The Sahara Desert in North Africa is big – very big! It covers a third of the whole continent, measuring 8.6 million square kilometres. It is almost the same size as the USA. It is the largest hot desert in the world. The highest temperature ever recorded there was 58 °C. In a single day, the temperature can range from below freezing to 50 °C. These extremes of hot and cold combined with the dry, dusty winds make the Sahara a place where few plants and animals can survive.
The Sahara is very hot, but it isn’t the heat that makes it qualify as a desert. It is the lack of rain. The average rainfall in the Sahara is less than 8 centimetres a year (London’s average rainfall is about 60 centimetres).
The desert stretches from the shores of Morocco to those of Djibouti and it’s not a place you like to go without a gallon of water!