Pure beauty. Immaculate white on dozens of kilometers. Sun in white light that radiates even the blind. In the heart of the Andes mountain range lies the sumptuous Salar de Uyuni. Leaving Africa, the organizers of Dakar didn’t make a mistake. They chose a wonder of nature perched at 3,600 meters of altitude. A salt desert of 150 kilometers by 100. You can also trace the footsteps of Paris-Dakar in leaving for expedition in this pure area. Swallow the kilometers on board a four-wheel drive without ever seeing the horizon. Here, the blue sky drowns in the milky whiteness of this area. In winter, saturated with water, the Salar resembles a vast mirror.
This desert was formed 10,000 years ago when the Lake Minchin gradually dried up. It’s now composed of a myriad of small salt crystals. Crossing the Salar is done in a four-wheel drive leaving from the town of Uyuni in Bolivia, or San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Depending on which side you approach and trail you follow, the crossing will be longer or shorter. Expect two to four days with stops on fisherman’s Island, the famous Isla de Los Pescadores, covered with thousand-year-old cacti.
You’ll mark your stops near the majestic white cones and understand how the Bolivian harvest salt in the most important reserve in the world. You’ll return unbeatable in your knowledge of lithium: The desert of Uyuni contains a third of lithium reserves in the world. A treasure of war at a time when electric cars emerge…lithium or salt, therefore these are great opportunities for economic development in poor countries. The nature of this expedition can be combined with a more upscale travel in Bolivia, Peru or Chile.
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