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Map of the world and Africa: where and on what continent is the Sahara Desert?

pustynya Sahara na karte

Despite popular belief, the Sahara desert on the map — not the largest in the world. In fact, in area, it is inferior to the Antarctic desert, but among the hot deserts located on the inhabited continents of Sugar the undisputed leader.

The Sahara desert on the world map and Africa

pustynnoe more na mirovom atlase

The Sahara is the greatest desert in the world not for its size and influence on the history and modern life of people. Mankind has inhabited the Sahara thousands of years ago, as evidenced by the more than 3 thousand rock paintings in various parts of the desert.

And now Sugar has a huge impact on political, economic and cultural life of North Africa.

Because of their huge size Sugar has a rather diverse climate, soil type, living conditions and local inhabitants — from the Arabs in the North to the Negro peoples to the South of the desert.

On which continent is?

Sugar located in the Northern part of the African continent and stretches from the coast of the Mediterranean sea in the North to the tropical savannas of the Sahel in the South to 16° n, from the Atlantic ocean in the West to the red sea in the East of the continent.

Which country applies?

kakie strany ohvatyvaet?

The Sahara is fully or partially located the following African States:

  • Egypt;
  • Libya;
  • Tunisia;
  • Algeria;
  • Western Sahara;
  • Morocco;
  • Mauritania;
  • Mali;
  • Niger;
  • Chad;
  • Sudan.

The history and names

Scientists believe that in the 5-4 Millennium BC on the territory of the Sahara grew the trees, the earth's surface was covered with grasses and shrubs, and water resources are represented by numerous lakes.

Presumably, then began a comprehensive desertification due to the reduction of moisture and the prevalence of evaporation over rainfall.

The reason for this could be natural factors (climate change) and anthropogenic factor is the transition of indigenous tribes in the pastoral type of livestock has led to desertification. On the other hand, this transition could be caused by the transformation of the once flourishing Savannah into a desert.

istoricheskie svedeniya o proishozhdenii

Whatever it was, about a thousand years, the Sahara became a desert and the desertification process was completed by the middle of the 3rd Millennium BC.

The name of the Sugar, presumably, comes from the Arabic word "ṣaḥārā", which means "desert." Another version of the origin of the name is from the Arabic "Sahra", which means "red-brown". The name of the desert is fixed from the I century ad, after the Arabic-speaking tribes reached the territory of the Sahara.

Climatic conditions

The climate of the Sahara desert (arid), which is characterized by the dominance of evaporation over moisture.

The southern part of the desert has a dry tropical climate with sultry summers and mild winters. The rainfall for the year is usually about 130 mm. In winter night the temperature can fall below zero and in summer often reaches +50°C.

The Northern part of the desert has a dry subtropical climate, with hot summers and relatively cold winters. Average temperaturetemperature in summer reaches +37°C, and in winter in the mountainous regions can drop to -18°C. For this part of the desert is characterized by high daily fluctuations of air temperature due to night cooling. The average annual rainfall does not exceed 75 mm.

The sand of the sea - what is it?

Sugar — active desertthat annually increases its area, moving in a southerly direction for 10 km.

Characteristic of the endless Sands

About a quarter of the Sahara consists of sand dunes, a quarter of the mountains of volcanic origin, and half-barren rocky plains and cliffs. The area of sustainable vegetation does not exceed a few percent.

opisanie beskrajnih peskov

One of the reasons for the dryness of the Sahara is the presence of the Atlas mountains in the North of the desert, which block access to moist Mediterranean air in the Sahara.

The Central part of Sahara, where there is the least amount of annual precipitation (20 mm) is one of the most lifeless places on Earth. The average number of biomass in this part of the desert falls to values 2 kg/ha or less.

Area of the desert is almost 9 million km2, equal to almost 30% of the territory of Africa. The desert stretches for 4.8 thousand km from West to East and 1.2 thousand km from North to South.

Water sources on the territory of the Sahara are:

  1. artesian groundwater, on surface of which there are oases;
  2. rainwaterthat fills the gelth (ponds or natural pools), and wadis (ephemeral riverbeds of ancient rivers filled with rain water);
  3. major rivers on the outskirts of the desert (Nile, Niger).

