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Facts About The Sahara Desert For Kids


The Sahara is the world’s hottest desert, the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic.The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna that composes the northern region of central and western Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The Sahara’s boundaries are the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean on the north, the Red Seaon the east, and the Sudan (region) and the valley of the Niger Riveron the south.
  • The highest peak in the Sahara is Emi Koussi (3,415 m/11,204 ft) in the Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad.
  • Most of the Sahara consists of rocky hamada; ergs (large areas covered with sand dunes) form only a minor part.
  • Important cities located in the Sahara include Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania; Tamanrasset, Ouargla, Béchar, Hassi Messaoud, Ghardaïa, and El Oued in Algeria; Timbuktu in Mali; Agadez in Niger; Ghat in Libya; and Faya-Largeau in Chad.
  • The desert landforms of the Sahara are shaped by wind or by occasional rains and include sand dunes and dune fields or sand seas (erg), stone plateaus (hamada), gravel plains (reg), dry valleys, and salt flats (shatt or chott).
  • To the north, the Sahara reaches to the Mediterranean Sea in Egyptand portions of Libya, but in Cyrenaica and the Maghreb, the Sahara borders Mediterranean forest, woodland, and scrub ecoregions of northern Africa, which have a Mediterranean climate characterized by a winter rainy season.
  • According to the botanical criteria of Frank White and geographer Robert Capot-Rey, the northern limit of the Sahara corresponds to the northern limit of Date Palm cultivation and the southern limit of Esparto, a grass typical of the Mediterranean climate portion of the Maghreb and Iberia.
  • The end of the glacial period brought more rain to the Sahara, from about 8000 BC to 6000 BC, perhaps because of low pressure areas over the collapsing ice sheets to the north.
  • When this wind reaches the Mediterranean, it is known as sirocco and often reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and southern Europe.
  • In winter, temperatures drop low enough on the Tahat summit to cause snow on average every three years; the Tibesti Mountainsreceive snow on peaks over 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) once every seven years on average.
  • The Atlantic coastal desert occupies a narrow strip along the Atlanticcoast, where fog generated offshore by the cool Canary Current provides sufficient moisture to sustain a variety of lichens, succulents, and shrubs.
  • It covers 39,900 square kilometers (15,400 sq mi) in Western Sahara and Mauritania.
  • The North Saharan steppe and woodlands lies along the northern desert, next to the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub ecoregions of the northern Maghreb and Cyrenaica.
  • The Sahara desert ecoregion covers the hyper-arid central portion of the Sahara where rainfall is minimal and sporadic.