The Sahara Desert is huge, iconic and breathtaking. It’s located in North Africa and covers large portions of the continent, but how much do you really know about this sandy region Here are 21 interesting facts about the Sahara Desert…
The Sahara is the world’s largest sand desert…
…although the North and South poles are actually bigger and are also classed as deserts.
It measures 3.6 million square miles…
…which makes it bigger than the USA!
The desert actually expands and then contracts as the seasons change throughout the year.
Scientists estimate it has grown 10% in the last 100 years.
The Sahara gets its name from “sahra”, an Arabic word which means desert.
The Sahara Desert reaches 11 countries, and includes Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia.
And covers one third of the continent.
Only 25% of the desert is covered with sandy dunes.
There are a number of mountain ranges if you know where to look.
Incredibly, snow has been seen on their peaks from time to time!
The highest point is Mount Koussi in Chad. It’s an extinct volcano.
The tallest dunes rise 180 metres above ground level.
There are an estimated 2.5 million people that call Sahara their home. Most of these people have Arabic or Berber roots and live in settlements located near sources of water. Some also have a nomadic lifestyle.
A vital part of Ancient Africa’s economy was the trade routes of the Sahara. Gold, copper and salt were some of the goods that were transported using camel caravans. It’s recorded that there were up to 12,000 camel caravans travelling between Egypt and Sudan at one time.
Being the hottest desert in the world, the Sahara has one of the harshest climates. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the area was 58°C. Despite popular beliefs surround the Sahara Desert and its constant hot climate, the temperatures drop significantly during the night due to low humidity.
The desert is more than just sand, as it consists of rocky plateaus, sand dunes, dry valleys and salt flats. There are a total of 20 lakes in the desert, and the only freshwater lake in Sahara is Lake Chad.
Saharan dunes can reach a staggering 180 meters in height.
The Sahara Desert has changed significantly over the years. Although hard to believe, the desert was full of greenery and was home to a variety of animals and plants. However, the Sahara we know now occurred due to the slow change in the tilt of the Earth. It is believed that the Sahara will go back to its previous state sometime in the future.
Stargazing, quad biking, trekking and sand surfing are some of the many activities that you can do in Sahara.
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about the Sahara Desert that we’ve missed? Share them with us in the comments section below!