions. Get in touch if your question remains unanswered.
Can I arrive a day late?
As The Plan outlines, there is a chain of transport to get teammates out to and back from Tehran and so start and end dates are not flexible.
Can I charge all my electricals?
This will be very challenging with limited access to power once the trekking section begins. Please ensure that you are self-sufficient in terms of charging your appliances by bringing things like spare batteries, lightweight solar panels or power packs to avoid frustration.
Do I need a visa?
Most nationalities require a visa to visit Iran, this can be a lengthy process. A visa application advice document will be provided to teammates, with visas remaining teammates’ responsibility.
Will there be toilets or showers?
There will be no toilets or showers available during the trek. You should be prepared to duck behind the nearest sand dune ‘al-fresco’ and limit yourself to wet-wipe washes. Toilet paper is generally burned. The water for this expedition is being carried by the support vehicles so there will not be enough to provide showers of any nature. Wet wipes are the way forward: you’ll all be in the same position so don’t worry about it.
Vegetarians and coeliacs may find they have very limited options in Iran. Feel free to supplement the meals provided with your favourite trail snacks. Give as much details as possible when applying to help us best provision the team.
How fit do I need to be?
See our Fitness section in Get Ready and the Fitness tab here for expedition-specific fitness advice.
Will be carry all kit in the desert?
The team will be supported by 4WD vehicles in the desert. Each team member will have to carry at least three litres of water, per person per day, lunch supplies, personal kit (suncream, camera etc) and a share of the group emergency and communications kit.
Can we leave a flight bag anywhere?
You’ll be able to leave a small bag in Tehran with any items you won’t need during the trek. This will be at your own risk.
Can we charge things in the desert?
The support vehicles will be equipped with 12v chargers although Secret Compass’s communications systems and in-country support staff requirements will always take priority. Solar panels are a good option for recharging personal equipment in the desert. Come with sensible expectations around being able to charge items.
Will my camera work in the heat?
Cameras should not be that affected by the heat and dryness, but if it reaches over 45 degrees they might struggle. Your best bet is to keep your camera in its bag until you use it and don’t keep in the direct sunlight for too long. The main problem is the sand itself. Grains can easily get into the lens systems, particularly compact cameras with zoom lenses. Ones with electronic lens covers are most at risk. The best cameras to use are sealed waterproof cameras which have no external working lenses so no sand can egress them. If using an SLR, then take care to prevent sand getting into a lens housing. Using Prime fixed focal length lenses can help. Take a small paintbrush, a puffer bottle or, even better, a compressed air canister (probably bought in-country if flying in) to blow away sand and grit from moving parts. Take care around the sensor and never wipe this if sand is on the sensor. Take particular care if the wind is blowing or the sand is very fine.
Will our mobiles work?
There should be signal in Tehran and Kerman. It is very unlikely that you will have signal in the Lut desert. Secret Compass will have satellite phones and radios for emergency communications only.
What voltage does Iran use?
Iran uses a 230V power supply with C/F wall sockets.
Do I need to cover?
Women: yes you will. In all public places you must wear headscarves, full-length skirts or trousers and a long-sleeve coat or tunic which covers to mid thigh. Check also visa image requirements, images with hair covered are the norm so you might need to get more done. It will probably be possible to relax the headscarf element in the desert.
What desert boots do you recommend?
See further kit information in your Expedition Handbook but essentially, we recommend desert boots, in a brand that fits the shape of your foot. Our expedition leaders recommend Alt-Berg desert boots in particular though shoe choice is personal choice.
Can those on an American passport visit Iran?
Yes. In addition to filling out the visa reference form and visa application form, those travelling on an American passport will need to provide a copy of their CV and links to their social media profiles. As ever, the final decision in issuing a visa rests with the MFA in Tehran.
Can Israelis visit Iran?
Israeli citizens will not be issued an Iranian visa. It is often reported that people with Israeli stamps in their passport will be denied visas to enter Iran.
Are there animals in the desert?
Many parts of the Lut are abiotic and therefore are not capable of supporting life, though some insects, birds and creatures are occasionally spotted passing through with the 2017 expedition team even seeing wild camels.
Will we get to drive the 4WD vehicles?
No, your guides will be in charge of driving at all times.
Is alcohol allowed?
No. The sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal throughout Iran and this prohibition applies to tourists as well.
How can I find out more?
Apply for this expedition team using the button below to receive your Expedition Handbook with fuller details. View our FAQ for useful tips. Secret Compass is then on hand to answer any questions or to firm up your place on the team.