The Sahara is the image that comes to mind when we think of a desert. And, without a doubt, the idea of sand dunes and aridity few places in the world can capture it as well as the Saharan lands. But we will take the opportunity to tell you some interesting things about this huge part of the African continent.
The most extensive land and sand desert
From the title we have already specified that the Sahara desert is the largest in the world if we don't have the two poles. After all, although we can visit places like the South Georgia and Lapland Islands to the north, both the icy surface of Antarctica and the Arctic ice occupy a greater extent than the Sahara and, of course, are absolutely desert territories.
Having made that distinction, we can continue talking about the Sahara and dismantling some of its myths. To start, because Not only is it a land of sand dunes, although it is clear that it is the most emblematic and some reach an incredible height close to 200 meters.
But there is more. There are areas of land, others of gravel, also rock valleys, even salt. And there are even dissected mountains. For having, there is even a volcano like Emi Koussi, which, with more than 3000 meters high, is the highest point in the Sahara.
Sahara: a desert surrounded by seasSahara desert
The dimensions of the Sahara are overwhelming: more than nine million km². No other desert has comparable sizes with it, nor the Gobi in Asia, nor any of America.
Its surface extends practically from the Red Sea to the east to the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Meanwhile, to the north has the Mediterranean Sea. It only has terrestrial continuity to the south. And there is precisely the Sahel, an area of tropical dry savanna, as inhospitable or more than the Sahara itself.
In short, it is an immense surface and that it is deployed by more or less the third part of the African continent, including numerous countries in it. Saharan territory has Morocco, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Chad, Niger or Sudan.
A single stable river
In all that territory, when it rains, some rivers can flow. But they are all ephemeral, their waters evaporate. All but one. And what a river! One of the longest and with more history of the whole world: the Nile.
It is the artery that gave life to one of the most splendid civilizations of all time, the Egypt of the pharaohs. And it seems a miracle that arose from a territory as hard as the desert.
Other desert villagesTuareg nomads
In fact, there have been more peoples who have managed to extract all their juice from the Sahara and from that hostile environment they have ended up making their livelihood. An example may be the Nubian people, that since that splendor of Ancient Egypt, still lives in the south of the country.
Other very interesting ethnicities are the Berbers and the Tuaregs. They were nomadic people by definition, in continuous movement, forming caravans that went from one point to another to trade and who knew the desert perfectly, especially their oases, those places where water and vegetation miraculously arise.
The flora and fauna of the SaharaFezzan Oasis
Yes, because we think that there is no vegetation in the Sahara. But there is. It is clear that in its most arid and central heart few species survive, but so far It is estimated that there are about 500 types of plants. However, where there is more variety is where the water of the aquifers in the form of an oasis emerges. Some as famous as Timimoun's, Siwa's or Bahariya's.
These oases are keys to the little life in the desert. Although, in the Sahara there may be more than we expect. Just look at the types of animals that live here, which are many more than dromedaries or goats. There are also foxes, types of antelopes and gazelles, until the Sahara cheetah survives in danger of extinction. Not to mention its variety of arachnids, snakes and scorpions.
In short, that the Sahara is not only the largest non-polar desert in the world, besides immense it is an amazing territory.