The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert on Earth (the cold desert of Antarctica is larger). The Sahara has played an important role in the development of African culture and history.
Where is the Sahara Desert?
The Sahara desert is located in North Africa. It covers much of North Africa stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. North of the Sahara is the Mediterranean Sea. South is the Sahel region that sits between the desert and the African Savanna.
The Sahara covers large sections of eleven different countries including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.
How big is it?
The Sahara Desert is huge. It covers an area of 3,629,360 square miles and is still growing. From east to west it is 4,800 miles long and from north to south it is 1,118 miles wide. If the Sahara were a country it would be the fifth largest country in the world. Larger than Brazil and only slightly smaller than the United States.
How hot does it get?
The Sahara Desert is one of the most consistently hottest places on Earth. The average temperature during the summer months is between 100.4 °F (38 °C) and 114.8 °F (46 °C). In some areas the temperature can exceed 120 °F for several days in a row.
The overall climate of the Sahara makes it a difficult place for any life to exist. It is hot, dry, and windy. Even though it is so hot during the day, the temperature can drop rapidly at night. Sometimes to below freezing. It rarely rains in the Sahara. Some regions can go years without seeing a drop of rain.