Where Is the Biggest Desert in the World?

The Sahara Desert, whose name comes from the Arab word sahra, meaning “wilderness,” is by far the biggest desert on earth.

Though the exact boundaries of the Sahara are hard to define, this African desert stretches more than 3,000 miles at its longest point, and in most places is over 1,000 miles wide.

The Sahara takes up almost one-third of Africa, covers parts of ten countries (Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Mali, and Mauritania), and is just about as big as the entire United States!

The average daytime temperature in this sandy inferno is from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit in most places, but it often gets much hotter in the summer, 110 degrees.

But the Sahara is not completely flat and sandy. There are mountains more than 10,000 feet high, and desert plants in most places. The only completely barren parts of the desert are the ergs, which are vast areas of shifting sand dunes. Even the tribesmen who live in the Sahara avoid the ergs!

The temperature once hit 136 degrees Fahrenheit in part of the Sahara!