This article will highlight the deserts in Africa – from the Sahara in the North to Kalahari in the south. The article was first published on Freedom Voice Channels.
List of Deserts in Africa
The largest desert in Africa is the Sahara. Also with the Sahara, there are two more hot large deserts on the continent: The Namib and the Kalahari. An estimated 25% of Africa’s land is covered with deserts. Other African deserts are the Ogaden desert, the Nubian Desert, the Libyan Desert, the Karoo Desert, the Blue Desert, and the Algerian Desert.
The Sahara Desert
The Sahara is the world’s largest warm weather desert and the third largest desert in the world. Most people believe that the Sahara is the biggest desert in the world, but it is not. The biggest desert in the world is the Antarctic Desert (14.2 million sq. km), followed in second by the Artic Desert (13.9 million sq. km). But the Sahara is pretty big and gets more significant each day.
It is spread over an area of 3.9 million square miles. The area of the Sahara is 9.2 million square kilometers, the desert comprises 8% of the world’s land, and it is unbelievable that we can fit three to four countries like the U.S.A. within the Sahara and will still have a few thousand square miles of desert left over.
Location of the Sahara Desert
This desert is located on the African continent, and the name ‘Sahara’ comes from the Arabic word ṣaḥrāʾ, which means desert.
The Sahara is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Red Sea in the east, the Mediterranean Sea in the north, and Sahel Savanna in the south. The Sahara has borders with Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Morocco, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, and Sudan.
Sahara used to be fertile farmland. It was once poorly populated, until 6000 BC. It is a hot desert, not fit for many living things to live and survive. From January to October, the Sahara has scarce water, making it impossible for the desert plants and animals to get enough wetness for their survival. The reason is said to be due to climate change and direct exposure to sun rays.
Facts About the Sahara
The direct fall of the sun’s rays and the earth’s warmth are the two critical factors in making the Sahara have a temperature of about 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.80C).
Sahara records only about 20% of sand, while the rest of the Sahara consists of rock formations, gravelly plains, and towering mountains.
Most of this land is situated close to the Nile in Egypt, so many miles of the Sahara have been transformed by irrigation. This is unbelievable yet true.
Many plant species grow in the Sahara. A lack of water doesn’t mean Sahara has no plants. It has many species of plants that can hibernate and live without water day after day. Such plants are found in the South Libyan area of the Sahara.
Some may think that deserts with giant dunes are not real. In the south of Libya, the desert has dunes. It is famous for the dunes. In Egypt, the Qattara Depression is Sahara’s deepest point. Niger is one of the top 10 sources of Uranium in the world.
The Ogaden Desert
Official name of the Somali region is Ogaden. Area of the Ogaden region is spread over 330,000 square kilometers and has more than 7 million people.
The desert is located on the Somali plateau in Southeast Ethiopia. The climate of the Ogaden desert is very hot. Ogaden has as neighbors Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya. At the beginning of the 13th century, Ogden Somali was part of the Effat Sultanate.
Namibia and the Namib Desert
Namibia, also known as The Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa. The Atlantic Ocean is the western border of it. Namibia is surrounded by Zambia and Angola in the north, Botswana in the east, and South Africa in the south.
Namibia got independence on 21 March 1990. Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, and it is the largest city of Namibia. Namibia is a member of the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth of Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the United Nations (UN). The driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa is Namibia.
English is the official language of Namibia, and other recognized languages are Afrikaans and German. Otjiherero, Khoekhoe, Oshiwambo, Kwangali, Setswana, and Silozi are the national languages of Namibia, and Thimbukushu is the regional language of Namibia.
The total area of Namibia is 825,615 km2, and its estimated population is 2.6 million (2017). The name of the country comes from the Namib Desert. Namib is believed to be the oldest desert in the world. It is a coastal desert.
The total area of the Namib is 81,000 km2 (31,000 square miles), and it stretches over 2000Km along the coastlines of Angola, South Africa, and Namibia. It has dunes that are 980 feet (300 meters) high and 32 km (20 miles) long. It has the second-largest dunes in the world after the Badain Jaran Desert Dunes. The climate of the Namib is arid.
Many desirable species of plants and animals are found in this desert, many of which are spatial and highly suitable for the specific climate of the region. Welwitschia mirabilis is the most endemic plant species in the desert. Welwitschia is well-known for its ability to survive in the aridest of climates. Namibia is one of the top 10 sources of Uranium in the world.
Kalahari Desert (One of the most beautiful Deserts in Africa)
The Kalahari is a massive arid sandy savanna in Southern Africa. It’s area is 930,000 km2 (350,000 square miles) and the total length of the desert is 4,000 km (2,500 miles). Sand depth of the Kalahari exceeds 200 feet. The length of the dunes is at least one mile, with a hundred feet in width and twenty to two hundred feet in height.
The desert covers regions of South Africa and some parts of Namibia and Botswana. It is hot, and the temperature of the desert is very high.
The name ‘Kalahari’ comes from the Tswana phrase ‘Kgalagadi’ (a waterless place) or ‘Kgala’ (the great thirst).
Almost all the rain that falls immediately disappears in the deep sand. In the Kalahari desert, the soil is based mainly on the sand, and it is extremely dry.
Climate of the Kalahari
The climate of the Kalahari is generally hot in the summer (42oC (107.6oF)–45 °C (113oF)). But it also drops on the same nights (21oC (69.8oF) –27 °C (80.6oF)) in the Kalahari. On winter nights, the temperature in the Kalahari is low (−10°C (14oF) to −12°C (10.4oF)). Many migratory birds and animals live in the Kalahari.
What type of economic activities do people who live in deserts engage in?
15 % of Africa comprises of tropical rainforests. Which African countries have tropical rainforests? The African rainforest is home to most of the birds and animals in Africa. African rainforests cover over 3.6 million square kilometers.
The rainforests tend to be dry for half the year and wet for the other half. Essential medicines come from the rainforests. The peoples of rainforests depend on the forest for their food. They also grow crops and trade their crops.
The list of African countries that have tropical rainforests
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Ivory Coast
Many people live in the savannahs and steppe regions of West, East, Central, and Southern Africa. They include the following.
- Kualngo and the Akan