May 8, 200608:11 AMThe Life
Deserts of the world: Sahara
May 8, 2006 - 08:11 AMThe world's largest nonpolar desert (3.5 million square miles, almost as large as the U.S.) gets its name from the Arabic word meaning, oddly enough, "desert." It extends through Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. The Sahara divides the continent of Africa into North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The southern boundary of this desert is marked by a band of semiarid savanna called the Sahel; south of the Sahel lies the Congo River Basin.
Contrary to popular belief, the Sahara is only 30% sand. [Click thumbnail photo to enlarge.]
2.5 million people live here. The largest city is Cairo, in the Nile Valley of Egypt. Timbuktu, a World Heritage site, also lies in the Sahara.