Lut odyssey: Italian desert explorer to run with Iranian cheetahs

April 26, 2015

TEHRAN - The extreme desert explorer Max Calderan came to Iran last week to plan for his next record in Iran’s Lut Desert.

Sitting in Diamond Hotel lobby in Tehran, he answers the questions with a smile on his face and a look which don’t let you hesitate even for a second.

Calderan, 48, has crossed the sands of the most insidious and impassable in the world, surviving in conditions that are beyond human limits.

Two young Iranian tour guides and adventurers Homa Davari and Ali Hadidifar have organized the plan for Calderan’s next record in Iran.

“We have conducted some negotiations for making a documentary during Max’s adventure in the Lut Desert. However, the final name has not determined yet,” Davari said.

She added that the documentary will be aired from different international channels including Italian channels on satellite as well as the National Geography.

---------- Exploring the hottest place in the world: Now I am ready! ----

“When I was child, I read about some deserts in the world that were impossible to cross. There were in countries like Yemen, Oman and the United Arabs Emirates. My readings also include facts about Sinai, The Sahara and the Lut Desert,” he said.

Many of Calderan’s childhood dreams have finally come true. He has run 90 hours non-stop covering 437 km in Oman and 360 km in 75 hours across the United Arab Emirates in summer with temperature 60 °C degree!

“Years after I realized that according to NASA satellite, the Lut Desert ranked as hottest place in the word with more than 70 °C degrees and I decided to cross it.

“All people said to me that I am crazy but no! It is not true. I know I can do it! I prepare myself with other records in last summer,” he said with a shine of confidence in his eyes.

In 2013, Calderan made a spiritual journey by crossing the desert of the Sinai Peninsula. He started on the first day of Ramadan and followed in the footsteps of the Prophet Moses (S).

He said it is believed that that is impossible to cross the desert on foot because of the confusing high sand hues.

“Nobody went from north to south in the Lut Desert so I train myself for several years and now I am ready!” he said.

---------- A man who concerns Iran and her cheetah!--------

He explained about his reasons to see the Lut Desert.

“My reasons are very fascinating and amazing! On first, we can do it for Iran. We can bring people to Iran so they can see this beautiful land and its desert.

“And also it creates an opportunity for the Iranian cheetahs and other desert animals to be saved with drawing attentions to their endangered situation.

“I do take care, I try my best to give a message to people around the world to come and discover a different point of view from what they watch on the Western television. Come and see it! I did. I am an Italian. I explore the deserts you can come and see beautiful desert,” he explained.

He called his desert exploring an instrument to inform people and to save the lovely earth.

“When I heard that there are only 70 to 80 Iranian cheetahs, I cried. We should preserve and protect them. We can collect money through media and advertising and also to link with environmental activists in order to save their lives,” he added.

The Asiatic cheetah, also known as the Iranian cheetah, is a critically endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran.

“The record (journey to the Lut Desert) will be done in November and October. It is a big challenge and nobody do it before but actually that is not all,” he explained.


“There will be some sport activities, which will be coordinated with some tour operators to bring Italians here.”

He is very determined and eager about his next exploration in the Lut Desert.

“You should only have a strong belief, and that is all. When you compete with yourself in front of nature what you have to do? Simply you go,” he laughed.

PHOTO: The Italian desert explorer Max Calderan gives an interview to Tehran Times at Tehran's Diamond Hotel on April 18 (Photo by: Sina Shiri