The three main deserts of Africa | African deserts

Africa is the second largest continent on Earth. A large part of the African continent is desert. The three main deserts of Africa are – Sahara desert, Namib desert, and Kalahari desert. Let’s learn about these three deserts in this web post.

The three main deserts of Africa

African deserts
African deserts

Sahara Desert

Sand dunes in Sahara desert of Africa
Sand dunes in Sahara desert

The Sahara desert is the largest hot desert in the world and the third-largest desert overall, after the Antarctic desert and Arctic desert. The desert has an area of over 9 million square kilometers and it covers the majority of North Africa, spanning across 11 different countries. The 11 countries are Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.

The temperatures in many places in Sahara desert can reach above 50°C. The average annual rainfall is only 3-4 inches. Despite the harsh climate, human habitation in Sahara desert dates back to thousands of years.

Namib desert

A Gemsbok in Namib desert of Southern Africa
A Gemsbok in Namib desert

The Namib desert is an old coastal dry desert along the Atlantic coast of Namibia, southwestern Angola, and northwestern South Africa. It has a length of over 2,100 km (1,300 miles). The Namib desert is very diverse geographically with sand dunes, gravel plains, and rocky mountains.

The Namib desert also gets fog, which brings moisture and supports life in this dry region. The temperature in the Namib desert varies greatly. It can drop to below freezing at night in the winter season. In the summer, the day temperature can cross 40°C mark and sometimes can even touch 50°C.

Kalahari desert

Wildebeest in Kalahari desert of Southern Africa
Wildebeest in Kalahari desert

The Kalahari Desert is a vast region in Southern Africa spread across 900,000 square kilometres of land. It is not a true desert, but rather a semi-arid savanna with variable rainfall and vegetation. The Kalahari desert stretches across three countries – Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The climate here is hot and dry, with temperatures reaching over 40°C in summer and dropping below freezing in winter.

The main geographical features of the Kalahari are its red sand dunes, its salt flats, and its dry riverbeds that fill with water during the rainy season. The Kalahari is also famous for its animal species namely lion, cheetah, antelope, meerkat, springbok, giraffe, Wildebeest, etc.

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