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12 Known Facts about the Sahara Desert – The World’s Largest and Hottest Desert

Sahara Desert, North Africa, is the hottest, largest desert worldwide which covers about 9,200,000 square kilometers and exhibits an average temperature of 100.4 °F (38 °C) and 114.8 °F (46 °C) during the summer.

It lays across most of the northern part of Africa, bordering the Red Sea on the east, the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Sahel Savannah on the south, and the Mediterranean Sea on the north. 

Here are some known facts and other necessary information that will interest you about the desert, continue reading to fuel your wanderlust.

Twelve (12) sticking facts about the Sahara desert.

1. Dinosaur fossils and surprising things are found in the Sahara Desert

The Sahara desert comprises many archaeological surprises, including a complete tail of the first-known aquatic dinosaur and a 50-foot-long Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.

Million years ago, the Sahara desert had a record of a frightening line-up of ferocious and carnivorous animals.

Aquatic dinosaurs are one of the frightening line-ups of fierce and predatory animals there.

Aside from the Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, you can find other things like several mountains, rocky plateaus, dunes, dry valleys, and more than 20 lakes in the Sahara Desert.

Also, there are seasonal rivers and streams found in Sahara, apart from the River Nile.

2. Emi Koussi Volcano is the highest point in the Sahara Desert 

The highest point of the Sahara desert is the Emi Koussi or Mount Koussi, a volcano with a broad base, domed shape, and gently sloping sides, sited in the Tibesti Mountains of northern Chad.

It is an extinct volcano in the north-northwest of Faya in the Tibesti massif, northwestern Chad, with a crater of approximately 12 miles (19 km) wide and 4,000 feet (1,200 m) deep.

3. The Sahara Desert is once used for Star Wars

Sahara desert serves as a “Star Wars” zone, providing a unique spot where George Lucas, an American film director, shoots many star wars series in Tunisian Sahara, a part of the Sahara desert.

4. Many lakes lie beneath the Sahara Desert

There are several lakes in the desert, Lakes of Ounianga located in the heart of the Sahara Desert, consisting of 18 lakes.

The Lakes of Ounianga centers in the North-Eastern part of Chad and occupies a basin in the mountains of West Tibesti and Ennedi East.

Note: all the lakes in Ounianga are saltwater lakes, except Chad Lake.

Also, apart from lakes, the Sahara desert has about ninety more oases.

5. Trade once flourished across the desert

So fascinating, several trading activities have taken place in the Sahara desert.

Then the trading requires traveling across the Sahara between sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa.

During that trading era, people conducted buying, selling, and goods transportation using caravans of camels.

Mostly, the Berber nomads were the Camel saddles who helped traders to ride the camels across the desert.

Note: Camel was the only animal used for the trade because it is the only animal that could survive in the desert without water for an extended period.

 Also, Camel can travel that long distance without injury.

They used a camel to carry their goods to facilitate transportation from place to place.

Copper, salt, and gold are traded goods transported across the desert using camel caravans.

6. Sahara desert covers 11 African countries

Sahara desert covers up to 11 notable countries, nearly one-third of African starting from the red sea around the west and the Mediterranean in the North to the Atlantic Ocean in the West.

The eleven countries are; 

– Algeria

– Chad

– Egypt

– Libya

– Mali

– Mauritania

– Morocco

– Niger

– Western Sahara

– Sudan

– Tunisia

7. It is biodiversity of its own

Another significant fact about the Sahara Desert is its various animals and plants, making it biodiversity.

The desert houses xerophytes, ephemeral plants, and halophytes, usually seen in the moister areas.

Again, over 300 species of birds and various inserts like scorpions, termites, ants, sacred scarab beetles, intelligent spiders, and locusts inhabit the desert.

Despite the harsh weather in the Sahara Desert, some animals like the monitor lizards, camels, foxes, and gazelles still survive.

8. There is a prehistoric mega lake beneath the Sahara

Another undiluted fact about the Sahara desert is the presence of a prehistoric mega lake discovered beneath the sands of the desert.

The Mega Lake formed about 250,000 years ago when the Nile River pushed through a low channel near Wadi Tushka.

The Mega Lake flooded the eastern Sahara and created a lake that covered more than 42,000 square miles.

Note: sedimentologic and geomorphic documents the only former Megalake in the Sahara, Lake Chad.

