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Sahara Desert Facts

Kashmira Lad
Long endless miles of sand dunes and scorching heat - the image one has in mind when one thinks of deserts. However, recently, many aspects have changed. The Sahara desert, reputed as the largest hot desert in the world, is a challenges due to its extreme climate. It is home to many plants and animals, naturally equipped to handle the extremities here.
The Sahara desert covers around 3,500,000 square miles, and the overall area is as large as continental United States. This desert also has the reputation of being the world's largest hot desert.
This place has mainly nomadic groups of people who move from place to place. Nomads wear a particular headdress known as the Howli.

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These people are mainly engaged in trading and hunting. The low population here is due to the rather difficult conditions seen in this desert.
The landforms in this desert undergo constant change. These landforms are shaped as per the direction of the wind and the occasional rainfall.
In spite of being a desert, one can notice annual rainfall in many regions of this vast land. There are different climates witnessed in different regions, such as the subtropical climate in the northern part, and a tropical climate in the southern part. Over the years, the climate of the Sahara has undergone many changes.
On an average, the yearly rainfall in the Sahara is less than 3 inches. Also, there is no consistency or trend that can be seen. Meaning, it may rain more than once over a span of a few days, or might not rain even for a couple of years at a stretch.
The Sahara has annual temperatures that can exceed 86°F. Some of the hottest months have temperatures exceeding 122°F. In the winters, temperatures drop below freezing point.
Studies have revealed the changing size of the Sahara desert. Observations made with the help of satellite photographs have proven that this desert can shrink or even grow.
The Sahara desert stretches over areas of Northern Africa, from the Red Sea to the areas close to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. It shares its boundaries with the Atlas Mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Sudan, and valley of the Niger River.
This desert has some of the tallest sand dunes, and these can reach around 190 meters in height. The land area also has stone plateaus, large gravel plains, dry valleys, and even sand flats.
The Sahara desert has around 500 species of flora. Ephemeral plants are most commonly found here. At some oases, close to the Nile Valley, one can find olive trees growing. Vegetation is found in areas where ground water reaches the land surface.
Thousands of years ago, this area was actually a fertile land, where animals like elephants and giraffes were seen grazing around. Around 6,000 years back, the climate started becoming drier, and has become what we see today.
The Sahara desert is home to quite a few species of animals. Camels and goats are the only domesticated animals one may see out here. Apart from these, the Saharan cheetah, sand vipers, scorpions, and monitor lizards can also be found.
Emi Koussi is the highest peak that is seen in the Tibesti Mountains. This peak has a height of 3,415 m.
Farming is being practiced in certain areas of the Sahara desert with the help of drought-resistant plants. Some areas of this land have been transformed in order to prevent soil erosion.
The most widely spoken language here is Arabic, though there are several parts that have various Berber dialects too.
This mysterious and vast place also has some of the most magnificent landscapes, and despite the harsh weather, it has attracted many people to study details associated with the Sahara desert. This desert is more than a hot and dry place, it is one of the most remarkable areas known to man!