The Sahara has an area of 9,065,253 square kilometers, that makes it very close to the size of China. Read on for super interesting facts about the Sahara Desert.
Countries with Sahara Desert
1. The Sahara covers 11 countries – Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, Niger, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Chad, Mali, and Sudan.
2. The term “Sahara” in Arabic means “desert”. Technically, when you say Sahara Desert, you are saying Desert Desert.
The Desert Fox
3. Sahara is home to smallest fox species in the world. The desert fox is characterised by its large ears that help it stay cool during summers.
The hottest temperature
4. The hottest desert on the planet, Sahara desert has recorded the record high temperature of 58 degrees celcius in 1922. Rocks that are hit by direct sunlight can have the surface temperature of 70 degrees celsius. On the other hand, in winters, the temperatures in the region can go sub zero.
Pyramids in Sudan
5. The pyramids of Sudan are less known than the pyramids of Egypt. They were built by Kushites.
The ‘eye’ of the Sahara
6. The “eye” of the Sahara desert is a concentric circle formation in the city of Ouadan. It is formed due to soil erosion and is about 50 kilometers in diameter. It is impossible to see it while on the ground and is only understandable from the sky. It was first spotted by NASA’s spacecraft.
Snow in Sahara
7. In the human record, the hot desert of Sahara has experienced snow twice. THe first time was on February 19, 1979 in Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia. It again snowed in Sahara on January 8, 2016, in Algeria. This phenomenon occurs due to the low temperatures at night (around 0 degrees).
Highest Peak in Sahara Desert
8. The highest peak in Sahara is Emi Koussi reaching the height of 3,415 meters. It is an extinct volcano located in northern Chad.
9. Farafra in Egypt has white sands. The place is surrounded by unique and strange shapes formed due to erosion and limestones.
10. Only 30% of Sahara desert is covered by sand dunes. The rest of it is stony or rocky.
Movies Shot in Sahara
11. Many famous movies have been shot here. These include Indian Jones In Search of the Lost Ark and Star Wars.
Horned Desert Viper
12. Among some species of animals found in the Sahara is the horned desert viper. It camouflages itself perfectly in sand and is known for having horns on its head. Its venom though harmful, is rarely fatal.
The Legend of Tall Sand Dunes
13. Erg Chebbi, Morocco is a place in Sahara desert where sand dunes can reach the height of 300 meters. There is a legend associated with tall sand dunes in Erg Chebbi. It says that many years ago, the residents of the city ignored a woman and a child when they were asking for help. As a result, a massive sandstorm drowned the town in sand forever. It is said, at midday you can hear cries among the dunes.
The Gathering of Nomads
14. The Tan-Tan Moussem is the largest Berber gathering of North Africa that happens every year in May. During this gathering over 30 nomadic tribes gather in Tan-Tan city of Morocco. They play many sports, take part in camel races. The festival is celebrated in the memory of Sheikh Mohamed Laghdaf, who fought for the independence of Morocco. UNESCO has declared these festivities Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.
The Survival Expert Plant
15. A unique plant found in Sahara is the rose of Jericho. It is famous for its resistance to hot and dry weather of Sahara. When dried, its leaves curl up and contract and can stay that way for years. As soon as it gets some moisture, the leaves return to their original shape.
It Wasn’t Always a Desert
16. When the glacial period ended about 15,000 years ago, Sahara comprised of Savannas and grasslands. It also experienced rains frequently and had many lakes. Sahara might have been a jungle until about 6,000 years ago. But massive changes in temperatures drove wildlife and hunters away from Sahara, eventually turning it into a desert.