17 Sahara Desert Facts That’ll Test Your Knowledge! (Free Printables)

The Sahara Desert is one of the most popular and largest deserts in the world, as well as the largest hot desert. It is the third largest desert, with an area of 9,200,000 square kilometers, and it comprises a large area of North Africa.

This desert has been around for around 3 million years. Today the population in the Sahara Desert is about 4 million, with many people living in Libya, Egypt, Alegria, Mauritania, and Western Sahara.

This desert is barren, stony, and devoid of streams and rivers. So, in this article, let us explore some amazing Sahara Desert Facts. 

Facts About Sahara Desert

The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world:

The Largest Hot Desert

The Sahara Desert is popular as the largest hot desert in the world. Also, it is the third-largest desert in the world after the Arctic and Antarctica.

A hot desert is defined as a region where the average temperature in the hottest months is more than 64 degrees Fahrenheit. In this desert, temperatures can reach up to 136 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Sahara has the world’s largest sand dune and oasis:

The Erg Chebbi dune in Morocco is the world’s largest sand dune. It is more than 500 feet tall. This dune is a popular destination for tourists who come to hike and enjoy the stunning desert views.

Also, the Sahara has the largest hot desert oasis in the world. This oasis is home to more than 200,000 date palms and is nourished by a natural spring that provides water for the local agriculture and population.

Several mountains rise out of the surrounding area in the Sahara:

The Sahara Desert is home to many famous mountains, like the Hoggar Mountains in Southern Algeria and the Air Mountains of Northern Niger.

The Saharan Atlas rises in Tunisia, and Libya and Chad share the Tibesti Mountains. Chad also has the Emi Koussi, the dormant volcano, which is the highest peak in the Sahara and has a height of 3.42 kilometers.

The Sahara Desert has a varied landscape:

Several Mountains Have Risen Out Of The Surrounding Area

According to many popular fiction stories, people think that the Sahara is a vast region covered with sand, as far as the eye can see.

In reality, only ergs, or sand seas, make up a small part of this desert. Rather, stone plateaus known as hamadas comprise most of the Saharan landscape.

The Sahel is a transition zone south of the Sahara:

The tropical Savannah is called the Sahel; hence, it is very green in the rainy season. This Sahel stretches all the way across the continent of Africa, similar to the Sahara, which stretches to the north.

They also share a similar root for their names, with the Arabic word Sahel meaning shore or coast. Also, only small parts of this Sahel border are either the Red Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

The Richat structure is a prominent geological feature in the Sahara:

The Richat Structure

Situated in Mauritania, the Richat Structure forms a dome that is made from several circular layers of sedimentary rock. Though Deep inside, volcanic rocks form the heart of this Richat Structure.

Scientists first discovered this in the 1930s and have since tried to find out how it formed. At first, they thought a meteor was the reason behind this, but in the 2000s, evidence showed it wasn’t. 

Nights in the Sahara are not as cold as often believed:

A common myth is that, in all deserts, the nights are very cold. In reality, it only seems that, in the Sahara Desert, due to the heat of the day, the average temperature at night only drops to about 20 degrees Celsius. 

However, exceptions also exist. For example, in winter, in the mountainous regions of the Sahara Desert, the temperatures drop to a freezing point or even lower.

The Sahara Desert experiences extreme temperatures:

Experiences Extremes Temperature

The Sahara Desert receives almost 3600 hours of sunlight every year. In fact, some parts of the eastern desert actually experience approximately 4000 hours of sunlight every year.  

The average daytime temperature in this desert is around 40 degrees Celsius, and at maximum, it can be much lighter. Thus, the recorded hottest temperature of this place reached up to 47 degrees Celsius.

The Sahara Desert is home to several of the oldest human civilizations:

The Sahara Desert has a rich history of human settlement, with human activities dating back to at least 5000 BC. This region was home to multiple ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, who established trading posts along the coast, and the Berbers, who were the inhabitants of the interior part.

Rainfall is very scarce in the Sahara Desert:

When the rain falls, it mainly occurs along the Mediterranean coast or even along the edges of the Sahel. At most, there is an average of only 7 inches of rainfall in a year. As for the rest of the Sahara, the desert receives, on average, only one millimeter of rain in a year.

In fact, in several parts of the eastern desert, the annual average rainfall is as low as 0.5 millimeters.

Over 500 species of flora are found in the Sahara:

Despite its arid conditions, the Sahara Desert is home to a shocking number of plant species, including acacia trees, date palms, and cacti.

Many of these plants have adapted to the harsh weather conditions of the desert by developing thick leaves and deep root systems that help them to retain water.

Moreover, some plants can even enter hibernation and survive by getting dried up and turning green again only when the water returns.

The Sahara Desert is home to various large animals:

Home To Various Species Of Large Animals

The Sahara Desert is also home to various species of large animals, including gazelles, camels, and cheetahs.

These animals have adapted to the extreme conditions of this desert by developing various significant physical features, like long legs, that help them to survive in this harsh environment.

Moreover, multiple fox species, such as Ruppell’s and fennec foxes, also live in this desert. Also, some species of lizards and snakes live here. In addition, here you can see the Addax antelope, which can go for a year without drinking water.

The Silver ant can be seen in the Sahara:

As mentioned earlier, the animals and plants in this desert have unique adaptations that let them survive in harsh environments. For example, their bodies create special heat shock proteins that can prevent damage that occurs due to quick jumps in temperature.

Also, they can move quickly at a speed of almost 855 millimeters per second. They must move quickly to scavenge for food outside of their nests, mainly dying or dead animals.

In addition, they can stay for almost 10 minutes in the Sun and if they stay any longer, they will die from extreme heat.

The Sahara is home to many beautiful rock formations:

Beautiful Rock Formations

The Sahara Desert is home to many beautiful rock formations, such as the Air Mountains in Niger and the Tassili nAjjer plateau in Algeria.

Moreover, the Sahara Desert has various geographical regions, such as the mountainous regions of the Eastern, Southern, and Western Sahara and the woodlands of the Southern and Northern Sahara.

Ancient humans in the Sahara practiced astronomy:

Many archaeologists found stone circles in Northern Europe’s Nabta Playa and Stonehenge. Situated almost 800 kilometers from Egypt’s Great Temple at Abu Simbel, they dated the place back to about 7500 BC. 

This makes it 2000 years older than Stonehenge. Studies about this place showed that the locals used it to determine the summer solstice and the position of different starts over the year. This helped them keep time, just like using a calendar.

Some nomadic tribes still live in the Sahara Desert:

Nomadic Tribes

The tribal people known as Berbers make up the oldest of these tribes who lived in this desert from as far back as 10000 BC.

Today, the people of this tribe are scattered across regions such as Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Mali.

Some of the ancient tribes of this desert even painted various themes into the caves. The oldest cave rock showed pictures of rhinos, elephants, and even giraffes.

Trade once flourished in the Sahara Desert:

Trade Once Flourished Here

In the 19th century, slaves made up a vital commodity. They were transported from the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa to various ports of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Sahara Desert Facts
Free Sahara Desert Facts Printables

Are you excited to explore the vast and fascinating Sahara Desert with your kids? Our Free Sahara Desert Facts Printables are perfect for expanding knowledge about the world’s largest hot desert. With just one easy click, you can download and print these educational resources.

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Free Sahara Desert Facts Printables
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