10 Lesser Known Facts About Sahara Desert

Sahara desert is among the world’s most expansive deserts and located in northern Africa. Between Mediterranean to the north and the red sea to the east, a huge chunk of the area has been swallowed by the Sahara desert. One interesting thing is that Sahara is an Arabic word that means a desert. There are lots of misconceptions about Sahara desert that needs to be clarified to so many people. Here are 10 lesser known Sahara desert facts.

Sahara Desert Facts

1. It is not always hot

Most people consider Sahara to be a hot oven, but between December and February, temperatures plunge due to lack of humidity. Some sand dunes in the Sahara desert may even be covered with snow! but there is no skating. However, Sahara is in history for generating the highest temperature in the world of 136 degrees in 1993.

See Also: Top 10 Largest African Deserts

2. Sahara is not the world’s biggest desert!

What most people learn in elementary school is that Sahara is indeed the world’s biggest desert. However, this is not the case. Antarctica remains the biggest desert in the world. However, by all standards, it still remains one of the biggest deserts the world has and it’s growing bigger everyday. It now covers about 3.8 million square-miles. The area covered by Sahara is 8% the total surface area covered by the world and eleven countries which are part of it include: Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Chad, Niger, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Sudan and Mali.

3. Sahara has a small population

The number of people who call the Sahara home is just 2 million people, regardless of the fact that it is spread across eleven countries.

See Also: 10 Greatest Landmarks on Map of Africa

4. It used to be a very fertile farmland

Many years ago, Sahara was a fertile farmland with reasonable population. It wasn’t also as big as it is today. At around 6000 BC, millet and grains were grown in most parts of the desert. In some parts of Sahara, prehistoric paintings have been discovered which shows that green flora was thriving in the area.

5. Even now, some parts of Sahara desert are very fertile

There are several oases that are available in many parts of the Sahara and which the area residents use for irrigation. About 80,000 square miles are available in the entire Sahara. There are several spots that are pretty fertile and productive, thanks to irrigation. In Egypt, places that border the Sahara desert have been transformed into green havens, thanks to irrigation.

Largest African Deserts

6. Sahara desert is home to many tree species

What comes to the minds of many people when the name Sahara is mentioned is a completely dry patch of land that cannot support any vegetation. However, this is far from the truth as more than a thousand tree species are available there. But very few of these plant species are found in the driest parts of the country. Many of the plant species are located in places that have oasis.

7. Only 30% of its soil is sandy

Although quite a huge chunk of the desert is composed of sand, the truth is that the amount of sand there is less than 50 percent. But in most of the places, sand just comprise the thin outer layer of the soil surface because it’s mainly carried away by the whirl winds which are mostly seen there. But as a matter of fact, the composition is 30% sand and 70% gravel.

8. Dung beetles are a common occurrence

The Sahara has enough of dung beetles who get attracted by the smell of dung and who make rolls out of any cow dung they come across. However, it is said that most of the beetles that are located in the Sahara lack the power of smell.

9. Its home to the toughest marathon ever!

Most people don’t imagine running a marathon in a desert, but the truth is that a marathon by the name Marathon Des Sables is run in the southern parts of morocco every year. It’s a race for the most courageous as well as for the masochistic. This race is run on several stages and runners are supposed to carry all the supplies that they need for the race.

10. Sahara has various climatic conditions

There are various climatic conditions which are experienced in various parts of the Sahara. The Northern part has subtropical climate while the southern area has a complete tropical climate. However, over the years, the desert has undergone tremendous changes.


For those who didn’t know much about Sahara, the above 10 lesser known Sahara desert facts can help provide some information about the vast desert that spreads across eleven countries in northern Africa.

Editor’s Recommendations: 

Top 10 Must See National Parks in Africa
10 Amazing and Popular Tourist Attractions in Africa

Other Topics you would like to read: jokes and riddles, african proverbs,  cool team names, happy birthday wishes for a friend, birthday wishes for friends, birthday greetings, birthday blessings, birthday wish, happy birthday quotes, happy birthday best friend, african food, 50 most popular women, cute love quotes, scriptures on faith, how many countries in africa, black jokes, words of sympathy, helen keller jokes, african names, fattest person in the world