October 25, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Why the Sahara Desert? You ask.
The Sahara Desert is like no other place in the entire world! It is the largest desert in the world and compares in size to the whole United States. The sea of sand is intriguing and beckons you to explore. The orange colored sand dunes are sculpted by the wind yet appear as perfect works of art. Not to mention the fact that it is a place you can see while visiting any of its encompassing countries — Morocco, Libya, Niger, Mauritania, Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara (a disputed territory).
4 Things You Need to Know about the Sahara Desert
As a child you probably saw pictures of the Sahara Desert in books, but did you ever say to yourself “that’s a place I want to go”? If the answer was yes, what was it about the pictures that created that desire? Was it the magnificent dunes? Or maybe it was the idea of getting to ride camels? Whatever it was it had to be exciting.
Now on the other hand, if your answer was no, it is most likely because you didn’t know enough about the Sahara Desert — it just looked like a desert full of sand and not much more.
Personally, I think that the Sahara Desert is one of those places everyone should see — it is after all the “Greatest Desert!”
The Sahara Desert is 3,600,000 square miles of mountainous sand dunes known as ergs. Many travelers believe the sand’s appearance compares to that of an ocean full of waves — it goes on and on with no end in sight. Just like the sea, the wind makes the waves or in this case the ergs, change in direction and size. As the wind blows, it shifts and shapes the mounds and creates areas without roads that can only be seen by camel or on foot. Some areas such as the Grand Erg Occidental is not accessible at all and has no nearby settlements.
Must-dos while here: Go stargazing as you will see more stars than you have ever seen. Watch the sunrise from the top of a dune; the quiet and the colors provide an amazing experience. Try the sand boards!!! This experience is similar to snowboarding; you can slide down the dunes standing on a board — just ask your hotel if they have any you can use.
There are several major cities throughout the Sahara Desert. Although some of these cities are thriving metropolises, several of them remain encapsulated in a time long ago. During your visit, you will see bustling marketplaces, medieval homes, massive mosques, and more. Plus if you plan correctly, you can visit during the annual International Festival of the Sahara; this is when you get to see camel marathons or attend poetry contests and calligraphy workshops.
Major cities located in the Sahara include Cairo, Tripoli, Nouakchott, Tamanrasset, Ouargla, Bechar, Hassi Messaoud, Ghardaia, El Oued, Timbuktu, Agadez, and Faya-Largeau.
When you think of deserts, especially the world’s largest desert, you don’t typically think of water — unless of course, you are imagining a mirage. However, the Sahara Desert has several bodies of water. The most famous body of water is the Nile River, in Egypt. On the western border you find the Atlantic Ocean. To the North, the Mediterranean Sea. To the East, the Red Sea. Plus there are several large lakes such as Lake Chad.
Water must-have experiences include: Cruising down the Nile River and disembarking at the ancient Luxor and Karnak Egyptian temples. Diving or snorkeling in the Red Sea and witnessing the beautiful fish and colorful coral reefs.
An oasis by definition means “a fertile spot in the desert where water is found.” But, that is not how it is often translated. When most people think of an oasis, they confuse it with a mirage which is an optical illusion of water in the desert. However, oases are real and usually include towns.
The Sahara Desert has a few oasis towns. Although these towns are often hidden because of their earth-colored buildings that reflect the sandy landscape. However, they are worth a visit, especially if you plan on touring the dunes.
Favorite Oasis Towns to visit include: Erfoud in Morocco and Siwa in Egypt are both visitor-friendly and offer outstanding restaurants and marketplaces. Ghadames in Libya is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you can see the pictures you saw in books as a child of the Sahara Desert were just a glimpse. Don’t let those images dissuade you from seeing it with your own eyes — the Sahara Desert is a gem worth seeing!
Don’t wait, connect with me and let me make all the arrangements for you to see the greatest desert in the world!