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Sahara Desert

Geography

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Sahara desert

The Sahara desert covers a large part of North Africa. It is the worlds largest desert. It has an area of around 8.54 million sq. km. The Sahara desert touches eleven countries. These are Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara.

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Climate of Sahara desert

The climate of the Sahara desert is scorching hot and parch dry. It has a short rainy season. The sky is cloudless and clear. Here, the moisture evaporates faster than it accumulates. Days are unbelievably hot. The temperatures during the day may soar as high as 50C. The nights may be freezing cold with temperatures nearing zero degrees.

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Flora and fauna of Sahara desert

Vegetation in the Sahara desert includes cactus, date palms and acacia. In some places there are oasis green islands with date palms surrounding them. Camels, hyenas, jackals, foxes, scorpions, many varieties of snakes and lizards are the prominent animal species living there.

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Nomadic tribes of Sahara desert

The Sahara desert has been inhabited by various groups of people who pursue different activities. Among them are the Bedouins and Tuaregs. These groups are nomadic tribes rearing livestock such as goats, sheep, camels and horses. These animals provide them with milk, hides from which they make leather for belts, slippers, water bottles; hair is used for mats, carpets, clothes and blankets. They wear heavy robes as protection against dust storms and hot winds.

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Agriculture in Sahara desert

The oasis in the Sahara and the Nile Valley in Egypt supports settled population. Since water is available, the people grow date palms. Crops such as rice, wheat, barley and beans are also grown. Egyptian cotton, famous worldwide is grown in Egypt.

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Minerals in Sahara desert

The discovery of oil a product in great demand throughout the world, in Algeria, Libya and Egypt is constantly transforming the Sahara desert. Other minerals of importance that are found in the area include iron, phosphorus, manganese and uranium.

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Cultural landscape of Sahara desert

The cultural landscape of the Sahara is undergoing change. Gleaming glass cased office buildings tower over mosques and superhighways crisscross the ancient camel paths. Trucks are replacing camels in the salt trade. Tuaregs are seen acting as guides to foreign tourists. More and more nomadic herdsmen are taking to city life finding jobs in oil and gas operations.

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