9. Presence of substantial underground reservoirs or aquifers

Sahara desert has some significant underground reservoirs that spread around the political boundaries of four countries in north-eastern Africa.

Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) is the world’s most extensive known fossil water aquifer system, and it lies underground at the Eastern end of the Sahara Desert.

Note: the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System is primarily used to supply water in the Kufra oasis.

10. It is one of the harshest places on earth

Sahara desert is one of the harshest and hottest deserts on earth; the average annual temperature is 30 ° C, while the hottest temperature ever recorded was 58°C.

The climate of the Sahara desert is too harsh due to a lack of water. All of the absorbed sunlight from the ground contributes to raising the temperature of the land.

 Note: the Sahara desert is usually cool at night due to the little water vapor in the air.

Also, the sand temperature is high; it reaches around 80 °C or 176 °F or more.

11. People lived on the edge of the desert thousands of years ago

Around 2000 BCE, Berbers lived in the Sahara desert, spreading westward from the Nile valley into the Maghrib across the Sahara.

The Berber is the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa, and from about 200BC, they spread their languages westward from the Nile valley across the northern Sahara into the Maghrib.

12. Sahara has alternated between the desert and savanna grassland

Thousand years now, the Sahara desert has alternated between the desert and savanna grassland in a 20,000-year cycle.

Sahara desert alternated due to the precession of the earth axis as it rotates around the sun, which then alters the North African Monsoon location.  

The Sahara Desert at a glance

Sahara desert is the earth’s largest hot desert located in North Africa and the 3rd largest desert behind Arctic and Antarctica, which derived its name from the Arabic word desert.

Among the things you can find in this famous dessert are salts flats, dunes, mountains, dry valleys, and other things that make up a desert.

The desert covers most of North Africa countries.

The main features of the Sahara desert include: 

  • Dunes and dune fields
  • Sand seas
  • Stone plateaus
  • Gravel plains (reg)
  • Dry valleys (wadi)
  • Dry lakes
  • Salt flats (chott)

Length of Sahara Desert

The length of the Sahara desert measures 4,800 km (3,000 mi), the width has 1,800 km (1,100 mi) size and the area is 9,200,000 km2 (3,600,000 sq mi).

Other important notes about the Sahara desert

– Sahara desert is estimated to be about 4.6 million years old

– The rivers and streams found in the Sahara are seasonal, apart from the River Nile.

– The dune field covers only about 15 percent of the entire desert several

– It has deeply dissected mountains

– Many volcanic rises from the Sahara desert

Tourist Attractions and Stunning Places to Visit in the Sahara Desert

– White Desert Tour

– Siwa Oasis Tour

– Farafra Oasis Tour

– Wadi Al Hitan Tour

– The Eastern Desert in Egypt

– Temple of Hibis

– Temple of Qasr Dush

– The Dakhla Oasis

– Black Desert Tour

– Monastery of Saint Paul

– Monastery of Saint Anthony

– Mut of Ethnographic Museum

– The English House

– Cleopatra’s Bath

What are five interesting facts about the Sahara desert?

The five interesting facts about the Sahara desert are:

  • Saharan Dunes can reach 180 meters in height
  • Many dinosaur fossils exist in the Sahara Desert
  • The climax point in the Sahara Desert is Emi Koussi Volcano measuring 3,415 meters
  • Monitor lizards, camels, foxes, and gazelles live in the Sahara Desert
  • Sahara desert is 4.6 million years old.

What is the Sahara desert most known for?

Sahara desert is known for its dune fields, measuring about 600 feet (183 meters) high, which can cover only about 15% of the entire desert.

Which is the largest hot desert in the world, the Sahara Desert?

Yes, the hottest desert in the world is the Sahara desert, having a length of 5,150 km (3,200 miles) from east to West, while from the North to South, it is between 1,280 and 2,250 km (800 and 1,400 miles).

Also, the area covered by the desert is about 9.1 million km² (3.5 million square miles).

Final Words

Sahara desert is the hottest, largest desert globally, where you experience some of the most stunning and never imagined landscapes and natural delights.

While planning for a trip to have some moments underneath the starless sky, or to savor some ultimate tastes from the lap of Egypt, try visiting the Sahara desert to challenge your enthusiasm and explore the rarest sites on earth located in North Africa.

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