Flora and fauna

A significant part of the desert has no vegetation and is a classic of Sands. Mostly resistant to arid climate plants grow in oases and the high rise areas (grass, small bushes and trees). The oasis is grown a variety of crops: dates, olives, figs, vegetables.

Fauna of the Sahara is mainly represented by different species of rodents and reptiles, and birds, more than half of which are migratory. Large mammals include antelope, sheep, Nubian donkey. Predators — spotted hyena and Cheetah. Most of the animals of the Sahara are active in the night period, when the heat is not so great.

Attractions arid expanses

Despite the harshness of the Sahara, do not think that it consists only of lifeless sand and mountains. On the territory of the desert there are a lot of attractions, both natural and anthropogenic origin, and excursions into the desert are a mandatory item of the program when traveling to a country in the Sahara region.


gorod Duz v Tunise

In Tunisia, tourists discover the Sahara when visiting the town of Douz, which is located on the outskirts of the oasis. Depart from this city desert excursions on camels and cars whose duration can be from couple of hours to several weeks depending on the wishes the vacationer.

"Highlight" tours in the Tunisian part of Sahara is a visit to the ancient Fort Tasawar and thermal spring, located in the oasis of Ksar Gilan.


Despite the fact that a significant part of the African part of Egypt formally located in the Sahara, the vast majority of attractions of this country is in the Nile Delta, which is difficult to relate to wilderness.

To visit the "real" Sahara will have to use the "jeep Safari" — a trip to the depths of the desert, off-road, adapted for movement in the sand.

You can take a trip by jeep or camels in the desert and enjoy the endless sand of the southern or Western oases of Egypt, such as:

  • Siwa;
  • Al-Kharga;
  • Bahariya.

kristalnye gory v Egipte

It is particularly interesting to visit the White desert, which is part of the Sahara. Here you can admire the so-called "crystal mountain" — consisting of quartzite and limestone white cliffs of amazing beauty. The white desert is located in the West of Egypt, and to get here the easiest way of the oases of Bahariya and Farafra.


The Moroccan Sahara is one of the most accessible and interesting parts of the great desert. Here you should definitely visit the region of the High Atlas is located at the foot of the Atlas mountains of the Sahara. The most popular tourist destination in this part of Morocco is the valley of the Draa, which is a conglomerate of oases, fortresses and settlements of local residents — the Berbers.


On the other, no less interesting, attractions Morocco, read this article.

For those wishing to visit deeper places of the Sahara, it is recommended to get to the erg Chigaga conglomerate of sand dunes in the heart of the Moroccan Sahara. Here is the campground where the tourists have come to expect are all available in the desert the blessings of civilization.

The picturesqueness of Chigaga, which measures 30 by 15 km, exceeds any expectations: by the end of the horizon stretch countless untouched dunes, almost devoid of vegetation.

Another popular route in the Moroccan part of the Sahara trip to erg Chebbi through the village of Merzouga. Erg Chebbi is not inferior to the beauty of Chicago, but to reach it is a little more complicated.


Mauritania is almost entirely located within the Sahara, but trips here are rare because of the poverty of the local population, lack of infrastructure and relatively high level of crime in the country.

For those who are on a tour to this exotic country, it will be interesting to visit the Adrar plateau, in which the objects of world heritage UNESCO village Wadan and Chinguetti. On the plateau, despite its lifelessness, there are more than 20 major oases, including a fairly large city of Atar.


Algeria — a country with the largest territory of the Sahara in its composition, more than 80% of the area of the country is occupied by desert.

The most stunning desert landscapes located in the South-Eastern part of Algeria at the foot of the mountains Tessinskij.

Plateau Tassili is one of the sites on the UNESCO list, in the local caves found ancient petroglyphs Dating back from 2 to 9 thousand years.

Other anthropogenic attractions in the Algerian part of the Sahara are:

  1. the city of Ouargla;
  2. m'zab valley with fortified towns.

These settlements are of great value from a historical and architectural point of view, and was founded and built in the X century ibadi is a branch of Muslims differ from Sunnis and Shiites.

Of the natural attractions of the Algerian part of the Sahara stands out the Ahaggar highlands of southern Algeria, consisting of volcanic outcrops of bizarre shapes. On-site national Park the Ahaggar, and the guides of the tourists are locals Tuaregs, to get acquainted with the unique culture which will be interesting for any tourist.

We recommend you to watch video on the location of the Sahara desert: