Whether you would like to take yourself on an adventure or simply cast an Instagram-worthy Maharloo Pink Lake photosession, Maharloo Salt Lake ought to be on your Iran travel bucket list.
Maharloo Salt Lake or Darycheh-ye Namak, situated in southwest Iran, is spreading over an expanse of 25000 hectares of land just 20 kilometers away from Southwest of Shiraz city. Located in the Fars Province of Iran, the ground is a geometric spectacle with polygonal and hexagonal formations of salt that make for a beautiful sight. The fascinating salt flats also have nearby natural occurring springs including mineral springs, beautiful mountains, trees, and birds like flamingos and ducks.
Also called Pink Lake as it gets pinkish when the evaporation of the lake water is big in hot months of the year and attracts many travelers to this beautiful lake to marvel and take amazing photos. Between the white crusty salt floor and the natural rose-tinted waves, this dreamy, uncanny body of salt water is right from a fairytale. The name "Maharloo" is taken from a village West of the lake and Maharloo meaning High Land (Marlu in origin) as the village is located on a high ground relative to the lake and other villages around.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Visiting Maharloo Salt Lake in Iran
1. How It All Began
Maharloo Salt lake is not ancient, geologically speaking and probably does not exceed twenty thousand years that is the last glacial period. The maximum salt depth reaches 40 cm and excavations have not revealed other layers of salt. Also due to the lack of old beaches or high Terraces, the possibility of the existence of the lake in the pre-Pleistocene time is low, and if there was a lake, it would have been in the places that today are located on the edge of the current lake. Maharloo Lake was formed in a synclinal subsidence with a northwest-southeast trend, where the young and seismic fault of Sarvestan, passes through it. It seems that the movements of this fault, especially since the Late Pleistocene, have caused the formation of this subduction zone.
2. The Right Time to Visit
If you want to visit the Maharloo salt lake for its Insta-friendly mirror effect or like go boating in deeper part of the lake you must visit in the wet season, from December to April. If you are a birdwatcher you don't want to miss from March to May when the migrating birds including Flamingos are by the lake. The period between June to August welcomes many locals from Shiraz and tourists who love the Salt Lake when it is very pink . May to November is considered the dry season, so the ground hardens, and you can move across more of the land, making more of the salt lake accessible. You can visit the Maharloo Salt Lake in Iran during both seasons, wet or dry, depending on what you are looking for.
3. How to Get There
The most popular route starts from Shiraz that is the closest big city to the lake and Shiraz international airport is just 20 Kilometers driving from Maharloo Lake. You can reach Shiraz and book tours and day trips in the city. Shiraz is easily accessible via flight, train, or bus. The direct international flights from countries such as Qatar, Oman, the UAE and Turkey and the domestic flights from Iranian cities such as Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, Kish, Mashhad will take to to Shiraz airport. The flight from Tehran can take about an hour and costs around USD 40 and you will drive for 30 minutes to reach the lake if you have arrange your tour or car from the airport. Taking a bus from Tehran can be time-consuming as it takes around 12 hours to reach Shiraz and then 1 hour to reach the lake, but it’s cheaper at about USD 10-15. There are trains from Tehran and Isfahan to Shiraz with affordable prices, so check their timings and book accordingly.
If you are traveling overland from Kerman, Bandar-Abbas or Persian Gulf ports and Islands you can arrange your trip in a way that you may visit of the lake.
4. The Weather at the Maharloo Salt Lake Of Iran
Maharloo lake is at an elevation of 4,900 feet above sea level and the winter temperatures at the salt lake have been known to drop as low as 1 degrees Celsius and in summer time it may rise to 40 °C. March and April are the best months to visit Maharloo weather-wise but as we explain before depending on what you want to see and your intended activity you may choose when to go to the lake regardless of the weather.
5. Where To Stay
If you want to stay just by the lake, at the moment the only option is Maharloo Ecolodge inside Maharloo village that is west of the Salt Lake in Iran. It has a big village house converted to an Ecolodge by Pazira Travel Company that also offers tours to Maharloo Lake and contains 6 air-conditioned big rooms with toilets and showers outside the rooms and one room with private toilet. There is also a parking place in front of the Ecolodge that you can park your car. The Maharloo Ecolodge is a couple of walks from the Maharloo natural SPA inside the village, the gardens and also from Maharloo mountain; So you may include a lot of nice activities inside the village if you stay there. If you are seeking more luxury, then Stay in a hotel in Shiraz like Forough hotel that is central to the city and have a one day visit to the lake so you may have your lunch at Maharloo Ecolodge. Zandiyeh or Shiraz hotels are even more convenient options.
