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The most beautiful deserts in Africa: from the Sahara to the Ténéré

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travel to the most beautiful deserts in africa This will mean a good dose of adventure, but also finding impressive landscapes. Unsurprisingly, some of these places are, despite their simplicity, among the most beautiful on the planet.

As if all that weren’t enough, deserts have a kind of magic for the mind. Its simplicity and vastness help you realize how useless material possessions are, they help you let go of worldly concerns and connect with nature. But, without further ado, we are going to show you some of the most beautiful deserts in Africa.

The most beautiful deserts in Africa: what can you see there?

In all the continents of the world there are spectacular deserts. It suffices to mention, by way of example, the Atacama in South America (we leave you here an article on this desert), that of Gobi in Asia or taverns (Spain) in Europe. Even, strictly speaking, places like Greenland these are deserts where there is no sand, but snow and ice.

But of all the places in the world, perhaps the greatest number of deserts are found in Africa. Moreover, their respective extensions are so large that they occupy a good part of the surface of this continent. Anyway, to show it to you, it would be best if we told you about the most beautiful deserts in Africa.

Sahara desert

the desert of Sahara

Sahara desert

With nearly nine and a half million square kilometres, this desert which is so close to us is the largest in the world among the hottest (the third after the Arctic and the Antarctic). In fact, it extends from Red Sea until Atlantic Ocean, occupying most of North Africa. Precisely to the south, it reaches the region of the sahelwhich serves as a transition to the Sudanese savannah.

As you can imagine, in such a stretch of land, there is a lot to see. For this reason, we will only tell you about a few truly spectacular places that are among the best in the Sahara. Likewise, we will only do this for those who are in the Moroccan zone. Those in southern Algeria or Libya could be dangerous due to political instability in the region.

We will start with Merzouga, a small town located in the southeast of Morocco where you can see unforgettable sunsets. But we are talking about him above all, because nearby you will find Erg Chebi, one of the most spectacular sets of dunes in the entire Sahara. Some of them reach 200 meters in height and, with their orange tones, offer you an extraordinary view.

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You shouldn’t miss the draa valley, where you will find the desert as you have always imagined it. That is to say large stretches of sand and, from time to time, oases with palm groves.

However, if you prefer the more inhabited side of the African colossus, you have an essential visit to Ouarzazate, nicknamed “the door to the desert” and also “the Hollywood of the Sahara”. This last name is due to the fact that many films have been shot in this place.

In Ouarzazate you have to see the impressive Taourirt Kasbah, an adobe fortress built in the 18th century to protect the old gold route. But you must also visit its central market, full of character; Almouahidine square and the artisanal souk.

Finally, about twenty-five kilometers from the previous town, you have another kasbah which holds the title of World Heritage Site. It’s the Ait Ben Haddoua large fortified Berber fortress which is in a magnificent state of preservation.

kalahari desert

Kgalagadi Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Namibia It is one of the African countries with the most deserts. Concretely, the Kalahari occupies part of its surface, but also large swathes of Botswana Yes South Africa (here we leave you an article on the latter country), since it has an extension of almost a million square kilometers.

The first time a stranger passed through it was in 1849. His name will sound familiar to you, as it was David Livingston, the discoverer of Victoria Falls. And, out of curiosity, we will tell you that “kgalagadi” means “great thirst”.

In this imposing desert, you can see the Chobe National Park, characterized by its abundance of elephants, although it also has many buffaloes, hippos, giraffes and impalas. However, to spot the lions, you need to go to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Also remarkable in this desert is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parkbut especially the Makgadikgadi salt pans, which are among the largest in the world. They were formed during the drying up of the huge lake of the same name, which thousands of years ago occupied an area larger than Switzerland. They are so inhospitable that this has contributed to their preservation. Human beings barely intervened.

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The ancient Namib desert

namib desert

Dunes in the Namib Desert

Among the most beautiful deserts in Africa, the Namib is also distinguished by its age, since it is considered oldest in the world. In fact, it is believed to have already existed 65 million years ago. And that’s one of the reasons it was declared a World Heritage Site.

As you might have guessed from its name, it is also found in Namibia and has an area of ​​about eighty thousand square kilometers. If you visit it, its reddish sands will attract your attention, but also some of its most interesting points.

For starters, at one end is the Corporal Croosthe first place Europeans arrived in 1486. ​​Currently, it is home to the largest reserve of fur seals in all of Africa.

Close to the previous one, you also have the famous Skeleton Coast, which is one of the most inaccessible areas by land in the country. It owes its name to the number of beached boats and whale skeletons in the area.

But perhaps the most appealing is the Namib Naukluft Park, where you can see dunes up to three hundred meters high. Finally, out of curiosity, at one end of the Namib Desert is the ghost town of Kolmanskopa mining town built in the early 20th century by the Germans to house diamond diggers.

Danakil, another of the most beautiful deserts in Africa

Erta Ale Volcano

Erta Ale Volcano, Danakil Desert

Located in the southern part of Eritrea and northwest of Ethiopiain full horn of africathis desert is considered one of the lowest and hottest places on earth, with temperatures exceeding fifty degrees Celsius.

It has an area of ​​almost two hundred and twenty thousand square kilometers and is distinguished by its volcanoes, large salt pans and lakes formed by lava. Among the first, the dabbahwith its 1442 meters high, and the Erta Alesmaller, but still active.

However, the most curious thing about this inhospitable desert is that it is the homeland of people from afar, an ethnic group of nomadic shepherds who are characterized by their large curved knives and their curly hair. They build their temporary homes or Aris with branches and tissues forming towns called donkeys.

Ténéré desert, extension of the Sahara

The Ténéré desert

Ténéré Desert

We have left for the end another of the most beautiful deserts in Africa which, in reality, is an extension of the Sahara in its southern part. But we treat it separately because of its many peculiarities. In fact, “teneré” means “desert” in the Tuareg language.

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With approximately four hundred thousand square kilometres, it stretches from the west of the Chad northeast of Niger. And, before continuing to tell you about him, we can’t resist telling you about another of his curiosities. held the call Ténéré tree, who had the singular recognition of being the loneliest in the world, since she was the only one for several kilometers around. In 1973 he was run over by a truck and today a metal sculpture commemorating him stands in its place.

But the Ténéré is one of the most beautiful deserts in Africa for other reasons. First because of the huge and desolate landscape of sand it forms. But also for the many archaeological remains it houses. About ten thousand years ago, its climate may have been different because it was inhabited.

In fact, in Tassili n’Ajjer, a plain in the region, is one of the most important groups of rock art in the world. No less than fifteen thousand samples of paintings and engravings from the Neolithic period have been found which represent the life and customs of the natives of this region. They most often correspond to kiffian culture.

On the other hand, in the area corresponding to Niger are the spectacular aerial mountainsa massif with a Sahelian climate with peaks that reach 1,800 meters in altitude and which present striking geological formations.


the city of agadez

And, between these mountains and the desert itself, the city of agadez, capital of one of the strongholds of Tuareg culture. You might be tempted to think that this small town has nothing to offer you. Nothing could be further from reality. Its historic center has been declared Patrimonium of mankinda reward that it shares with the entire Ténéré desert.

In fact, historically it was a transit town for many trade routes. Even today it is the exit of the one that leads to Sabhaone of the most inhospitable routes in the world whose transit is not within everyone’s reach.

In conclusion, we have shown you some of the most beautiful deserts in Africa. But we could cite others such as Lompoul, in Senegal, with its orange sand dunes; of the Tarouin Kenya, near Kilimanjaro, or that of Ogaden, Ethiopia. However, not all of them are affordable for us.

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