The Deserts Of Africa

Africa hosts a large number of deserts, big and small, including the largest hottest desert in the world, the Sahara Desert.

13. Lompoul Desert

The Lompoul Desert is a desert located in Senegal. It occupies an area of about 18 square km and is 145 km south of the Saint Louis city. The desert features orange sand dunes and is a popular tourist attraction in the country. A music festival named "Festival du Sahel” is held at this desert each year.

12. Nyiri Desert

The Nyiri Desert, also known as the Taru Desert, is located in southern Kenya to the east of Lake Magadi. Since it lies in the rainshadow region of the Mount Kilimanjaro, the Nyiri Desert receives very little rainfall.

11. Chalbi Desert

The Chalbi Desert is a small desert located close to the Kenyan border with Ethiopia in northern Kenya

10. Ogaden Desert

The Ogaden Desert region is located in southeastern Ethiopia and stretches into central and northern Somalia. The region is a plateau with elevation ranging between 300 and 1,500 meters. The Ogaden receives extremely low precipitation. The landscape here features bare hills, bushland, and shrubland.

9. Grand Bara Desert

The Grand Bara Desert occupies a large area in Djibouti. The landscape of the desert features vast areas of sand flats, scrub vegetation, semi-desert and desert grasses. The region was earlier occupied by large lakes that have now completely dried up. The fauna of the Grand Bara Desert includes the Dorcas gazelle, Salt's dik-dik, Beira antelope, Soemmerring's gazelle, gerenuk, and others.

8. Guban Desert

The Guban Desert is a small coastal desert located between the Zeila and Berbera cities in northwestern Somalia.

7. Danakil Desert

The Danakil Desert occupies parts of Eritrea, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. The desert that stretches across for about 100,000 square km, is one of the hottest and driest places on Earth. There are several volcanoes and volcanic lakes in the region. The Danakil Desert is nearly completely uninhabited with the exception of a few Afar people who engage in salt mining at the desert.

6. Moçâmedes Desert

The Moçâmedes Desert is located near Angola’s border with Namibia in southwest Angola. It constitutes the northern tip of the Namib Desert. An endemic plant, the tumboa (Welwitschia mirabilis) grows in this desert. The plant has a short, wide trunk with two massive leaves and is known to survive for about a century. The desert has negligible human presence in the interior. Some coastal fishing villages exist along the coastal section of the desert.

5. Eritrean Coastal Desert

The Eritrean coastal desert is an ecoregion featuring a sand and gravel-covered strip of land along Eritrea’s southern coast and Djibouti’s Red Sea coast. Drought resistant herbs and grasses grow in the region. The place is famous as one of the important stopovers for migratory birds, especially raptors. Sea turtles, Dorcas gazelle, Salt’s dik-dik, Ragazzi's cylindrical skink, Soemmerring’s gazelle, etc., are some of the animals living in the arid habitat of the desert.

4. Namib Desert

The Namib Desert stretches for a distance of about 2,000 km (from the Carunjamba River of Angola to the Olifants River in South Africa’s Western Cape Province) along the Atlantic coast of the three southern African nations of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. The Namib Desert is considered to be one of the world’s oldest and driest deserts. The landscape of the region features coastal sand seas and gravel plains with mountain outcrops in the interior. The sand dunes of this desert are among the tallest in the world. The Namib Desert is nearly completely uninhabited by humans. Only a few indigenous pastoral groups are known to live here. The coastal waters of the region support shorebirds, fishes, and brown fur seals. Further inland is the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Africa’s largest game park. The park houses a variety of insects, snakes, and geckos. Jackals, hyenas, and gemsboks also inhabit this hyper-arid region.

3. Karoo Desert

The Karoo Desert can be described as a semi-desert natural region that is located in South Africa. In the past, the dry and treacherous Karoo provided an almost impenetrable barrier to travelers attempting to move inland from Cape Town. The Karoo today is also an arid region with little rainfall and high temperature. However, an extensive reserve of underground water has been discovered in the Karoo making farming and livestock raising possible on the previously uninhabited terrain.

2. Kalahari Desert

Spanning an area of about 900,000 square kilometers, and covering large parts of Botswana, Namibia, and some parts of South Africa, the Kalahari Desert is one of the largest deserts of Africa. Large sections of the desert feature vast areas of red sand lacking any permanent water source. The Okavango River is the only permanent river flowing through the desert. Large salt pans like Namibia’s Etosha Pan and Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pan are part of the Kalahari Desert. Despite an arid climate, the desert supports a variety of flora including acacia trees, herbs, and grasses. The kiwano fruit is endemic to the Kalahari Desert. The savannahs of the Kalahari used to serve as the home of a great diversity of wildlife in the past. However, overgrazing by livestock and indiscriminate hunting of wildlife has depleted the wildlife in the region. Some of the wild species that can still be observed in the wilds of Kalahari are the Kalahari lion, African leopard, spotted hyena, brown hyena, African cheetah, birds of prey, wildebeest, porcupines, antelopes, etc. The San people are regarded as the major indigenous inhabitants of the Kalahari Desert.

1. Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world following the cold deserts of the Arctic and the Antarctic. The Sahara Desert encompasses an area of 9,200,000 square km, a size comparable to that of the US. Most of North Africa is part of this desert. The southern boundary of the desert is formed by the Sahel ecoregion. To the north of the Sahel, the Sahara stretches from the Red Sea coast in the east to the Atlantic coast in the west. The landscape of the Sahara Desert features ergs and hamadas. Dry lakes and valleys, gravel plains, sand seas, sand dunes and fields, stone plateaus form the terrain of this desert. Several mountains including volcanic ones rise in different parts of the desert. The desert is hyperarid in the central region with very little plant or animal life. The Ténéré, Tanezrouft, Libyan Desert, El Djouf, Djurab Desert, Tin-Toumma Desert, Sinai Desert, Eastern Desert, and the Atlantic Coastal Desert are all subdivisions of the great Sahara Desert.

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