Sahara desert

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Sahara desert treasures

The Sahara desert is one of the most inhospitable places on earth, and being a desert it is almost total lack of humidity. Its immense proportions are difficult to delimit because it is difficult to define precisely where the desert ends and where the savannah begins. To the west there is the Atlantic Ocean, to the north, there is the Mediterranean sea, and to the east the Red Sea. To the south, however, lies all of central or sub-Saharan Africa.
The Sahara desert, to give an idea of ​​the proportions, is 5000 km wide and has an estimated surface area of ​​9,000,000 square kilometers, practically as large as China or Canada. A region so large even though at first glance, it may seem like an immense expanse of useless sand, in reality, it hides in its great embrace precious treasures that we are going to discover together.

The charming gate of a camp in the desert with lamps
Photo by Makenna Entrikin

Main attractions

The main attractions of the Sahara desert are manifold and impossible to list in full because the Sahara covers several states, but we can surely get an idea by citing the sites declared World Heritage by UNESCO. First, we tell you that only one thing is an attraction even if it is not on the UNESCO list: the Touareg, the blue people, that take the name from their traditional clothing. Impossible to imagine the desert without seeing inside the Touareg that ride their dromedaries in caravans.

The heritage of humanity in the Sahara desert

Tunisia

can boast eight sites with the recognition of the world heritage of which the Medina of Tunis and the ruins of Carthage stand out.

Algeria

we can also visit seven sites among which the Casbah of Algiers stands out.

Morocco

It is one of the most importan country of north Africa, and together with Egypt, it is certainly among the most visited destinations ever. It boasts the remarkable number of nine UNESCO sites including the Medina of charming Marrakesh.

Libya

unfortunately, there is a civil war in this country, and we, therefore, abstain from talking about it for now. We hope it will finish early and the country come back to the prospherity.

Egypt

It is probably the most visited African country; its fame is mainly due to archaeological finds that date back thousands of years, studies say its history began already 6,000 years ago. Furthermore, the Nile valley is perhaps the only strip of water to cross the desert, making it fertile and habitable. It is there that most of the population live, near the Nile delta. Egypt boasts ten UNESCO sites, but all of great historical and cultural value, just think of Valley of the Kings with its pyramids, which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Mauritania

It is one of the poorest countries in Africa, just think that almost half of the population lives on less than 2 euros a day. There are two important sites, the Banc d’Arguin National Park of a naturalistic and an archaeological nature.

Mali

It has its northern part desert, and to the south, it is instead savannas. There are four main sites, including the legendary Timbuktu.

Niger

Despite being the fifth country in the world for Uranium mining (by a French company) it remains one of the poorest countries in Africa and in the Sahara desert. Three important sites among which are the Aïr-Ténéré Nature Reserve which is the largest reserve area in Africa, and the Agadez historical Center, the mythical desert gate.

Chad

It is also one of the poorest countries in the world, and the numbers are impressive: life expectancy in males at 51, illiteracy at 65%, and 184th of 187 for income per capita PPA. There are two important sites among which the Ennedi massif, a true sandstone paradise with wind-filled canyon caves and pinnacles and where you can find 9,000-year-old cave paintings.

Sudan

It has passed between dictatorships and bloody civil wars and is still in a state of transition after the coup in April 2019 and the deposition of the President/dictator. There are three UNESCO sites, one of which consists of two marine parks.
  

Under the sands of Sahara desert

The Sahara desert, seen from the satellite, its look with the typical color of sand. You can see even the innumerable mountains, hills, valleys and immense plains.

Unfortunately, there is not even a bit of green for thousands of kilometers; otherwise, it would probably look like Canada or Russia. In reality, the water is not lacking in the subsoil, and there is a considerable quantity of aquifers that branch out everywhere. It is thanks to these underground aquifers that are emerging from time to time oases appear.

Tourist riding camel in the Sahara desert
Photo by Savvas Kalimeris

Human life in the Sahara desert

In the Sahara desert, it is very difficult, there are no dangers due to dangerous animals that are there, but the environment has such an extreme climate that makes survival an immense challenge.

To demonstrate what we have said, we can mention the number of inhabitants per kilometers, which corresponds to 0.4 per square kilometer. Most people live crowded in small towns or oases, there is little space, and so many people must live together. The rest of the people living in the desert and belong to Sahara desert tribes like the Ulad El Mizna or the much more numerous Touareg, the proud and characteristic tribe that represents the symbol of the desert.

Resources

Resources of the Sahara desert, especially the mining ones, are remarkable and are present over many of the countries that compose it. Iron mainly but also copper are present in good quantities. There are also oilfields and vast deposits of natural gas. This means that a section of the population can be find job in these activities and bring home an excellent salary. For the nomadic tribes, the situation is in constant decline, and this leads to social problems. In recent years even if with many difficulties it has also begun to extract uranium.

The fauna of Sahara desert

The fauna, as the human presence, is scarce in the Sahara desert but has many aspects of characterization. To underline the fact that many of the predators still present in Eastern and Southern Africa have been totally extinct. The lion, the leopard, and the cheetah, but the same fate is left with the elephants and giraffes.

Wild animals of Sahara desert

Among the many animals still present to us we’ll see as always the wildest and therefore here is a list of the animals of the Sahara desert.

The sand viper is a snake of the very dangerous viper family. It has a short and stocky body, in this, it resembles its relative of the Rift Valley the puff adder.

Predators

The Nile crocodile is another animal that we know well because it is widespread in almost all of Africa, and because it is one of the main causes of death.
The caracal, the bird hunter its the nickname for his ability to jump and catch birds on the fly, is another very famous and important feline. The striated hyena also has a prominent place, with a similar appearance to the spotted hyena cousin, which differs in terms of hair and small size.
Other inevitable snakes are the Egyptian cobra and the black-necked cobra, parents of king cobra. Scorpions are very present with some very dangerous and even deadly species, there are deaths due to scorpion bites , especially among children.
Among the ungulates, we find many species of gazelles, oryxes, the addax and the dromedary everywhere present in the Sahara desert, however, to be honest it is a domestic animals.

A nice dromedary near a pyramid in Egipt
Photo by Isabella Jusková

What nobody wants to see

Talking about the Sahara and its treasures is not easy, as you have seen, it is one of the most difficult and poorest areas in the world, an extreme environment where people survive instead of living. In many areas, the practice of slavery still exists, and if in cities life follows a slow process of modernization, in inland areas, this does not happen.

The evils of the Sahara desert

Diseases, famines, civil wars, tribal clashes, mostly Islamic terrorism, widespread lack of the most basic hygiene, food shortages, illiteracy at very high levels, dictators ready for anything, corrupt politicians and exploitation of resources by great powers Westerners are the main plagues of the Sahara.

Human migrations

These are also the reasons why every day from these lands young women and children leave in search of salvation; they leave nothing but the expectation of death and are willing to face torture in Libyan camps and the sea on crumbling boats in the hands of unscrupulous criminal organizations. In Europe they will be seen as a threat, someone closes the ports in the name of a blind defense of their territory, leaving helpless people to die at sea like animals; but from where they come there are no alternatives, it is the only door where hope can pass.

A documentary about the surviving technical of Sahara birds


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