Ask anyone to name a desert and “Sahara” will almost always be the answer. Known to be one of the world’s most expansive deserts, Sahara covers the vast majority of Northern Africa. Its borders include the Red Sea (east), the Atlantic Ocean (west), the Valley or the Niger River and Sudan (south), and the Mediterranean and the Atlas Mountains (north). It’s the hottest desert in the world. In fact, it’s projected that it’ll become green once more in roughly 15,000 years from now.
Did you know that:
- The Sahara Desert is NOT the world’s largest desert. Contrary to what many believe, Sahara is not the biggest – it’s not even the second largest – desert in the world. Antarctica and Artic still occupy the top two spots respectively. But by all standards, Sahara is still one of the biggest bodies of land in the world. And it grows every day! As of today, it covers roughly 3.8 million square miles. In fact, the entire continental US can fit in the Sahara Desert, and it will still have a couple more thousands of square miles to spare.
- Even if it’s the hottest desert today, it’s not a hot oven 365 days a year. Between December and February, the temperature in the desert plunges since there isn’t enough supply of humidity. At some parts of the desert during this period, snow is likely to occur.
- The desert used to be an extremely fertile land. Several centuries ago, the Sahara was one of the most fertile farmlands on earth, and with a reasonable population. It was recorded that millet and grains grew abundantly in many parts of the desert in 6000 BC. The desert’s fertile land is prominently displayed in the many prehistoric paintings of the Sahara discovered many years ago. Even now, small portions of the desert are still fertile, mainly due to irrigation. These are the areas in the desert’s border near Egypt.
- The toughest marathon in the world happens in the Sahara Desert. Marathon Des Sables is an annual event in Morocco every year. The race is divided into various stages, and most of them occur in the desert.
- The Sahara Desert is made up of different compositions. In fact, sand only occupies 30% of what’s in the desert. The remaining 70% is gravel. Also, the desert is home to different bodies of land and water. You can find sand dunes, gravel plains, dry valleys and sand seas in the Sahara. Rivers, oases, streams and mountains are also present.
You don’t need to travel thousands of miles to enjoy the great Sahara Desert. Here’s a collection of photos that can transport you to this incredible body of land.