Kavir National Park
Kavir National Park is a protected ecological zone in northern Iran. It has an area of 4,000 square kilometers . The park is located 120 kilometers south of Tehran and 100 kilometers east of Qom, and it sits on the western end of one of Iran's two major deserts, the Dasht-e Kavir (Great Salt Desert). Siahkuh (Black Mountain), a large, semi-circular rock outcropping sits in roughly the park's center.
The park encompasses landscapes of desert and steppes, and is sometimes known as "Little Africa," for its safari-like wildlife, including native goats, sheep, hyenas, wolves, gazelles, leopards, the rare Asiatic Cheetah, and the Persian Panther. Typically, the area receives around 150 millimeters (6 inches) of rain a year, most of which falls between November and May. The vegetation in the region is adapted to drought and salty soils. To retain water and combat grazing by animals some plants grow leaves with thorns, much like thorn trees and bushes found in Africa desert landscapes.
Daracheh-ye Namak (Salt Lake) sits immediately outside the park boundaries. This is actually a salt marsh, and water flows into the lake from the north via the Qom River, which also flows through the northern part of Kavir National Park. The Qom is one of the very few permanent rivers through the entire desert expanse in Iran.