10 Facts About the Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert inspire dreams of camel riding and marvellously carved out dunes. The desert is one of the most famous in the world and witnessing it in real time is an opportunity you can’t miss. Find out here some interesting facts about the Sahara Desert.

1. The Sahara Desert fills almost the entirety of Western Africa and covers 11 countries. It blankets large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.

2. The Sahara Desert’s singing sand dunes are a phenomenon that even have researchers stumped. The orchestral sounds the desert emit can range from sonic booms, drumming and even whistling. The phenomenon has long been documented by the likes of Charles Darwin and Marco Polo. Some researchers believe it to be attributed to the size of sand grains or the shape of the dunes.

3.  It’s a common misconception that the Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world. It actually comes in third behind the Antarctic and Artic deserts. This is because deserts are defined as any barren landscape with a hostile environment for plants and animals. As a result, the Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world but not the largest overall.

4. It turns out the Sahara Desert’s mass landscape is a treasure trove for Dinosaur fossils. Just recently in the Moroccan Sahara, palaeontologists excavated one of the largest intact dinosaur fossils found in the region. 

5. It is easy to envision the Sahara Desert as a huge sand box. But sand dunes and sheets only make up 25% of the Sahara deserts’ surface. The rest is made up of limestone, sandstone and other rock formations due to its location on the African shield.

6. On average the Sahara Desert’s temperature reaches 38 Degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) during the day. When the sun drops, the desert can be as cold as -4 Degrees Celsius (25 Degrees Fahrenheit).

7. Is there life in the Sahara? Deserts are defined by their hostile environment for animals and plants; but there are some signs of sparse vegetation throughout the Sahara Desert. The small pockets of oasis attract wildlife and allow some degree of life to thrive. Around 70 mammalian species, 90 species of bird, 100 species of reptiles amongst others have made the desert their home.

8. The name ‘Sahara’ actually comes from the Arabic word for desert. In Arabic, the desert is named Al-Sahra Al Kubra which means ‘The Great Desert’.  The sahra (meaning desert) gets switched into its feminine irregular form to make it ‘Sahara’. 

9. Stargazing is one of the best things you can do in the Sahara desert. The miles of barren land mean that little to no light pollution can obscure the sky. As a result, the entire universe becomes visible above your head.

10.  Activities in the Sahara Desert can range from anything between camel riding, quad biking and sand surfing. Even spa resorts have become a popular attraction in parts of the desert.  

What’s the best way to discover the Sahara Desert?

It’s difficult to know where to start when the Sahara Desert covers 11 countries in North Africa. Experience not only just the landscapes of the Sahara Desert with us but the cultural side of this vast desert on our Morocco and Egypt tours.

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