The Sahara Desert or the Great Desert located in most of the northern region of Africa, is an ideal place for enjoying adventurous camel treks and camping under the sparkling starry skies. It is a place of extreme temperatures – intense heat in the afternoon and cold freezing at night are a common phenomenon in this desert region. In 1922, the highest temperature ever in the world (136°F) was recorded in Al Aziziyah in Libya. The size and the climate of the Sahara Desert have undergone much change through history. It is believed that the desert was much bigger and perhaps drier, prior to 8,000 BC. The region had vegetation and animals, geographers say. With changing climate, the savanna turned into desert land. The evolution of the Sahara into its present form started after the removal of ice sheets post the ice age. The monsoon retreated down south; in fact, the present arid hot climatic conditions have been the characteristic of the Sahara Desert for about 13,000 years. Huge, wild, and magnificent are some of the adjectives commonly used to describe the landscape of the Sahara Desert. Covered mainly by sand and sand dunes, the monotony of this land is broken by the presence of oases, which support life in the form of plants and animals in this region. Home to several barren mountain ranges of granite and sandstone, this desert is also made up of different forms of landforms. Gravel plains, plateaus, river, underground aquifers, areas of vegetation and valleys are also spread across the desert. This land of golden sand under clear blue sky is beauty personified. The Sahara Desert is not navigable in many parts and the virgin wilderness is inimical to explorers. This part of the world has known human inhabitation since 6,000 BC. The Egyptian and Phoenician civilizations were centered on the desert. Most of the tribes living in the Sahara are nomadic groups who keep traveling across the desert. There is an increase in the number of cities encircling oases and fertile belts. This undulating land of gravel, sand dunes, scattered oasis, mountain ranges, steppes, and nomadic Bedouins holds an undying charm over tourists from across the world. The other major attractions of a trip to the Sahara are the desert safaris and camel caravans.The camel caravans usually start from Timbuktu and end at the oasis points in Taoudenni and Araouane. These treks are organized on demand. The camel caravans set out in the morning and go on for several days depending upon the distance the visitors wish to travel. The performances by the local snake charmers, acrobats, and jugglers are sources of entertainment at night. A Saharan safari is ideal for people who want to enjoy the beauty of nature and the taste of adventure. The four main highlights of traveling to the Sahara are the camel treks, the desert wilderness, Marrakech, and the kasbahs. Camping out in the solitude of the sand dunes under the sparking starry sky blended with the warn hospitality of the local tribes is an experience of a lifetime.
- The Sahara Desert got its name from an Arabic word ‘Sahra’, which means desert.
- Covering over 9,400,000 square kilometers of area, it is the largest hot desert of the world.
- The desert extends over several countries including Western Sahara, Eritrea, Tunisia, etc.
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The Sahara Desert is spread over the northern parts of Africa including Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan & others. Usually, the journey into the desert begins from Ouarzazate, also called the door of the desert. The nearest International Airport named Menara Airport is located at a distance of around 232 km. You can reach the airport from Ouarzazate within three-and-a-half hours by road.
The best time to visit the desert is from October to February.
Nearby AttractionsN’Djamena, Kano, Bamako, Kolda, Kontagora, Maiduguri, Damaturu, and Katsina.
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