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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LANDSCAPES IN THE SAHARA DESERT?

Sahara desert in Morocco erg reg

Are you afraid of the monotony of the landscapes in the Sahara and hesitate to go on a trek in the desert?
While the Sahara is often associated with a desert of sand that stretches as far as the eye can see, it would be a shame to reduce it to just that.
Forclaz presents the different landscapes to expect in the Sahara...

Where is the Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world?

This region, that occupies nearly 30% of the surface of the African continent (nearly 9 million square kilometres), is actually made up of a plethora of different landscapes. It stretches from east to west, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the largest hot deserts in the world.

What are the countries of the Sahara?

The Sahara extends over 10 different countries:

- Mali;
- Mauritania;
- Niger;
- Chad;
- Sudan;
- Algeria;
- Tunisia;
- Morocco;
- Libya;
- Egypt.

We will show you a sample of the diverse landscapes of this region of the world.

trekking in the Sahara desert in Morocco with the Bedouins

1/ THE ERG: THE POSTCARD IMAGE OF THE SAHARA

This is what the large sand dunes, which are so specific to the Sahara desert, are called. Despite the extreme temperature fluctuations, these sandy expanses, which seem so hostile, are home to a rich biodiversity: hares, dromedaries, adax antelopes, lizards, scimitar-horned oryx, etc.

2/ The Reg: NORTH AFRICAN STONE DESERTS

Unlike the Erg, the Regs are deserts of stones and pebbles. They form large plains with a very lunar appearance. In this hostile natural environment, you get to see mushroom-like stones, particularly in the Hoggar Reg.

trekking in the rocky reg desert in Morocco
trekking in the Sahara desert in Morocco with the Bedouins

3/ HAMADA: THE PLATEAUS OF THE SAHARAN DESERT

These are elevated plateaus, which look a lot like the Reg. Indeed, they are often confused because they are also formed by pebbles and stones. Peaking at around 550 metres above sea level, the rocky plateau of Tinrhert is one of the best-known examples of a hamada in the Algerian desert. Despite the altitude, temperatures can still climb to 50°C in this region, especially during the Saharan summer.

4/ WADI: LAST REMNANT OF THE GREEN SAHARA

These are the beds of rivers or streams. almost always dry, they form plains dotted with a few trees.  They are the last witnesses of the green Sahara, which disappeared 5000 years ago.

Trekking in the desert Wadi in the Sahara Morocco
trekking in the desert in Morocco with the Bedouins in an oasis

5/ OASIS: A WATER RESERVE IN THE AFRICAN DESERT

As magical as they may are, oases do not occur naturally. They are linked to human activities. Indeed, people use the watering holes (groundwater or river bed) to plant a few trees, often date-palms, in order to grow some crops. The temperatures here are refreshing and help endure the harsh climate of the Sahara Desert.

6/ THE MOUNTAINS FOR SEEING THE SAHARA IN 3D

And yes, you will also find mountains in the Sahara Desert, where the temperatures are cooler. The Atlas is the most famous mountain range. It crosses the desert from east to west and has the highest peaks in North Africa.

Trekking in the desert mountains in the Sahara Morocco
trekking in the desert in Libya Tassili Maghidet

7/ TASSILI

These sandstone plateaux are eroded and form spectacular canyons. They can be found in Libya, in Tassili Maghidet.

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