ARID LANDS You see, I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no nameIt felt good to be out of the rainIn the desert you can remember your name‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain Horse with no name. America. Ancient irrigation systems are common in the Arab and Persian worlds, where they are known as Alfaj, Qanat, or Kariz. They feed the date palms in old towns like Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman.Travelling north from the Wahiba Sands, you enter the Empty Quarter, of shiftings sand dunes and Bedouin camps.Wahiba Sands, on the Arabian Sea coast of Oman, is the edge of one of the harshest deserts in the world.A beach on the southern coast of Oman, where the harsh Arabian desert and rugged mountains meet the Arabian Sea.Just outside Cairo, the Pyramids of Giza, built on what is now desert.Far away from the Nile, Egypt is largely desert. A series of oasis towns run west of Cairo.My first glimpse of the Sahara Desert in Morocco. I next saw it about 5 years later on the east of the continent, in Egypt.Rocky desert, spotted with tough, shrub vegetaion supports a variety of wildlife, from elephants to big cats, in Pamwag, north-west Namibia.Between the forebidding Skeleton Coast, and the unforgiving deserts of Damaraland, a range of hills demarcates ecosystems in Namibia.Yellow-brown vegatation struggles through the southern African drought, on the roads near Solitaire, Namibia.Inland from the famed dunes of the Namib desert, a 1930s era car watches the dry, hot landscape.Kolmanskop, Namibia, where diamonds brought settlers and made fortunes.The diamond mining company moved away from Kolmanskop in 1956. Houses, hospitals and even a bowling alley remain stranded in the dunes.Kolmanskop again.Appropriately named, Dead Vlei in Namibia's Namib Rand NP, is cracked and dry.The dead tress of Dead Vlei highlight this most unforgiving part of an unforgiving landscape.A couple of days amongs the dunes of Namib Rand are for many the highlight of a trip to Namibia.No two dunes are the same.Sparse pockets of vegetation support some small wildlife as well.Hiking these monsters of sand is challenging but the views are without comparison.The big skies are one of my lingering memories of Africa. This is Grootfontein, north-central Namibia.The morning sky and scenery in Omaruru, a small town in Namibia's dry heart.A long driver from town along good dirt roads take you to Namibia's stunning Epupa Falls, but the arid scenery on the way is also pretty good.When explorers came to this part of Namibia, the ground was shimmerring. Diamonds sat on the surface, waiting to be picked up.Entry to the Sperrgebeit (lit "Forbidden Zone") was and still is strictly controlled. This is the southern most point the tour will take you.Buildings and equipment lie deserted in the dunes and small hills.In some areas, the surface soils and sands were completely removed, right down to the rock base, in search for the prized stones.Namibia's Skeleton Coast runs along the Atlantic from Angola to Swakopmund, with next to no human settlement, multi-coloured sand dunes, patchy vegetation, sandy roads, shipwrecks and great fishing.Purple swirls through the distant sand dunes.Sand dunes knock on Swakopmund's door step. Rare Damara Terns breed in the dunes a short stroll from town.We took a tour from Swakopmund, Namibia, to see the fascinating plant life which clings to life in the Namib desert, where annual rainfall is around 2cm.In the centre of South Australia, Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, is big, diverse and dry most of the time. A number of mountain ranges burst from the brown flat landscape.350km north of Flinders Ranges NP, Arkaroola rarely sees much rain, the hills largely brown.South Australia's Wilkawillina Gorge Hike begins with a bizarre moonscape, before winding over rocky hills to dry river beds through the gorge.Mutawinji National Park is 1200km north west of Sydney, New South Wales.True outback, with red dirt and vast plains.The nearest town of any size is Broken Hill, 2 hours and 200kms away.