Maharloo Ecolodge Contact and Booking options
You may book your room by calling on phone or texting, though Instagram Direct messages or through the contact form on its website. You can also book it through Uppersia travel hotel booking service.
Tel: 09305458560 Website: www.maharlooecolodge.com Instagram: @maharlooecolodge
Address: Maharlu village (20 km of Maharlu road from Shiraz to Sarvestan) - At the end of the main street of the village - next to the square - @29.3479908,52.8148713
Price: Roughly 20 USD per person including breakfast
6. Things To Do At The Iranian Salt Lake of Maharloo
What to do at the Maharloo salt lake of Iran depends entirely on your interests. Around the salt lake, there are other attractions like Maharloo mountain decorated with natural springs and covered in snow in cold season, Maharloo village boasting its mineral Spa, the Qajar Caravanserai and its beautiful pomegranate and almond gardens and if you may have a big interest in UNESCO world heritage sites, you may drive another 60 Kilometers to visit Sassanid Palace of Sarvestan. Many long tours include visits to nearby village, mountain, deserts, lakes, and mineral springs. Wildlife like flamingos can be spotted around the lake and it is a great location for bird watching. Paddle boating is very popular in rainy season especially from March to May. The Iranian salt lakes are very hot in the day and cool at night in hot seasons so plan and dress accordingly. An umbrella or good hat can help for the day time.
7. Budgets And Schedules
In Shiraz you can take a shared tour, which is cheaper, or a private tour. Group tours that can accommodate from 2 to 12 travelers stick to their itineraries and there is less flexibility if you want to spend more time for your activities. Private tours might be more expensive but is more flexible and accommodate your requests to the itinerary. If you pick shared tours, check the itineraries, since most of them offer the same but at different prices. Two-day tours cost around USD 75-85 including food, accommodation in Maharloo Ecolodge, and transport. Private tours can cost around USD 120.
Weigh the pros and cons of the tours and check the schedules in detail before selecting. You can always pick the one-day tour as it is convenient, but we recommend you choose the two-day tours and explore the surroundings as well. The Maharloo Salt Lake by Shiraz is more than just sunsets, deserts, and hills.
You May book a Maharloo Salt Lake day tour or multi-day tour with Uppersia Travel.
8. What To Bring To Pink Lake
Here is a quick packing list of items you won’t want to forget.
- Packed lunches. Otherwise there are few restaurants nearby, and you can also book a meal beforehand at Maharloo Ecolodge.
- Lots of drinking water in insulated bottles
- Full tank of gas. There are gas stations close to the lake so just in case you want to save your time.
- Waterproof bandages. Just in case your feet get cut by the salt and to barricade current cuts from the salt.
- Sunscreen. The salt lake sun may be harsh, and there is absolutely no shade.
- Swimsuit and towel — If you plan on taking a float in the salty water.
- Shoes. waterproof shoes if you plan on swimming.
- Travel pack of baby wipes. To wipe the salt off your arms, legs, feet, etc before getting back into the car.
- Lightweight jacket. Maharloo Salt Lake can get very windy and, therefore, chilly, especially in fall, winter and spring.
- Drone. Don’t forget your drone permit!
9. Maharloo Salt Lake FAQ
+Is The Maharloo Salt Lake Actually Pink?
Yes! A big part of Maharloo Lake is very pink especially from May to November but in other months when there is rainfall, the bigger part of the Salt Lake is a normal teal blue color. So it is not Photoshoped by Photoshop or Lightroom.
+What Makes The Great Salt Lake Pink?
The Maharloo Salt Lake gets its pink color from the mercury resistant halophilic bacteria and algae that live in the water, both of which are pink. Not many organisms can survive in an environment with such high salt levels, but the Salt Lake pink bacteria and algae can.
+What is the best time for birdwatching especially to watch migrating Flamingos?
March and April are the best months for birdwatching by the salt lake.
+What is the best time to watch the Almond blossoms in gardens by the salt lake.?
Usually the almond trees blossom in March.
+May I camp by Maharloo Salt Lake?
Yes it is possible.
+Can I take a taxi or bus from Shiraz to the Salt lake or go hitchhiking?
Yes you can take a taxi from anywhere in Shiraz or take a bus or minibus from Kaveh bus terminal.