The Sahara desert covers several African nations including Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia. It divides the continent of Africa into north and Sub-Saharan desert. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna that composes the northern region of central and western Sub-Saharan Africa.
Physical Land Features
The Sahara Desert is part of the desert biome. It is hot and extremely dry and in the past it is believed to have gone through various climatic changes. It is the world’s largest hot desert and covers over 3,500,000 square miles of the northern portion of Africa. find out more at http://www.desertusa.com/du_sahara.html
Animal Species That Inhabit The Region
There are a few animals that can survive in this environment with the lack of natural resources. A few of these animals are the: Addax Antelope, Dromedary Camels, Dung Beetle, Horned Vipers and the Monitor Lizard.
Addax Antelope is one of the most beautiful animals in the world. They are flat-footed antelopes that can easily traverse the sandy landscape of the Sahara.
The Dromedary camel, which is said to be of Arabian Origin, is the main Saharan camel. The interesting thing about dromedary camels is that they store fat in their humps and not water. It can drink up to 100 liters of water in 10 minutes! But it is the favorite domesticated animal among the Saharan people as it has great strength, endurance and can go without water and food for a very long time.
It can be quite fascinating what one bug can do with a pile of crap, literally. A species of beetles that feeds entirely off animal waste, the dung beetle is an integral part of the Sahara.
Plant species that inhabit the region
Sahara desert plants are among the species known as xerophytes. Other species of plants fall into halophytes, grasses, shrubs and trees. Xerophytes are plants that are adapted to a limited supply of water. Halophytes are plants that can survive in salt-rich habitats like semi-deserts, salt marshes and sea coasts. The Sahara desert still house some areas that are lush and green. The Nile Valley is a famous example. You can still find plants, trees and other living creatures there. To the North of the Sahara desert, along the Mediterranean, abundant growth of olive trees are visible. Find out more at http://library.thinkquest.org/16645/the_land/saha_pl.shtml.
The African welwitchsia manages to survive the harsh conditions of the Sahara desert due to its extremely deep roots. These roots go deep into the earth and absorb as much water as possible. This helps the plant to cope with the hot and dry desert conditions. The African welwitchsia has been known to survive for over hundreds or even thousands of years.
These shrubs and trees go up to 18m while thriving in saline soil. Often used for firewood as well as carpentry, they serve an addition purpose as windbreakers and they also are used simply for shade providing.
Originally from the western parts of Asian, the Fig Tree is utilized all around the Mediterranean mainly for the well loved fig fruit. Since they grow best in a dry, warm climate, introducing them in and around the Sahara has worked out very well.
The Sahara has one of the harshest climates in the world. Border zones on the north and south, where the desert merges with the steppe, receive about 10 in. (25 cm) of rain a year with some seasonal regularity. Daytime temperatures are high; Azizia, Libya, recorded the world's highest official temperature in the shade (136°F/58°C) in Sept., 1922. Heat loss is rapid at night and a diurnal range of 86°F (30°C) is common. Freezing temperatures are not uncommon at night from December to February. Find out more at http://geography.about.com/od/locateplacesworldwide/a/saharadesert.htm.