Long endless miles of sand dunes and scorching heat, this is probably the image one has in mind when one thinks about deserts. A desert is known to offer many challenges for those who wish to live life on the wild side. However, in recent times, many aspects have changed about the same. The Sahara desert is one of nature's wonders, and has always mystified people with its vast stretches of sand. This desert is also home to a variety of plants and animals who are naturally equipped to handle the extremities of this area. These facts will brief you about many such interesting details about this very amazing place.
Interesting Facts about the Sahara Desert
The Sahara desert covers around 3,500,000 square miles, and the overall area is as large as the continental United States. This desert also has the reputation of being the world's largest hot desert.
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 landforms in this desert undergo constant change. These landforms are shaped as per the direction of the wind and the occasional rainfalls.
In spite of being a desert area, one can notice annual rainfall in many regions of this vast land area. There are different climates witnessed in different regions, such as the subtropical climate in the northern part, whereas a tropical climate in the southern area. Over the years, the climate of the Sahara desert has undergone many changes. This desert therefore, is known for its harsh climates.
On an average, the yearly rainfall here is even 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. This hot desert has annual temperatures that can exceed 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the hottest months have temperatures exceeding 122 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winters, the temperatures drop below freezing point. This itself explains the diverse climates of this hot desert.
Studies have revealed the changing size of the Sahara desert. Observations made with the help of satellite photographs have proven this desert can shrink or even grow. The Sahara desert is home to quite a few species of animals. Camels and goats are the only ones amongst the domesticated animals one may see out here. Apart from these, the Saharan cheetah, the sand vipers, scorpions, and monitor lizards can be found out here. 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 the ground water reaches the surface of the land.
This place has mainly nomadic groups of people who move from place to place. Nomads wear a particular headdress known as Howli. These people are mainly engaged in trading and hunting. The low population is due to the rather difficult conditions seen in this desert. The Sahara desert stretches over areas of Northern Africa, from the Red Sea to the areas close to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. This desert shares its boundaries with the Atlas Mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Sudan, and valley of the Niger River. Emi Koussi is the highest peak that is seen in the Tibesti Mountains. This peak has a height of 3415 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 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!