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Back to Africa Landmarks - The Sahara Desert
Africa Physical Map The Sahara Desert, in North Africa, is the largest desert in the world, with a total surface area of 3,500,000 sq. miles/9,065,000 sq. km. The Sahara is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to west, the Red Sea to the east and the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains to the North.

The Sahara has two climates. In the north, the dry subtropical climate consists of high temperatures, cold winters, hot summers and two rainy seasons. In the south, the dry tropical climate consists of mild, dry winters and a hot dry season prior to the rainy season. This desert rarely receives regular and sufficient precipitation. The Sahara has some sparse vegetation, ranging from shrubs, trees and grasses. A common trait amongst the Sahara vegetation is that their adaptation to extreme heat and unpredictable rainfall.

Sahara DesertVarious rivers flow through the desert, such as the Nile and Niger Rivers. In the tropical highlands of southern Sahara, most of the water is from the Nile River and other rivers flowing to the Mediterranean. The streams of water of the northern region are mainly from the Atlas Mountains and the highlands of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. Sand sheets, sand dunes and sand seas are very common in this region. Oasis depressions, mountains and plateaus are also present, with the Ahaggar and Tibesti mountains as the highest peaks of the Sahara.
Sahara DesertAlthough the climate is amongst the harshest in the world, a few million people live in the Sahara, mainly in Western Sahara, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Libya. Many of the inhabitants of the Sahara are nomads; people that move from place to place looking for better living conditions. They move with their belongings, such as certain foods and their animals (cattle). Nomads build new homes every time they arrive in a new location.
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